Lanark Weaver wasn’t named after people named Lanark or Weaver (as I had to explain to the Registry of Joint Stocks in some significant detail.) But rather a place (or two places) and a trade.
In my office, my father’s unique cobalt blue fiddle holds pride of place.. I wanted to honour my late father and my family in naming this new company, settling on Lanark (because our family originally emigrated from Lanark Scotland to what became Lanark Ontario Canada) and Weaver, because the most senior Watt to first emigrate was a Weaver by trade.
The story captured my imagination as it related to what recruitment, at its purest, can be; helping candidates and clients share their stories to connect in a meaningful way, helping candidates weave the story of their careers and organizations weave new talent into the fabric of their teams. (I’m a metaphorical thinker to the extreme, even incorporating the cobalt blue of my dad’s fiddle into the logo, along with the green of the Lanark hills.) The full story (or fuller story) I originally posted back on Father’s Day 2022 I’m happy to share below.
A Father’s Day Story
Storytelling has been one of the most quintessentially human pastimes since our origins. And origin stories themselves are one of the most fundamental ways we understand our place in the world in the past, today, and where we might find our way into the future.
In the early 1820s, several families set out from Lanark County, Scotland to sail to Canada. They landed in Quebec and proceeded through to the Ottawa valley in Ontario. They stopped to camp on a particular hill close to where they were to settle. That night, they discussed how rough and rocky the terrain was for farming, discouraged at the challenge ahead of them. They lit a fire to keep the wolves at bay. And a young Alexander Watt picked up his fiddle while standing watch through the night, playing Scottish tunes to keep himself awake and bolster the spirits of the future community of this new Lanark, Ontario. My third-great-grandfather made this same journey, leading his family from the Lanark of Scotland to Lanark, Ontario in 1821. George Watt Sr. was a Weaver by trade.
Two hundred years later, that hill in Lanark County is still known as Fiddler’s Hill. I only heard this story after my dad had passed, an independent entrepreneur and renowned fiddler in his own right. His unique, cobalt blue, five-string fiddle holds pride of place in my office, a daily reminder of this story of courage, determination in the face of difficulty and how creativity and community can overcome obstacles and create something new. While acknowledging the complexities of settler-colonialist history of our country, it is also an immigration story. And I think of all the people who similarly inspire today with the courage to leave everything behind for a new future, often for a place they never had the opportunity to know before moving to a strange, new land.
Storytelling is the fabric of our cultures, families and communities, inextricably tied to our upbringing, and shapes our values. Our stories get woven into how we live, how we weave our talents and interests into jobs, jobs into careers, careers into how we see ourselves and serve our families and communities. These unique and illuminated stories get interwoven into even richer tapestries as we build diverse communities and teams and companies. So when it came to set out on my own new path, the stories of Fiddler’s Hill and the Lanark Weaver come along with me to remind me to keep creative, serve community and do the hard work.
(If you happen to have a particular interest in family histories, the journey of my mom’s ancestors from England is a colourful tale. But if you want to know why I might not even be here if it weren’t for Charles Dickens (yes, that Charles Dickens) – well – that one is for over a whisky or a coffee and a story to share in return.)