This is a great day for Scots and poets everywhere. It's a national day dedicated to a poet, Robbie Burns. January 25 is his birthday -- and along with the January 11 birthday of another great Scot, Sir John A. Macdonald -- it was a day on which the "thrawn" among us took to the Rideau Canal Skateway in our kilts.
My birthday happens to fall on the same day as Sir John A. Macdonald's. Each year I would host a pot luck supper at my home on Riverdale Avenue. The house is just a few blocks down the road from the Rideau Canal Skateway, so whenever the weather permitted, the birthday party was a skating party. Because of the association with Macdonald, in his honour, some of us would take to the ice in kilts.
In 2014, the birthday party happened to fall on January 25 -- a double reason to bare the knees to the elements. But a day, as well, to recite Burns poetry and address the haggis. Professor Greg MacIsaac of Carleton University did the honours that year.
Some guests brought for the pot luck products they carried back from Scotland. And, yes, that's haggis on the plate.
Those of us who decided to go skating braved the elements.
In spite of the blizzard, some of us wore kilts anyway.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Society of Ottawa was looking for a project to celebrate the upcoming bicentennial of Sir John A. Macdonald.
Someone who was at the Macdonald/Burns house party told them about the people skating in their kilts in the blizzard. They arranged a meeting with the guy who hosted the house party.
The following year, there was no house party on Riverdale Avenue. Instead, Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate was held in five cities across Canada.
The National Capital Commission reports this morning that, after being closed since the weekend because of the warm weather, the Rideau Canal Skateway will be open as of noon today. I intend to skate to the Burns Dinner tonight. Happy Robbie Burns Day, everyone!