In past years, Bryan Lyall organized a full Burns dinner for the Scottish Society of Ottawa (SSO), complete with remembering the Immortal Memory, toasts to Lassies and, of course, the Address to the haggis. This year, with Brian away on other responsibilities, we gathered for the fun and the fare at The Highlander Pub, where anyone wearing tartan gets a complementary dram.
Of course, getting to the event is half the fun. I'm at one end of the Rideau Canal Skateway, and the Highlander Pub is in the Byward Market at the other end. So decked out in regalia, I strap on the skates. Note the red knees. It's 20-below with the wind chill. And the journey is only beginning!
Along the way, people stop to ask about the attire and the flag. One young woman wanted to send a picture to her grandfather for Rabbie Burns Day.
At the downtown end of the Skateway, I met some medical students who had come to Ottawa to interview with the university for residencies. Being able to skate 7.8 kilometers on a frozen canal would certainly be among the plus factors drawing them to Ottawa.
It's a short walk from the changing chalet's to the Highlander Pub.
Inside where it's warm, I can shed the fur hat and overcoat, and rehydrate.
The members of the Scottish Society of Ottawa are already gathering. Here's Izzy and Elizabeth...
Isobel was joined by her husband, Nick, and the kids, Stas and Anna.
Sadie and her son arrived.
Pierre, Heather and Charlie...
Charlie's 97-year-old mother had come out from Winnipeg.
David and Joanne came in costume.
Two dozen of us in all.
The haggis was piped in.
The proprietor of The Highlander Pub, Ken, recited some Rabbie Burns verse.
The haggis was duly addressed...and stabbed.
And we all settled in for an evening of good food and good conversation.
At the height of the evening, we all joined with Scots around the world in an international toast to Rabbie Burns organized by Scottish Television's STV2 ‘Live at 5.’ Check out #CheerstoRabbie.
A splendid time was had by all.
And then it was time to skate back home.