Scotland and Canada have enjoyed a special relationship for centuries. Find out about some of the connections that bind our two countries together.
Around 4 million Canadians claim Scottish descent, and the ties that bind the two countries are just as strong as they have ever been. More than 125,000 Canadians visit Scotland every year, bringing innovation and kindness with them. And those visitors don’t just come to look and learn, they also come to spend, injecting an annual £92 million into the Scottish economy. New flight routes between Scotland and Alberta will help to increase visitor numbers in years to come.
Scotland and Canada have shared values and interests in global challenges, including climate change, the Arctic, biodiversity and energy security. As well as clean heat for homes, accessing healthcare in remote communities and sharing best practice on social enterprise are current and ongoing.
Our relationship is rich and varied with many Canadian Provinces, Territories and First Nations and Indigenous Peoples. From Gaelic language speakers in Nova Scotia to climate change research with British Columbia, Scottish tourism and flight routes with Alberta, and academic links and Scottish leadership on ‘Period Poverty’ with the Yukon. Scotland and Canada are linked in many ways – as well as the return of a memorial pole from Scotland to the Nisga’a nation.
Scotland and Canada across key sectors
Today our relationship with Canada goes beyond traditional cultural ties. Canada is a key partner for business including engineering, food and drink, and renewable energy. Scottish firms are in the Bay of Fundy, between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, generating electricity in one of the world’s most powerful tides.
Many Canadian universities were founded by Scots and courses in the study of Scotland and the Gaelic language are thriving in many universities. Scot Dr Lesley Brown heads up Canada’s newest institution – Yukon University. In 2021-22 we welcomed more than 1,300 Canadian students to Scottish institutions – an increase of 15% on the previous year. Since 2009, we’ve supported 265 Canadian students via the Saltire Scholarship programme. Currently in development, the Scotland Canada Academic Partnership (S-CAP) will help to build on the ties between Scottish and Canadian universities even further.
Traditional Scottish culture features proudly across Canada, showcased brilliantly by the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) and the Celtic Colours music festival, and of course Tartan Day which, on 6 April every year celebrates Canada’s Scottish heritage. And every year Scotland welcomes Canadian performers at the Edinburgh Festivals and participants of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Find out more about Scotland's relationships with countries around the world through Scotland's international hubs.