Recently, during a three-week tour of the UK, Bruce Kingsley and Noreen Young found themselves in the beautiful Princes Street Gardens in central Edinburgh. As they strolled along within sight of the mighty Edinburgh Castle, which sits prominently atop a hill overlooking the Gardens, they came to a statue which caught their eye. It’s certainly not unusual to see statues in the UK – they are everywhere – but this one reminded them very much of the war memorial in Almonte by sculptor R. Tait McKenzie. Sure enough, upon looking at the plaque, they discovered that this statue, unveiled in 1927, was indeed sculpted by well-known artist and boyhood friend of James Naismith, both of whom grew up in Mississippi Mills.
As a further connection between Mississippi Mills and Scotland , Noreen and Bruce also discovered a wooden bench very close to the statue which bears another plaque that reads:
“Presented by The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority , Ontario, Canada, in memory of Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, surgeon, physical educator and sculptor, born in Canada of Scottish parents (1867 – 1938). Commissioned to sculpt the Scottish American War Memorial in Princes Street Gardens.”
One can never tell where the influences of Almonte will be found. Have a look and see what you can discover.