OTTAWA (January 22, 2015) – On the last Saturday in January, thousands of skaters on open air rinks across Canada will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Sir John A Macdonald – a great Canadian and a great Scot. Macdonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in January 1815 and came to Canada with his family as a small boy. He became the prominent architect of Confederation and Canada’s first Prime Minister.

“What better way to pay tribute to Sir John A. than by celebrating his Scottish heritage in a uniquely Canadian way,” says Don Cummer of the Scottish Society of Ottawa, which is organizing the event in Ottawa and coordinating it nationally. “In five cities across Canada, skaters will take to the ice wearing kilts, tartans and other Scottish apparel on January 31.”

“Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate” is supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Government of Scotland.  The events include:

Ottawa: in partnership with Winterlude, the kilt skate will be held on the Rideau Canal Skateway and Confederation Park. Skaters are invited to assemble at the Skateway’s Fifth Avenue entrance at 9:00 a.m. Scottish entertainment and birthday cake will be available at 10:30 a.m. at Confederation Park.

Montreal: skaters are invited to join The St. Andrews Society for a free afternoon of skating at the Vieux Port 2:00-4:00 p.m. Enjoy free birthday cake and Scottish music.

Winnipeg: between 2:00 and 2:15 p.m., skaters are invited to begin at The Plaza at the Forks for a skate that will take them down the skating trails of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Warm up with birthday cake and hot chocolate, organized by the Scottish Heritage Council of Manitoba.

Saskatoon: as part of the PotashCorp WinterShines festival, skaters are invited to gather at the Clarence Downey Speed Skating Oval, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Shortbread cookies, birthday cake, a craft table for children, and Scottish entertainment will all be available.

Calgary: the Optimist Clubs of Calgary and High River invite skaters to Calgary Olympic Plaza 4:00-6:00 p.m. for birthday cake, hot chocolate and Scottish entertainment.

At each of the five cities, skaters will be invited to sign a giant birthday card for Sir John A. Scottish wear is most welcome but not necessary if you want to join the fun. Kilted skaters will be rewarded with a brand new commemorative twoney in honour of Sir John A., created by the Canadian Mint.

“This will be a fun occasion for the whole family,” says Cummer.  “Just as important, it will be an occasion for all of us in five cities to learn more about Sir John A. Macdonald’s achievement in building this country, and reflect upon our shared history.”

( 30 )