There is a substantial Scottish influence in Canada. The Maritime Provinces, especially Nov Scotia have the most obvious Scottish influence, but even French Montreal has significnt Scottish influence. One report indivates that at least some boys in Nova Scotia wore kilts during the 19th century. This appears to have been the case for sone boys whose fathers were soldiers in St. Johns. HBC does not know, however, how common this was, either for soldiers' families or for the population in general. We note stores at the turn of the 20th century were offering essentially the same styles as Ametican stores, including kilt suits, fancy blouses, and Fauntleroy suits.
There is a substantial Scottish influence in Canada. The Maritime Provinces, especially Nov Scotia have the most obvious Scottish influence, but even French Montreal has significnt Scottish influence. The three great European maritime powers (England, France, and Spain) competed for North America. By the end of the century, Spain had Florida, Mexico, and Califrnia. France had Canada and the Mississippi, and the English a narrow strip along the Atalantic coast. The future of North America as an English speaking area was in part resolved by the War of the Spanish Sussession (1701-14) when the French ceded the Canadian Maritimes and Hudson Bay to England. France retained Quebec and Montreal. During the "Régime Français", Montréal (or Mount Royal as named by Cartier in 1535) was the terminus of the valuable fur trade in North
America. France's remaining Canadian province was attacked by the British during the Seven Years War. British General Wolfe defeated French General Moncalm on the 'Plains of Abraham' outside Québec during September 1759. Both generals were killed and General Murray, a Scottsman, succeeded General Wolfe. Not long after, Murray and Amherst conquered Montreal with assistance from American militias which had moved north from New York via the Hudson and Richelieu Rivers. Scottish general Murray was permitted to organize the fur trade with financial help from New York. The French company became a Scottish one. Beaver pelts were in great demand in England, as they were in France, for hats and coats. To get those furs, traders had to go in the unchartered Northweast Territories in canoes. French Canadians and poor Scottish or Irish immigrants did this dangerous work for Scottish traders who took up residence in Montrèal and made fortunes. Even now, you can see in on the slopes of the Mount Royal Mountain the castles those people built. The place was called the "Golden Square miles" Those people lived in a kind of ghetto forrich Scotts. Th only presence of French people were nurses, servants or gardeners. Those rich families led a charmed life and were well educated. A Scottsman born at this time named McGill founded the McGill University--Canada's most prestigious university. At the time it was only for English-speaking students. Thus Montrèal was essentially ruled by the Scottish for much of the 19th century. Eventually in the early 20th century, the Scottish influenced declined. Many moved to Ontario where there was a tringer British inflence. Many men were killed in France during World War I. [Unknown author]
Interestingly of all the countries where the Scotts migranted, Canada seems to be the country with a climate most similar to Canda, especially in the Maritimes where many Scotts settled. Thus you do not hve a situation like at Highland Gatherings in America where boys wer heavy wool kilts on sweltering hot days.
We have begun to collect information on boys in different regions of Canada wearing kilts. We believe that there were substantial regional variations, but we do not yet have a lot of information as our acrchive of Canadian images is still limited. They were not just worn by boys in Nova Scotia. The Scottish inflience was also very strong in Ontario. As Ontario was a larger provinces, we have more portraits of boys wearing kilts there. One might think that boys in Quenec, with the Province's large French population, might be the least likely to wear kilts. Because wealthy Scottish mrchants (Allan, Fraser, McGill, McTavish, etc) played a prominent role in Montrel, nurmerous boys there wore kilts. We are less sure about the western Prarie provinces.
HBC does not know, however, how common this was, either for soldiers' families or for the population in general.
We do not yet have detailed chromolgical information on the kilt outfits worn by Canadian boys. The portraits shown here are from the 1860s. They show boys wearing both plaid dresses and Highland kilts. A Eton's newspaper adverisement from the 1900s show that Highland kilt outfits were still available along with outfits called kilt suits which were actually varous middly blouses worn with a skirted garment. There were several diferent styles of middy blouses worn with these kilt suits. The skirt garments to be rather much the same on each of thee suits. We suspect that boys with Scottish ancestry would be the most likely to wear the Highland kilt outfits and that the kilt suit outfits were likely worn by a wide range of boys including boys of English and French ancestry.
We note stores at the turn of the 20th century were offering essentially the same styles as Ametican stores, including kilt suits, fancy blouses, and Fauntleroy suits.
As with boys in America, England, and Scotland, Canaadian boys also wore kilt suits. We know less about Canadian kilt suits than these other countries because our Canadian archive, especually for the 19th cedntury is limited. We do note some well-to-do Canadian boys wearing kilt suits. We do not know how common it was. We do not think it was quite as common as in the United States. We can not, however, confirm this until we have expanded our Cananadian archive. As far as we can tell, the conventions for kilt suits were fairly similar in all the different English speaking countries where thry were worn. Most of the images we have found were pre-school boys, but we believe some boys wore them to even 7-8 years. In Canada we are not sure if French Canadian boys also wore them. We note a varity of styles. We begin to see kilt suits in Canada in early CDVs (1860s). We are not sure about the 1850s. We see kilts suits in Canada through to the 1890s as well as the early 1900s for pre-school boys.
The kilt was an exclusively male garment in Scotland. And Scottish migrants brought the kilt to Canada . The British acquired Canada shortly after Culloden (1746) and the resulting suppression of the Highland Tribes and Higland Clearances that drove the Scotts to America and Canada. Girls in Scotland wore a variety of dresses as well as blouses and long plaid skirts. Girls did not wear kilts like boys even in fairly modern times. Only in the 20th century did aartan skirt bcome a mainstay for girls wear and popular as school wear. One sources reports, "Traditionally, women and girls do not wear kilts but may wear ankle-length tartan skirts. A tartan sash or shawl may also be worn. Women may also wear dress tartans which are modified versions which include white in place of a more prominent colour." We note that in dancing competitions that boys and girls wore destintly different outfits. As for kilts in Canada, at aitance from Scotland, some parents with Scottish heritage appear to have moved more toward likts or at least plaid skirts than was the case in Scotland. We note a similar trend in England. This may have been most pronounced in fmilies with daughters rather than sons. Even so we notice the tendency to maintain some gender distinctions in Highland outfits. We almost never, for exmple see girls with sporans when wearing Scottish dress.
Unknown author. Rise and Fall of the English Elite of Montreal.
Ewing, Elizabeth. History of Children's Costume (New York: Scribner Sons, 1977).
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