Irvines lauded for preservation, celebration of past
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.