Most everyone knows that the East Kingdom in the SCA includes parts of two modern countries, the United States of America and Canada, but how much do you really know about the Huge East Kingdom Crown Principality to the North East?
The Crown Principality (CP) of Tir Mara is basically a region, but with the intention of someday becoming a full principality. The Heirs to the East Kingdom also become our Heads of State upon being invested as Prince and Princess, so you may see them wearing our heraldic Blue and White and eight pointed blue star on occasion, and we appreciate that.
Tir Mara consists of the Canadian Provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. That is a pretty BIG chunk of land. It is bigger than the rest of the East Kingdom, actually, despite that fact we have quite a small population both modern and SCA. The Easternmost residents of Tir Mara are actually on an island which means to get from one end of the Crown Principality to the other one must take an airplane, or a ferry. Yes, travel is something Tir Marans do because we have to; for example, travel between Ruantallan (Nova Scotia) and Ar n’Eilean-ne (St John’s, NF) takes 24 hours by car and ferry. In Ruantallan alone the cantons are all over an hour across, and local events can be ½ hour to 4 hours away and still be within that barony.
The CP of Tir Mara has three Baronies, Isle du Dragon Dormant, which we shorten to IDD, (Montreal), Havre des Glaces (Quebec City and surrounding area) and Ruantallan (Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island). Ruantallan, our oldest barony, also has the majority SCA membership within Tir Mara with 120-150 members on average.
IDD was the third Barony formed in what is now Tir Mara, and once was Northern Shores. Both IDD and Havre des Glaces are French-speaking baronies. Thus anyone visiting us will often hear our Tir Maran or Royal courts heralded in both French and English, the official languages of Canada (and Tir Mara). Actually the French we speak is mostly Quebecquois, a dialect unique to Canada, so do not question your school taught French when talking to one of the francophone Tir Marans.
The Shire of Lyndhaven and the Incipient Shire of Avonmore are located in the only officially bilingual province in Canada (New Brunswick) and have the happy coincidence of being the centre region of Tir Mara. Lyndhaven also happens to be the geographic centre of the East Kingdom, as well, but not if we calculated by population, then the centre would be far to the south!
Did you know? We actually have our own Tir Mara Royal Travel Fund to help defray travel costs for royalty visiting Tir Mara. Established by Mistress Gwenhwyfar dinas Emrys, OP and her sister Mistress Zaneta Gavlinne Angiolieri, OP, each group who raises money for the fund can then access that money for royal visits to their group. Started in 2004, this project has increased royal visits to Tir Mara remarkably and money is raised throughout Tir Mara in a number of ways: t-shirt sales, boxed lunch auctions, silent auctions, etc..
Our money is different, we have coins for our dollar bills (Loonies) and our two-dollar bills (Toonies) and our paper bills are not only colourful but they are also now made of plastic. Often our money is on par with the US dollar, but we are more likely to have it just below the US dollar to encourage economic trade, and so, for Tir Marans in the SCA, it is a kindness when reserving for pre-paid events in the US that we have access to ACCEPs or get to pay in US currency at the door. Money orders in Canada can be quite expensive. We do tend to extend this courtesy to our US event attendees, reserve and pay at the door, and usually Tir Mara can take either currency. However, it is always good to check with the event staff when attending events in Tir Mara.
And when you arrive to an event, do be prepared to stand for the evening toasts with the masses. Canada still maintains its Royal Citizenship, thus we tend to treat that part of the SCA with the same protocols we’d do if HRM Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada (as well as the UK), Herself was being saluted, everyone standing. Vivat!
So, Tir Marans may sound a bit different, eh? Oui? Do some things a bit differently than is done in the US part of the kingdom, but we hope the modern border just adds to the travel adventure when you come to our events, (as it does for us when we travel south). And, remember, you are still in the East Kingdom; Welcome Home!
This article was written by the Tir Mara Correspondent:
Mistress Elizabeth “Bess” Darnley