Celebrate Welsh HeritageFeb 28, 2021 - By John D. Reid
On Monday, 1 March, St David’s Day, we celebrate Welsh heritage. In the most recent census, a little under two percent of Ottawa’s population claimed Welsh ancestry, those of Welsh origin have made a notable contribution to Canada.
Terry Matthews, born and educated in Wales came to Ottawa and as a serial entrepreneur stimulated the local hi-tech industry, founding Mitel and Newbridge Networks while becoming a billionaire.
Mabel Elizabeth (née Davies), an immigrant from Wales, was the mother of Erik Neilson, former Deputy Prime Minister in the Mulroney government from 1984 to 1986, and his better know brother, actor Leslie Neilson — “surely” you know that!
Much earlier, mapmaker David Thompson was one of the great explorers of the North West Company.
Others of Welsh origin include Leonard Brockington, first head of the CBC, novelist Robertson Davies, Powys Thomas, co-founder of the national theatre school, and Robert Harris, painter of the Fathers of Confederation.
If any of your ancestors had last name Jones, Davies, Williams, Evans, Thomas, Roberts, Lewis, Hughes, Morgan or Griffiths there’s a good chance you have Welsh heritage. Join in singing the Welsh National Anthem.
Check out the website of the Welsh Society of Ottawa for events celebrating St David’s Day.