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Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts

From Academic Kids

The Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts (also known informally as the Gaelic College) is a Canadian educational institution located in the community of St. Ann's on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island along the world-famous Cabot Trail.

The Gaelic College was founded in 1938 by Presbyterian Minister, the Reverend A.W.R. MacKenzie, having opened in a one-room log building on land in St. Ann's which had been owned in the 1800s by the Reverend Norman McLeod, another Presbyterian minister who had lived on the site for 30 years and who migrated in the 1850s with 800 settlers from surrounding communities to Waipu, New Zealand.

The Gaelic College has evolved over time into a beautiful modern campus overlooking St. Ann's Harbour. The institution's mission is as follows:

"To promote, preserve and perpetuate through studies in all related areas: the culture, music, language, arts, crafts, customs and traditions of immigrants from the Highlands of Scotland."[1] (http://www.gaeliccollege.edu)

The early years of the institution's history were dedicated to the instruction of the Scots Gaelic language which in the 1930s was under significant threat of dying out, having once been spoken by over 100,000 Nova Scotians, until the advent of modern transport and communications in the early 20th century began to force English assimilation in the agrarian economies of Cape Breton Island and Nova Scotia.

Today the Gaelic College has a broader mandate to preserve the culture of the Scottish Highlanders who settled in the area with McLeod. Thousands of students, old and young, come from all over North America and around the world to attend summer sessions and courses held throughout the year.

The college's curriculum covers the following areas:

  • Great Highland Bagpipe
  • Highland Dance
  • Cape Breton Fiddle
  • Piano Accompaniment
  • Cape Breton Step Dance
  • Celtic Harp
  • Scottish Small Pipes
  • Gaelic Song
  • Drumming & Bodhran
  • Traditional Piping
  • Gaelic Language & Song
  • Weaving

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