Sandra Horyski is working to match students at a primary school in Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland with those at schools in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, ideally including St. Francois Xavier Community School.
Horyski, who lives in Winnipeg’s North End, is a descendant of Cuthbert Grant and was the driving force behind collecting donations for a marker honouring Grant that was placed in the St. Francois Xavier Roman Catholic Parish cemetery on Sept. 28, 2013.
Cuthbert Grant’s father, Cuthbert Grant, Sr., left Scotland for Canada and was a significant part of the founding of the North West Trading Company. He married an Aboriginal woman and their son, Cuthbert, was born in 1793. Grant Junior returned to Scotland for his education, then returned to Canada, living in what is now Saskatchewan and Manitoba. A leader of those who became known as the Métis, he was awarded the title Warden of the Plains. He founded the town Grantown, which is now St. Francois Xavier, and built Grant’s Mill in St. James.
Horyski said Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland is celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2015, and the 160th anniversary of Grant’s death is on July 15. She would like to see students in Scotland join with those in Canada to study Grant’s history and have each group learn about the cultural link they share.
She’s working with a teacher in Grantown-on-Spey, who is also a Grant descendant, and others in the community who are interested in developing the project at that end. She said teachers at a school in Saskatchewan are also keen on the idea, but she wants to include a Manitoba school.
"I want to make sure we have a link in Manitoba," she said, adding that she’s sent a letter to the St. Francois Xavier Community School.
She is also organizing the installation of a plaque listing the names of donors who gave $50 and over to purchase and install Grant’s memorial marker. This will likely be part of the 160th anniversary celebration in July.
"There are a lot of people waiting for the event date," she said, adding that many St. Francois Xavier residents are interested in learning more about their community’s history.