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Sailing to Manitoba


Some older Scots may remember actor Roddy McMillan as Para Handy. Older Brits might just remember him as Choc Minty in Hazel. But he was a man of many parts and that included song writing. He produced completely original songs and English-language versions of old Gaelic songs. For years one struck me as odd. He was about the old sail ships and mentioned sailing to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Manitoba. The first two I got, they both have a lot of coastline. But surely Manitoba is a Canadian Prairie province. I thought maybe McMillan was stuck finding a rhyme for Nova Scotia. However, on Saturday it suddenly came to me that I'd forgotten all about Hudson Bay. OK, for all but a few months it's choked with ice but until recently grain shipments sailed from Churchill. And Manitoba was only created in 1870, with Hudson Bay becoming part of the province many years later, when the Day of the Great Sail Ships was drawing to a close. But maybe there was window of time when it was possible to sail to Manitoba on cargo carrying square rigger. So, I take it back Roddy. 

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