International Gathering of the Clans, Nova Scotia, 1979

The Clan Donald Association of Nova Scotia invited Norman H. MacDonald, Hon. Secretary of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh to represent the Chiefs in their absence, by being the Guest of Honour at their dinner held on the evening of Saturday, 7th July, in Antigonish, during the Highland Games Week. There was a capacity attendance drawn from all over North America and beyond. From Ontario came Robed Macdonald, 1st Vice-President of the Toronto Branch and. Treasurer of the Clan Donald Council of Canada and his wife May; Charles and Margaret MacDonald of Cambridge, Immediate Past President and Treasurer respectively, and Bill and Olive Fraser (Secretary) of the Grand River Valley Branch; from the U.S.A. came Forrest MacDonald; California Commissioner and his wife, and Archie Mills, New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner of Clan Donald U.S.A.; and, from Scotland, Tom and Isa Selvester, Vice-Presidents of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh. 

The highlight of the evening was the presentation by Isa Selvester, on behalf of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh, of a copy of The Clan Donald Roll of Honour, 1914-18 to the Clan Donald Association of Nova Scotia to mark the occasion of the I.G.C. Nova Scotia. The volume was received on behalf of the Clan Donald Society of Nova Scotia by its Commissioner, “Duff” MacDonald by whom it was passed for safe-keeping to the Angus L. Mac Donald Library of the St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish. 

The following afternoon a highly successful picnic was held at nearby Crystal Cliffs when between 450 and 500 clansfolk turned out to enjoy each other’s company and the voluntary entertainment provided. The youthful Antigonish Clanranald Pipe Band, attired in appropriate tartan, was one of the main attractions and no less than 150 souls were held spellbound for an hour or more when Ronald Angus MacDonald, Secretary of the Nova Scotia Association, showed the film Glencoe in a barn. Tom Selvester provided the fiddle music and several local girls the Highland dancing.

A large contingent of MacDonalds came over from Prince Edward Island, among whom were Elton MacDonald of the Edinburgh Society and his wife, and from St John, New Brunswick, came John Macdonald, a son of a former President of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh, Norman Macdonald (Big Norman), whom Norman H. MacDonald had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. The Commissioner, “Duff” MacDonald and his wife Jeannie saw to it that everyone present signed the Visitors Book-the same book that had been used during the I.G.C. in Edinburgh in 1977, sent over specially for the occasion.

Clanranald did in the fact manage to arrive in Nova Scotia in time to attend the Inverness County Highland Games when he was hospitably received by the Clan Donald Association.


1.    Clan Donald Picnic, Crystal Cliffs, 8th June. L to R: Forrest MacDonald (California Commissioner), Ronald Angus MacDonald (Nova Scotia Secretary), Brigadier General John K. Macdonald (Antigonish Commissioner), Archie Mills (New Hampshire Commissioner), H.E. “Duff” MacDonald (Nova Scotia Commissioner), and Norman H. MacDonald, (Edinburgh Society Secretary). Photo by Mrs Forrest MacDonald.

2.    Captain Tom Selvester (Edinburgh Society Vice-President) entertaining with his fiddle at the Clan Donald Picnic at Crystal Cliffs. Photo by Duff MacDonald.

3.      The Captain of Clanranald (left) with “Duff” MacDonald, Nova Scotia Commissioner, at Inverness Highland Games.