I would like to share with you today a story about a restaurant owned and operated, for many years, back in the 1950′s, by my father, dearest Jean-Paul, the Braemar Restaurant, which was located at 8440 St-Lawrence Boulevard, just north of the Metropolitain Highway 40, which crosses, still nowadays, the city of Montreal, from east to west.
I was in my pre-teen’s at that time and remember my first job at the restaurant as a “delivery boy”. I loved doing that, as it gave me the opportunity to be outside and because people gave me tip money, that I would spend buying magazines and books. I also washed the dishes and took good care that the fridges containing bottled beverages were always full.
But before I go further, be it said that until you introduced me, or should I say, initiated me, to the magnificient beauty and sound mysteries of Scotland, its stories, and strange legends alongside its dark secrets, it never dawned on me to ask Dad the naming origin of his restaurant!
You know, it’s one of those things that we take for granted and don’t ask any questions about it.
Not too long ago, before his transition to the “heavenly” world, we were casually chatting along during noon meal time, and I asked him:
- “Dad, since I discovered Scotland, field guided by Mairiuna and Jean-Claude, you now how much everything Scotland catches my fancy, so it will be no surprise to you if I ask why your restaurant was given the name of Braemar Restaurant?
- “Well, it already had this name when I purchased it from your uncle, Bill Blyth.”
- “Do you know the reason uncle Bill called it “Braemar”?
- ” (…)….William Blyth, that we always called Bill, was born in the Scottish city of Hamilton, not too far away from Glasgow, and often traveled to the city of Braemar in the Highlands. Even after moving abroad, when vacation time came along, he would fly back to Scotland and re-visit Braemar. He absolutely just loved the area.”
Now we know! Thanks Dad.
Come to think about it, who would not fell in love with Braemar and its castle? With its towers and turrets, it looks like one coming straight out of a scene from Macbeth. I would not be surprised to find haunted rooms as do have many of the Scottish castles. It’s a small castle compared to others in Scotland, but nevertheless, absolutely beautiful.
In 2007, with the Castle about to be put on the market, the Farquharsons were persuaded to lease it to the community of Braemar to run as a visitor attraction. Closed for 3 years, it was in need of considerable care and attention.
The unwelcome prospect of the Castle being sold brought the local community together. A plan was forged with the Farquharsons for the Castle to be leased for 50 years to the village of Braemar to be managed by the Charity, Braemar Community Limited.
The keys of the Castle were handed over in February 2007. By now this 350 year old building was in need of some tender loving care. Sadly, Piccadilly Jim’s kitchen and staff accommodation at the rear of the castle were beyond repair and the first task was to remove the 11 room leaking extension. The task was tackled with relish by the volunteers who worked tirelessly through 2007 so that the castle could reopen once more to visitors in May 2008.
Source: Braemar Castle – History
Can’t wait to go back to Braemar on our upcoming trip to Scotland in 2012!