05 Jul Dumfries to Canada
David Tait brings Canadians to Scotland to play golf
1) Where did you grow up and when did you leave Scotland?
I was born in Dumfries, but due to my father’s job in insurance we moved around quite a lot. I lived in Lenzie, Stirling, London, Newcastle, and Edinburgh. I emigrated to Canada in 1975.
2) What is your job/sector and how many countries have you lived in?
I started as a policeman in Edinburgh, but switched to Banking at the age of 22. It was banking that took me to Canada where I joined the Bank of Nova Scotia. I worked for a time around Toronto, but ultimately moved into the International Division. I worked in Sri Lanka, India, Greece, Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
I am now retired from banking and work with Stirling & Stirling (and Edinburgh based company) bringing Canadians to Scotland to play golf.
3) Do you sometimes visit bonny Scotland?
I visit Scotland at least once a year. I have a brother, sister and mother still there, and love going back, and love to golf on our magnificent golf courses.
4) What do people in your host country think of Scots and Scotland?
Scotland has a unique place in Canadian life. While the country is very multi-cultural, the kilt, bagpipes, Burns Suppers, are all part of life here. People are always impressed when I wear a kilt to a formal gathering, and love to tell me about their own Scottish connections. In many ways Canada as it is today was founded by Scots. Every major bank in Canada was founded by Scots.
5) Should haggis be a protected species?
Absolutely, as should the heathlands on which it roams.
6) Has living abroad changed the way you think about Scotland?
Yes I think that it has, and probably more in terms of the people than the land. I think that we lack some confidence at home, which seems to be dispelled when we venture abroad. I have found many Scots in positions of power around the world, and much of their strength comes from the education and upbringing that they received in Scotland. We are a hardworking and very capable people.
7) What do you miss most and least about the auld country?
I miss the open friendliness of the people. Where you can get on a bus and know the life history of the person next to you before you get off. However, I do not miss the weather. Standing at the west end of Princes Street on a wet dreech day is miserable. Even cold winter’s day in Canada do not compare.
8) What about the independence referendum coming up? How will it affect you and Scotland’s international image?
I have taken a real interest in this historic situation. Obviously the outcome will not particularly affect me as my home is now Canada, but I do think that it will boost the image of Scotland abroad. An image of a separate country in the same vein as Norway or Sweden will make Scotland stand out rather than being view as an adjunct to England.
9) When are you coming home for good and do you have a message for Scots back home?
I have no plans to come home as I am married to a Canadian, and my children are Canadian, my life is now here. However, my soul is still Scottish and I am interested in the outcome for Scotland. I hope that the Scottish people make the right decision with confidence in themselves and their future.