Ontario's Historical Plaques 

Discover Ontario's history as told through its plaques

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Glengarry Emigration of 1786

The Glengarry Emigration of 1786

Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted June, 2005

The Glengarry Emigration of 1786

Photo by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted December, 2009

Plaque Location

The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
The Township of South Glengarry
In St. Raphaels, in a cemetery
adjacent to St. Raphael's Church Ruins

Coordinates: N 45 12.728 W 74 35.812


Click here for a larger map

Plaque Text

Early in September, 1786, a group of some 500 Scottish Highlanders, the majority of whom were Macdonells, arrived at Quebec. They were led by their parish priest from Knoydart, Glengarry, the Reverend Alexander MacDonell (Scotus). Forced to emigrate because of the depressed economic conditions of the Highlands, they had been encouraged to come to Canada and settle among their fellow countrymen in what is now Glengarry County. Despite initial hardships most of these Scottish pioneers settled successfully in this region, where their loyalty and military prowess were frequently demonstrated. Father MacDonell founded the parish of St. Raphael, one of the province's earliest Roman Catholic congregations.

Another plaque at this location
Parish of St. Raphael

Other plaques in St. Raphaels
Bishop Alexander Macdonell 1762-1840
The College of Iona
John Sandfield Macdonald 1812-1872
St. Raphael's Ruins

Related Ontario plaques
Bishop Alexander Macdonell 1762-1840
The Glengarry Fencibles


Assorted Events

South Glengarry Plaques

Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

> Posted March 23, 2013
Very interesting site. May I make one point - the plaque which says that the 1786 Glengarry emigrants from the Highlands were "forced to emigrate because of the depressed economic conditions of the Highlands" is not accurate. These Highlanders had to leave their own land because of the clearances (when they were evicted to make their farms into sheep ranches), accompanied by extreme increases of rent (some rents demanded were now ten times as much in a year or two). So far as the chiefs-turned-landlords of the Highlands were concerned, this was an enormous bonanza - very far from being a "depression".
I was actually born in Canada (Saskatchewan) but brought up in England; and I have written "The Scottish Highland Clearances", which will be published this year.
Alwyn Edgar

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