Our History


More than two hundred years have passed since the arrival, in the early 1770s, of the first Scot settlers on the shore of Prince Edward Island. These people, and their countrymen who emigrated after them, left a troubled, albeit beloved homeland for a new life in a barely civilized colony, with little to aid them in their venture but the support of one another.

A strong bond of kinship had characterized the Highland Scots for centuries, sustaining their continued attachment to Scotland. It was this bond, this clannishness that would, with each succeeding generation of Scots born on the Island, maintain a strong affinity with the “homeland.” Even the long standing Highland/Lowland clash would fade as men and women from both regions learned to accept one another as Scots and to offer assistance when they could.

To ensure the survival of a Scottish fellowship on the Island, a formal society was, in time, established. For the first years, the Scots were largely concerned with clearing and working their lands, building their communities, and gathering in celebration of particular holidays like New Year’s and the anniversary of their patron saint, Andrew. In 1837, almost seventy years after the first wave of emigration, the Highland Society of Prince Edward Island was formed, modelled after the original Highland Society in London, England. In 1864, the organization adopted a new policy, a more formal constitution, and a new name – the Caledonian Club of Prince Edward Island.

By 1864, conditions were ripe for the establishment of the Society’s new image. The Caledonian Club would take more active measures than had its predecessors in preserving the bonds of kinship and the heritage of its members. Still, with the birth of the new club there died a little of the magic and excitement that characterized the earlier years of Scottish activity on the Island. By 1864, pattern had been set; the new constitution only seasoned and stylized the aims, objectives, and resolutions of old. The change was to be expected. The club had matured over the years to comply with its own varying needs and the social, economic, and political advances made in the world around it. No longer was the kinship an isolated entity. As the Caledonian Club, it would take its active, rightful place in Prince Edward Island society.

 Celts and Ceildhs
 A History of Scottish Societies
 on Prince Edward Island
 by Susan Hornby