Irvines lauded for preser­va­tion, cel­e­bra­tion of past

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

The Glen­garry Pi­o­neer Mu­seum Pi­o­neer Award was pre­sented to Dorothy, Dou­glas and Ste­wart of Dalkeith at the Dun­ve­gan mu­seum’s re­cent an­nual meet­ing. Note that the back­ground of Peggi Calder, who re­ceived the Vol­un­teer Cer­tifi­cate of Ap­pre­ci­a­tion on the same oc­ca­sion, was pub­lished in the April 25 edi­tion of The News, and that in­for­ma­tion on all of the re­cip­i­ents was pub­lished in the April 11 edi­tion of The News.

About 60 peo­ple, in­clud­ing about 20 from Dalkeith, at­tended the an­nual meet­ing, where Maxville Coun­cil­lor Carma Wil­liams gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on the achieve­ments of the North Glen­garry Arts, Cul­ture and Her­itage Com­mit­tee. Fel­low farmer and friend of the Irvines, Robert “Stretch” MacDonald from the Dalkeith area, pre­sented their award and added per­sonal anec­dotes to the in­for­ma­tion that Karen Dav­i­son Wood put to­gether. “He was a great speaker with lots of laughs heard in the hall that night,” re­lates cu­ra­tor Jen­nifer Black.

Below is the ad­dress, that was pre­pared by Karen Dav­i­sonWood.

This year marks a de­par­ture for the Mu­seum in that we have de­cided to con­fer our Pi­o­neer award to three mem­bers of the same fam­ily, one of whom is no longer with us. The late Dorothy Irvine and her brothers Dou­glas and Ste­wart have made an im­mea­sur­able con­tri­bu­tion to Glen­garry and the Mu­seum. They come from a fam­ily with deep roots in this town­ship.

In 1859, four gen­er­a­tions ago, Dun­can Irvine and his new wife El­iz­a­beth made the long jour­ney from Aber­feldy, Scot­land to set­tle north of Dalkeith where they bought a farm. Since then four gen­er­a­tions of the Irvine fam­ily have farmed the prop­erty. The sec­ond gen­er­a­tion be­gan to raise pure­bred cat­tle, and the Irvine's hold a plaque from the Hol­stein as­so­ci­a­tion for over a hun­dred years of con­ti­nu­ity. When Dou­glas and Stu­art's fa­ther Ian in­her­ited the farm in 1932, he con­tin­ued with pure­bred Hol­steins. In 1950 Ian reg­is­tered the farm as Irvine­lea and he in­tro­duced Record Of Per­for­mance Test­ing. Dou­glas, a grad­u­ate of Kemptville Agri­cul­tural Col­lege was only 21 when he in­her­ited the farm, but he be­came known as a breeder who con­cen­trated on im­prov­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity and longevity.

In 1990, Ste­wart, an elec­tronic tech­nol­o­gist with Com­put­ing De­vices of Canada, re­turned to Glen­garry and joined the farm op­er­a­tion which was now a part­ner­ship. That same year, Dorothy also re­turned to Glen­garry and worked for the town­ship of Lochiel as Chief Build­ing and By­law En­force­ment Of­fi­cer un­til amal­ga­ma­tion. Dorothy's pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence as an ar­chi­tec­tural tech­nol­o­gist work­ing for sev­eral engi­neer­ing firms in Ot­tawa was in­valu­able here. In 1998, Dorothy joined her brothers in the farm busi­ness un­til her death in 2009. Fi­nally in 2015, the Irvine­lea herd which had won many prizes over the years was sold al­though the brothers con­tinue to run the farm.

Farm­ing is a full-time oc­cu­pa­tion and run­ning a dairy farm is a par­tic­u­larly de­mand­ing ca­reer, so it would not be sur­pris­ing if farm­ers did lit­tle else. How­ever, as the Irvine fam­ily demon­strates farm­ers do so much more for the com­mu­nity and world at large. Let me just give you a glimpse of some of the many vol­un­teer ac­tiv­i­ties, Dorothy, Ste­wart and Dou­glas have been in­volved in over the years.

Let's be­gin with Dorothy, a world trav­eller, art his­to­rian and teacher be­fore she changed ca­reers to be­come an ar­chi­tec­tural tech­ni­cian, Dorothy brought her in­ter­ests to­gether in her var­i­ous vol­un­teer roles. She was mem­ber­ship Chair­man of the Ma­cLeod So­ci­ety of Glen­garry, Cap­tain of the doorto-door cam­paign for the Heart and Stroke So­ci­ety, Trea­surer of the Breadal­bane Com­mu­nity Ceme­tery, and Chair of the North Glen­garry Her­itage group. Un­der her lead­er­ship, the group pub­lished two books, The Stone Build­ings of North Glen­garry, and The Churches of North Glen­garry,

which have be­come sem­i­nal ref­er­ence tools for the town­ship.

Ste­wart is fas­ci­nated by mil­i­tary his­tory. An avid re-en­ac­tor, he worked with the Greys and Blues of Montreal to bring a lost piece of Canada's his­tory to light. We have all heard of the Amer­i­can Civil War, but few know that 40,000 Cana­di­ans crossed the bor­der to fight on both sides de­pend­ing on their be­liefs. Ste­wart be­lieved that th­ese Cana­di­ans de­served a mon­u­ment rec­og­niz­ing their con­tri­bu­tion to the devel­op­ment of the North Amer­ica we know to­day. Ste­wart helped find a home for the mon­u­ment at the Lost Vil­lages, and thanks to en­er­getic fundrais­ing ef­forts, he and the other mem­bers of the Blues and Greys group were able to see their dream be­come a re­al­ity in 2017.

Dou­glas is also fas­ci­nated by his- tory, but he is more in­ter­ested in ge­neal­ogy and lo­cal his­tory. He has traced his own fam­ily his­tory, and has a wealth of in­for­ma­tion about the eastern sec­tor of our town­ship. Dou­glas is a val­ued mem­ber of the Dalkeith His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and a Board mem­ber of the Dalkeith Recre­ation As­so­ci­a­tion.. Dou­glas has also been a val­ued mem­ber of the Glen­garry branch of the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety. In 2014, he re­ceived the Vol­un­teer Ser­vice Award of On­tario for 50 years ser­vice as a Can­cer So­ci­ety vol­un­teer. He has also served on many other com­mu­nity and farm as­so­ci­a­tions through­out his life.

Dorothy, Ste­wart and Dou­glas have also been val­ued friends of the Glen­garry Pi­o­neer Mu­seum over the years, and we can al­ways ex­pect to see Ste­wart at our 1812 re-en­act­ment, and Dou­glas at the Har­vest Fes­ti­val. Dorothy was re­spon­si­ble for the won­der­ful ex­hi­bi­tion of the Stone Houses of North Glen­garry which was dis­played in the Roxbor­ough Hall a few years ago. With her artist's eye, she spent count­less hours mount­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion to en­sure that ev­ery photo and cap­tion was mounted cor­rectly. Dorothy also looked after the Mu­seum gar­dens for sev­eral years and brought the loy­al­ist rose to the mu­seum. Of course, her brothers had to help dig it in. Dorothy was also in­stru­men­tal in the rais­ing of the Clan McLeod So­ci­ety plaque which is on the north west cor­ner of the mu­seum. Brother Ste­wart pro­vided the mus­cle power for that project. Dorothy was also a great re­search source for our cu­ra­tor Jen­nifer. Be­hind the scenes the Irv­ing sib­lings also helped to bring the mu­seum up to pro­fes­sional stan­dards by pro­vid­ing for ba­sic es­sen­tials like our well.

Dou­glas, Dorothy and Ste­wart Irvine are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the pi­o­neer­ing spirit which Glen­garry is founded upon, and we are proud to be able to present them our Pi­o­neer Award for 2018.

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