- Vermilion Voice
The Clandonald Colony CR 1926-Piques National And International Interests
The Clandonald Colony brought three distinct cultures together, united primarily in faith, and a shared desire to raise their families in freedom on the land in western Canada. Clandonald’s history has received close academic scrutiny from historians and social scientists alike.
“They’ve come from different parts of Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland and beyond to learn more about us—without most of us even knowing of their visits,” according to Clandonald farmer and history enthusiast, Tim Axe.
An immigrant, Axe wanted to know more of his new homeland. This, combined with a request on the part of their Pastor to update the history of Clandonald, led Axe and his wife to Google a name on the cemetery gate, “The Scottish Immigrant Aid Society.” They found themselves online in the Chung Library within the University of B.C. browsing “an incredible amount of the
Colony’s history, photos of families and farms, correspondence, land agreements, maps, etc.”
Axe noted that he had a similar online experience during a visit to the historical archives of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
When asked why there is an international interest in the Clandonald Colony, Axe responded.
“Their interest in the Colony is principally with the blending of three distinct western cultures (Scotland, Northern Ireland and England). To the delight of researchers, the Colony was created in a methodical, intentional manner and was well documented, including the founder’s critique a quarter of a century later. For most of us, the charm is simply within the story. If this is your preference, you will find yourself drawing from the story an appreciation for the integrity, work ethic and love within the families as keys for true happiness.”
Before moving to Canada, Axe had studied about the Catholic Back to the Land Movement, which was a movement that began in Scotland around 1920.
After learning more about Clandonald’s history, Axe realized he had immigrated to a Back to the Land Settlement. After sharing this with his wife, he was struck by another realization—no one who grew up in the Colony was aware of this part of their story. His desire became to help his fellow community members know just how special this portion of their history is.
Axe and a small contingent began making plans for capturing a historical profile of the Colony for the benefit of the local community, as well as for visitors requesting information. The members plan to restore a pioneer “StaveLock” home and build a replica of the pioneer’s small barn. This is to become the “Clandonald Colony Cultural Centre.” “The goal is for all to see, learn and experience what it was like, both the benefits and challenges, for their family members who left their native lands and immigrated to the rolling hills of Alberta’s Lakeland Region.
The team is also preparing a booklet entitled: The Clandonald Colony & The Faith of Our Fathers, which will be available in the new year. If you would like to know more about or assist with the Clandonald Colony Cultural Centre project you can contact Axe at 780-581-3103. Advance sales of The Clandonald Colony & The Faith of Our Fathers booklet are also available.
StaveLock home occupied by pioneers in 1929.
Proposed restoration of StaveLock home. Photos submitted