Scottish Club of Windsor:
Renfrewshire native Bob Murray was disappointed in the lack of Scottish organizations he found in Windsor when he came here in 1955. All the city had to showcase its Scottish heritage was the stagnant Border City Burns Club and its ladies' auxiliary group, the Jean Amour Club, and the only organization with a piper was the Essex-Scottish Regiment.
Joe Muir, another disgruntled Burns Club member, approached Murray in September 1964 to ask if he would be interested in forming a Scottish club in Windsor. Mr. Muir served as the organization's first president, but for various reasons he had to resign a mere eighteen months later.
The members of the new Scottish Society of Windsor first met in the YMCA building before moving to the Electrical Workers Union building on North Service Road. The Burns Club, meanwhile, was meeting in the Norton Palmer Hotel on the corner of Park Street and Victoria Avenue; but after the hotel was demolished in 1966, the Burns Club was left without a meeting place. The organization folded and its members ventured over to the Scottish Society, Windsor's last stronghold of Scottish culture.
The young organization, however, faced disaster in September 1969: a fire on the premises of the electrical union building left the Scottish Society without a gathering place. Determined not to let the club crumble like the Burns Club had, Murray took it upon himself to search for a new location. However, the Scottish Society's executives weren't too keen on the $56,000 fixer-upper he found at 1340 Tecumseh Road, especially since the club only had $3,500 in its coffers. So Mr. Murray took it upon himself to purchase the hall, which "was a frightening ordeal for me and my limited worker's income," he admitted. "But I had the feeling that my supporters who assisted me in the past would assist me again." He was right: a group of dedicated volunteers banned with Murray to clean and renovate the building ("it was an absolute dump of a place," he recalled), and the Scottish Club of Windsor opened to the public in April 1970
The Scottish Club is the seat of Windsor's Scottish community, and home to the Scottish Society. Every Thursday evening at 8:00 P.M., passers-by can hear squealing bagpipes and thundering drums from inside its walls as the Scottish Society of Windsor Pipe Band practices. Lovers of Scottish culture and poetry aficionados crowd the hall every January to celebrate Burns Night, while people from all over the region pile inside during the city-wide Carrousel of Nations festival in June.
Many people have contributed to the success of the Scottish Society since it was founded nearly half a century ago. Past presidents have included Joseph Muir, Ernest Murray (no relation to Bob), William Fraser, Daniel Wilson, William Nicholson, Alex Hunter, William McIntosh, George McKain, Edward Hague, Allan Fullerton, Mary Ellen "Mamie" McKain, Raymond Seal, Mildred Dando, and Bob Murray. Bob Craig, the organization's current president, is working to ensure its continuing success.