For the second straight year, the Scottish Government has come forward with funding to help communities across Canada celebrate their Scottish Heritage with bare knees and ice. It has signed an agreement with the Scottish Society of Ottawa that will see the SSO distribute money that will support Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate.
Originating as a private house party to celebrate a birthday, the first national Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate was organized in 2015 to mark the bicentennial of Canada's first Prime Minister and the principle architect of Confederation.
Last year, funding went to kilt skates in five communities across Canada (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon and Calgary).
A sixth kilt skate in Winnipeg had to be cancelled because of warm weather. A seventh kilt skate was organized independently in Lloydminster.
You don't have to be Scottish to enjoy a kilt skate. You don't have to wear a kilt or even skates. Just enjoy releasing your inner Scot, and dress Scottish in whatever way possible. After all, tartan is Canada's favourite colour!
Whether your Scottish or not, whether you have tartan in your wardrobe or not, whether your only exposure to Scottish culture is Braveheart and single malt, just come join the party, and enjoy the hot chocolate and birthday cake.
Who knows? You may even be joined by a mascot from one of the local sports teams.
This year, the kilt skates will also reflect the theme of Scotland's "Year of Young People," with a focus on 8-26 year olds.
For many organizations, it means reaching out to hockey and ringuette teams, curling clubs, Highland and country dancing organizations to join in the fun. It's a great opportunity to rejuvenate the membership base.
That's the type of partnership that, in 2016, make the Saskatoon event the Kilt Skate Capital of Canada.
The Scottish Government will provide funding for communities to host the party with hot chocolate and birthday cake, bunting and swag, entertainment and, where required, insurance and ice fees. Some organizations may want to use funding to hire Scottish entertainment.
A media campaign will be coordinated with the national campaign to get more people out to the event #kiltskate2018
In cities hosting a larger event where they expect 100 or more participants, additional funding will be available to organize opening ceremonies with local dignitaries and representatives from the Scottish Government.
These events will also include a representative from the federal, provincial and municipals governments, bringing special messages from our political leaders.
There will be opening ceremonies that will include a ribbon cutting.
There will be a tent where Scotland's national tourism organization, Visit Scotland, will provide travel information and give-aways.
These events will require rental of a sound system, tents, and a professional photographer and, as a result, more funding is available.
If your organization is interested in hosting Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate in your city in January-February 2018, we'd love to hear from you. Simply use the "contact us" button on this website.