About the Reunion

MacKinnon Descendants Reunion – June 13-15, 2008

Red Cliffs at Canoe Cove ParkCharles MacKinnon and Christina Cameron made the decision in 1808 to leave their homeland on the Isle of Mull, Scotland and move to Prince Edward Island. They settled in Canoe Cove a few years later, and raised their family of six children, who are our ancestors. There had never been a reunion of their descendants in North America, and what better time to celebrate together than on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of their arrival in a new land.

Canoe Cove SignThe Reunion started on the evening of Friday, June 13 in Canoe Cove Presbyterian Church. Approximately 150 family members attended a service of dedication led by Reverend Steven Stead, who is married to a descendant. Following the service, the memorial stone was unveiled by young Hannah and Kyle Peters and Nikki MacEwen, descendants of Charles MacKinnon and Christina Cameron. The official opening was held the following day at Camp Keir, also in Canoe Cove. Piper Malcolm MacLaine piped in the official party, consisting of Joan MacKinnon; the Honourable Valerie Docherty, Minister of Tourism; Paula Biggar, MLA for Linkletter/Tyne Valley; Jill MacMicken-Wilson, Head Archivist for the the Provincial Archives; and Gary MacDougall, editor of The Charlottetown Guardian.

Valerie Docherty welcomed the over 250 Reunion participants on behalf of the province of P.E.I., while Paula Biggar, a family member, added her greetings to the assembled family members. Gary MacDougall talked about his memories of grandmother, Dot MacNevin MacDougall. Joan MacKinnon presented a copy of her new book, From Home and From Away: The Descendants of Charles MacKinnon and Christina Cameron to Jill MacMicken-Wilson, who then thanked her and talked about the genealogy resources of the Provincial Archives. Refreshments were provided by the Canoe Cove Women’s Institute, which helped warm up family members so that they could enjoy reconnecting and viewing displays on all six branches of the family. Group photos of the entire group, and then of each smaller group were taken to provide a lingering memento of the Reunion. Family members had come from every province in Canada, except Manitoba and Newfoundland; from 8 states in the United States, including California and Colorado; from New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and Oman.

That evening, over 230 family members enjoyed the Tartan Dinner, which featured haggis, turkey and dressing, turnip and cake for dessert. Matthew MacLaine piped in the haggis, carried by Mayor of Cornwall Patrick MacFadyen, another family descendant. Joan MacKinnon addressed the assembled crowd, wearing her father’s hunting MacKinnon kilt. Following the excellent dinner, family members entertained the crowd. There was music – in the form of fiddling by Dennis Alexander, and mandolin playing by Neil Frisbie, as well as songs by Jackie Redmond, and Marlene Ford and her sisters-in-law, Nina and Joyce Phillips. Bonnie Saunderson gave a cute rendition of ‘Skinamarinkydinkydo’. Christy Charles performed the Highland Fling, and her cousin Khrystia MacKinnon demonstrated a Ukrainian dance. Don MacKinnon recited The Shooting of Dan McGrew from memory and with great feeling. Daisy Buchanan performed a skit in which an older woman was wooing a young man, in this case Ross Charles. What an array of talent there is in this family!

Bright and early next morning, about 130 family members set off in 3 buses to visit locations on the Island important in family history. Our route took us through New Dominion, Rice Point, Canoe Cove and Argyle Shore before heading to Summerside. After a quick stop to shop at Spinnaker’s Landing, our next stop was the People’s Cemetery in Summerside, where Cornelius MacKinnon and many of his descendants are buried, as well as Neil MacKinnon and family, Angus MacKinnon and his wife and son and Maggie MacKinnon Hodge and her husband and son Lemuel were laid to rest. Two buses followed a loop through Lot 16, while the third traveled through Northam, Tyne Valley and Ellerslie, before all three returned to the Western Road. O’Leary, home of Donald MacKinnon and many of his descendants, was along the route to West Point, where we planned to lunch. Unfortunately, a kamikaze squad of mosquitoes swooped down upon us there, making it impossible to eat outside or go to see West Point Lighthouse, so we returned to the buses to eat. We continued on through Brae, where we stopped at Brae Cemetery, and saw the tombstones of Donald and Christy MacKinnon, and Donald’s daughter Jane MacAulay, as well as Archibald MacNevin, and others. Continuing on through Coleman, we headed for Mount Pleasant where we were invited for tea at the home of Clarence and Marlene Ford, who live in the house built by William MacKinnon in the 1860s. What a feast we had! There was tea and lemonade, and many delicious treats prepared by family members. The sun came out and everyone was able to mingle outside. Our last stop was in Victoria West Cemetery where William and Mary Ann MacKinnon are buried, along with several of their children and many descendants. Then it was back to Cornwall, by way of Kensington, home of Bessie and William Hopgood, and then Hunter River, where Russell MacNeill and family lived.

The Clan Challenge Golf Tournament was held during the afternoon at Glen Afton Golf Course. About 26 family members participated. The low score went to Ross Charles, with Andrew Windsor in second place.

The Reunion concluded that evening with a ceilidh featuring the Long River Players. The group played the fiddle, sang, did some stepdancing, and brought up audience members to play the spoons and sing.  A good time was had by all.  Just before the farewell, the New Zealand group got up on stage and sang a lovely Maori song that was greatly enjoyed by everyone.  All too soon, it was time to say goodbye.<>