By Dianne Pinder-Moss
When motorists drive by Ross and Pam Fergusson’s farm on Tennyson Road in Perth, some are doing a double take. That’s because the main barn on their 200-acre property now sports a colourful four foot squared tartan.
The Fergussons are among several property owners in Lanark County showing Scottish or Irish heritage pride by being part of the Tartans on Barns project.
The celebration of the area’s heritage is what the project is all about. “It will promote and build a deeper understanding of Canada’s roots, its people and what it means to be both a rural Canadian and a settler of this area,” said Mary Stewart, who presented the idea before the County of Lanark’s Economic Development Committee in August 2015.
Tartans on Barns is coinciding with festivities being held this year in Drummond/North Elmsley, Tay Valley Township, Beckwith Township and the Town of Perth to mark the bicentennial of the establishment of the original Perth military settlement, as well as Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.
The goal of the project, which is in partnership with Tay Valley Township and the county’s Agricultural Advisory Committee, is to have tartans from Scotland and Ireland on as many barns as possible throughout the county. To date, there are at least 24 properties participating with approximately half of the tartans already hung up.
“It’s been very positive,” Stewart said of the community response. “People think it is an exciting thing. They love the thought of honouring the original owners (of the properties).”
The Fergussons are paying tribute to their Scottish heritage with the blue and green tartan that adorns the front of their barn in Drummond/North Elmsley. “Because we are Scottish, we decided to put our Fergusson tartan on our barn,” Pam stated, noting that the farm has been in the family since its inception.
For those who are interested in purchasing a tartan as part of the project contact Stewart at 613-264-8904 or email her at email@example.com. Or, drop by The Running Goat at 74 Foster St., in Perth.
Residents of Perth could also participate in the project, Stewart suggests, by buying a tartan to place on their door or garage.
For visual effect, Stewart is considering increasing the size of tartans to five-foot square or even six-foot square. “If they are bigger, they would be able to be spotted more easily by the tourists,” she mentioned.
Stewart envisions Tartans on Barns as being a legacy project in which the tartans remain on the barns. She see the project evolving into perhaps a Tartan Tour.
Mary Stewart stands in front of the Fergusson tartan that graces the barn of Ross and Pam Fergusson on their Tennyson Road farm. Photo Credit: Dianne Pinder-Moss