It was back in 1993 that we initiated our Annual Scot of the Year Award to honour individuals with a Scottish connection who have achieved distinction through their contribution to Canadian society or the international community at large. The 2023 recipient of the award was the internationally acclaimed Canadian actor R. H. Thomson (Robert Holmes Thomson CM). Here are a few photos from the award ceremony which took place at the Arts & Letters Club in Toronto. The event was organized by Scottish Studies Society President Maggie McEwan.

Master of ceremonies Doug Gibson welcomes guests to the event

Highland Dancers from the Highlandin6 Dance Studio in Toronto

Sword Dance

Dancers perform a traditional Highland dance

Piper Rory Sinclair

Scottish Studies Society President Maggie McEwan
with Master of Ceremonies Doug Gibson

Prior to receiving the award, R.H. Thomson was persuaded to give "The Address to the Haggis." Douglas Gibson gave a verse-by-verse "translation." View a recording here.

Highland Dancers

Sean McCuin, Seanachie to Sir John McEwen, Commander to Clan MacEwen

(L) Gavin Hughes, MA History student and (R) Andrew Northey, MA History alum,
University of Guelph

Scottish Studies Foundation Director John B. McMillan with his wife Blanche
John gave "The Selkirk Grace" prior to the meal

Scottish Studies Foundation directors Roddy Allan, Jonathon Baker and Maggie McEwan

Scottish Studies Foundation Treasurer David Thompson

Maggie McEwan and Doug Gibson at the podium

Professor Kevin James on his way to the stage. Kevin is Scottish Studies Foundation Chair & Professor of History at the University of Guelph.

Treasurer David Thompson on stage with to speak about the Foundation's recent work which included a $50,000 donation to support an undergraduate History Co-op Position in Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph.

David Thompson presents a $100,000 cheque to the University of Guelph to Prof. Andrew Bailey, Associate Dean (Research & Graduate Studies), University of Guelph

Professor Kevin James thanks the Scottish Studies Foundation for the $100,000 donation which will be added to its existing large and growing endowment fund to provide critical assistance to students and encourage scholarship for generations to come.

Guests at the University of Guelph table

Kevin's wife Monica

Applause from attendees

Master of Ceremonies Doug Gibson introduces R.H. Thomson, Scot of the Year 2023

R.H. Thomson on his way to receive the award

Maggie McEwan presents R. H. Thomson with the award — a specially engraved quaich.

R.H. Thomson commences his speech

R. H. Thomson passionately describes his new book By the Ghost Light — a personal look at the wonder of youth, the power of art, and how the First and Second World Wars forever changed his family. It is a call-to-action in challenging the way we approach our history.

Attendees listen intently as Thomson recounts the efforts he went to in his bid to find and display the names of the soldiers who died in the First World War...

More than 650,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in the First World War and 66,000 of them died, while upwards of 170,000 were wounded in the fighting — a sobering thought for the youth of today...

R.H.Thomson ends his speech. Quaich by his side.

Celtic band Mystic Fyre and piper Rory Sinclair

Mystic Fyre fiddler Ross Daly

R.H. Thomson with University of Guelph MA History alum Dylan Parry-Lai

Former SSF Director, Robert Smart, David Thomson and R.H. Thomson

Maggie McEwan. Laughter and a sigh of relief that all went well!