—> 2012 —> The old Islay School in Manitoba

Diciadain, 11/Jan/2012

The old Islay School in Manitoba

Islay Links in stencil

Currently the Isle of Islay has five schools if I counted correctly. While I'm not sure I think there used to be quite a few more, judging from various buildings having some variation of ‘old’ and ‘school’ in their name. It seems the schools in Islay, Manitoba, Canada, suffered a similar fate judging from an article I came across today:

Screenshot of two pictures of the old Islay school in Manitoba, Canada

Earlier today I came across a page Historic Sites of Manitoba: Islay School No. 733 (1893-1968), which as usual raised my curiosity about possible links to the Isle of Islay, the topic of this blog. I had a vague memory of quite a few people from Islay emigrating to Canada, among others from reading about the Mackays of Islay in The Celtic Monthly.

Searching the site for other mentions of Islay I came across various mentions of the Islay in Scotland: George Henry Stewart's mother came from Bowmore, James Livingston and possibly his wife Sally/Sarah came from Islay and/or Jura, the Smith family used to farm on Islay, Archibald Macdonald was born on Islay, as was Donald Livingstone. Those are only the ones I could find on the page, I suspected there were many more people, unsong heroes if you like, from Islay in the area. Surely there was a link somewhere?

After some further searching on the internet I finally found the answer I was looking for. On a page with pictures of Manitoba Cairns I came across this close up of a cairn on which it reads:

[..] The first elected board of trustees was: [..] Alexander McDonald [..] Islay was named after the Scottish home school on the Isle of Islay from which Alexander McDonald immigrated. [..]

Armed with that information I even managed to find a Google Streetview impression of the cairn where the school used to be. It was closed as part of school consolidations into larger schools, probably similar to some of the former schools on Islay.

I hope you found this interesting, I certainly enjoyed researching and discovering the story behind this school named after Islay.

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