Women’s Institute campaign for official Plaid du Québec tartan

By Geoff Agombar – Local Journalism Initiative
Women’s Institute campaign for official Plaid du Québec tartan
(Photo : Pat Clarke, QWI Treasurer)

In April 2019, Linda Janes of Ormstown happened across a poster mentioning Quebec’s Tartan Day during a craft sale.

Her curiosity and relationships quickly put her at the head of a burgeoning campaign that could soon see Quebec adopt an official tartan, the last Canadian province to do so.

An official petition on the National Assembly website has tripled in recent days from 94 late last week to more than 300 on Tuesday. The public has until Feb. 10 to add their signature:

Janes says she does not have Scottish heritage herself. Her own roots trace back to England on her mother’s side and Ireland by way of Newfoundland on her father’s, but “I love tartan material. I used to do craft shows with my husband and I work with a lot of tartan. I make purses. I make teddy bears. I dress teddy bears. So, I do all kinds of stuff. I love working with tartans. Right now, I’m making masks with the Quebec tartan.”

Janes learned Quebec had adopted April 6 as Tartan Day in 2003 with a motion recognizing Scots among the province’s founding peoples, and a 400-year history of contributing to the economic, social and economic development of the province.

And yet, the province has yet to adopt its own official tartan. “I believe it was an oversight that it was never adopted by the province. Most people probably didn’t know that provinces actually adopted their tartan and it wasn’t just named for them. And I said, it’s just time to rectify it.”

As a long-time member of the Quebec Women’s Institute (QWI), Janes knows well that such a tartan exists. QWI members have been wearing Plaid du Québec for more than 20 years. “Actually, we started wearing it when we held an international Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) convention at Bishop’s University. That was when we started wearing it on a larger scale … I can’t remember the exact year. It would be about ’98 or ’99, I believe.”

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