Games dream for Canada's own Markinch Mayor
The Mayor of Markinch will be visiting the Highland Games next month ... that's Markinch, Canada not Fife by the way, with a round trip of some 12,000km.
Bob Fenwick, mayor of the Fife town’s namesake in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan – population 72 – will be making the journey to experience one of Scotland’s oldest Games and to fulfill a long-held ambition.
“I can’t wait to be there, I love the area as I have visited before, but not for the Games so it was a must for me as I’m on holiday in Scotland at the time,” Bob told the Gazette.
Bob plans to travel from Inverness to Markinch on the day of the games and will be stopping over for a couple of days afterwards in order to soak up the unique games atmosphere and further explore the local area.
In doing so, Bob will be walking in the very footsteps of those Scottish railway workers from Fife, who went over to Canada to make their fortunes by helping to build the provincial railway which runs across the vast expanse of Canada.
“The Settlement here only started in the early 1900s,” explained Bob.
“As the Canadian Pacific Company was building a railroad across Saskatchewan, small towns were springing up along the route.
“Ours was incorporated in 1911 and was named after your Markinch as most of the rail workers were from Scotland.
“And with a Cupar and a Dysart just a few miles away, they certainly left their mark.
“In all there are about four and a half million Canadians today with Scottish roots.”
In its heyday, Markinch in Saskatchewan grew to several hundred occupants,.
It boasted a school, ice and curling rink as well as other sports coverage, and other amenities to support a mainly rural community of farming families.
These days the small community has largely survived because of its close proximity to regional capital, Regina.
“Many of the residents work in the city but love the quiet of country living so they commute. This is the same for most of the small towns down our line,” he explains.
As for Bob’s role as mayor, he admits it is largely a ceremonial position these days.
“It’s a part-time gig that I have been doing for eight years or so now,” he added.
But ceremonial or not, Bob will be given a warm welcome by the Games committee in official capacity as Mayor and he said he will be bringing a few namesake items over for the organisers to use as prizes.
“They will make nice souvenirs and it’s a way of extending the hand of friendship between the two settlements.”