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Robbie Burns and Agnes ForbesJanuary 25 commemorates the birth of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robbie Burns. Born on January 25, 1759, Burns is well remembered for his poetry with his best known work titled “Auld Lang Syne.”

In Grande Prairie, the Highland Games celebrates with a traditional Burns Supper held on January 28. The evening features special activities such as the “ode to the haggis”, the “Immortal Memory” reading, toasts and replies to the lassies and lots of fun, songs and readings. Grande Prairie residents also have another special connection to Scotland’s favourite son.

Agnes Sorrel Forbes, wife of Rev. Alexander Forbes, settled in the Grande Prairie area in 1910. They built the first hospital in Grande Prairie in 1911 and their home (b. 1912) is the oldest log structure in the city today. Both Agnes and her husband are well remembered for their friendliness, tending to the sick and assisting many new pioneers to this region. The Forbes house, located behind the hospital at 10424 96 Street, is part of the Grande Prairie Museum. It is open annually from June to August.

Rev. Forbes was from Aberdeen, Scotland and Agnes Forbes originated from Montrose, Scotland. It is Agnes who is Grande Prairie’s connection to Robbie Burns. She is said to be his third cousin. Her great grandfather, David Burness, had a brother, William, who was the father of Robbie Burns. Burns originally spelled his last name “Burness”.

To find out that one of the city's most important pioneers shared a connection with such a famous person in history is always an exciting event. This year, when you’re toasting to the lassies, let’s remember one lass in particular: Agnes Sorrel Forbes.

Last updated: 1/11/2017 3:48:00 PM