As I mention just to the right, I like to connect the West coast with the East – sharing stories of bagpipers and events from both coasts. So here’s a story about a piper from the Maritimes.
My home town is well known for its bagpipers. I remember growing up in Antigonish and often hearing more than a few pipers playing outside in the warm spring air. At the time, I didn’t think this was significant. I thought every town was like this, as I thought every parade was composed mainly of marching pipe bands. Such was life in a small, highland Scottish community in Nova Scotia in the 1970’s.
Of the many great pipers to come from Antigonish, one of the most famous, and the most photographed, was Allan Joseph Cameron. Piper Cameron was a very well known figure in the community, as a piper and father to a large family. He was friends with my father, and we would sometimes say hello to him at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border where for many years his piping welcomed tourists to New Scotland. For others, however, it was the last sight and sound of Alba Nuadh in the rear view mirror as they headed “to Toronto, or out West, to God only knows where.”
Recently another well known Antigonish bagpiper and friend, Scott Williams, penned a biography of Cameron for the Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association website. The research comes from Scott’s book, “Pipers of Nova Scotia: Biographical Sketches 1773 to 2000”. The biography provides a nice account of Cameron’s piping accomplishments – an East coast bagpiper who played up until he was 91 years old.
For those interested in learning a bit about the piping folklore and history from Nova Scotia, I invite you to visit this site. And my thanks to Scott Williams.