December 09, 2012


Toronto, like so many other Commonwealth-country cities, was built by many Scots. Though the city has become much more multi-cultural from the days of white Europeans settlement, a walkabout most older neighbourhoods uncovers evidence of the role that Scottish played in laying bricks and pavement, carving stones and wood.

Most days when I ride to work I go across plenty of streets with Scottish names – “Dunedin,” “Colbeck,” “Strath,” and even “Craic.” Sometimes I think these roads must have been named by homesick builders and bricklayers.

I carry on to the toney Forest Hill area, home to many of Toronto’s business elite and the neighbourhood where Aubrey Graham – much more famous as “Drake” – grew up. And every trip I ride along Dunvegan Road and, after a few blocks, turn at Kilbarry, not spelled the same as piping’s notorious Archibald Campbell of Kilberry, but it’s a confluence of streets that every time I cross it I wonder if somehow there wasn’t come piping connection back in the 1920s when these large homes were constructed.

I can’t think of a much better, or more ironic, piping crossroads as the intersection of Dunvegan and Kilbarry, but I got to wondering if other such piping and drumming road coincidences exist.

Thanks to the officious folks at Google, who kindly mapped the planet, and somehow took away from the charm and serendipity of discovering such things, here are a few others:

Maybe you have a few favourite piping and drumming roads more travelled.


  1. The Scots also built most of Montreal (and Canada, in fact). We have Argyle Ave., MacTavish St., Drummond St., McGill University, Hutchison Ave., Redpath Ave.. On and on it goes. The Scots (and Irish) actually built much more of Quebec than any other groups. They built the railroads (we have the Angus Yards), banks etc.
    A few years ago I had a gig in a little Quebec town called ;Longue Pointe de Magnan (just north of Anticosti Island) and on the way there we passed ‘Ferguson Rd.’, ‘MacDonald Rd.’ and a host of other Scottish names.



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