The Scottish Studies "Oor Club" is held each month at noon at the Duke of York pub in Toronto (steps from the St. George subway station). Guests are invited to give presentations on a variety of topics of interest to members of the Scottish Studies Foundation and others interested in the things that Scots in Canada and overseas are getting up to. The presentations usually last about an hour (pronounced "oor" in Scots), hence the name. Everyone is invited to attend as the meetings are open to all.
The idea came from Scottish folk singer and artist Enoch Kent (pictured above) who moved to the Toronto area from Glasgow. Enoch had heard about the original Oor Club where people met in two old tenement houses next door to one another in Duke Street in Glasgow back in the 1700s. The wall between the two tenements was knocked down with one house forming the speakers' room and the other the bar. Notable speakers were invited to deliver a topic on which they had expertise, with a set time limit of no more than one hour. Legend has it that that Robert Burns paid a visit to the original club which was the exact opposite from the already established and rather snobbish clubs in the city which subjected would-be members to detailed scrutiny. Instead the original Oor Club prided itself on having no members and no rules, something Enoch Kent wanted to replicate in Toronto.
For the past nine years, our Oor Club coordinator has been Pearl Grieve-Nixon seen in the above photo from the cover of one of her CDs (her stage name is Pearl White). Pearl was, and still is, an accomplished jazz singer. In her role as our Oor Club coordinator,Pearl enthusiastically seeks out a wide variety of interesting presenters who come along to educate, inform and entertain everyone present.Thanks to Pearl's hard work in making the Oor Club such a great success the donations received from the Club total many thousands of dollars. At the Oor Club a few years ago, Pearl teamed up with pianist David Restivo to entertain us with a repertoire of jazz classics and you can listen to her singing here.