Ottawa doubles down

The Ottawa version of Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate continues to grow.  This year, about a hundred kilted and tartaned skaters gathered at the Lansdowne Park Skating Rink, milling about the tents and taking to the ice on a beautiful winter day. Skating, eating birthday cake and, of course, playing the bagpipes.

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I think Ottawa may have set the world record for the largest pipe band on skates.  Someone call the Guinness people!

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The number of pipers attending the Ottawa kilt skate has grown each year we've been at the Lansdowne Park Skating Rink. So has the number of tartaned and kilted skaters. We were double the number from last year.

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Which was double the number of skaters who came to the first Lansdowne skate in 2016.

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But year after year as new kilt skate enthusiasts join our ranks.


Some of our kilt skate enthusiasts return year after year.  We've become a kilt skate family.

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The annual Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate is a chance to meet old friends and make new ones.

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Joanne has come to the kilt skates before.  This year she brought her friend, David, who is well known at the Perth Kilt Run and in various Renaissance Fairs and re-enacting groups across North America. But this was his first kilt skate.


Everyone wanted to get their picture taken with David and Joanne.

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And somewhere along the way, David even got a chance to go skating.


Ottawa's opening ceremonies gathers the crowd together to hear from Mayor Jim Watson...

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And the local Member of Parliament, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna...


And the Scottish Government's representative in Canada, Chris Maskell.

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In expressing the Scottish Government's support for the kilt skates across Canada this year, Chris pointed out that this is Scotland's "Year of Young People."  Certainly there were enough young people to underscore his message.

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At the opening ceremonies, young people were represented again by Scarlett Arbuthnot, who led the singing of the National Anthem...

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...before the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon...

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With the ceremonial ribbon cutters.


But most of all, it was an occasion for the generations to mix and mingle...

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...enjoy some birthday cake...


...and hot chocolate...

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...but mostly to lace up...

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...and go skating!


This was a very successful kilt skate. It could not have been done without the effort of a dedicated team of volunteers, organized by Isobel Adams.

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Each year, so much of the back room coordination of the kilt skate -- as well as skate day coordination -- is done by the Scottish Society of Ottawa's Secretary, Heather Theoret.

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Coordinating the Ottawa skate with the national celebration of Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate was Sue MacGregor.  Sue's business took her out of town, and she couldn't join us for the Ottawa skate this year, but here she is on last year's skate day, along with Skater-in-Chief, Don Cummer, and the Scottish Government's Chris Maskell.

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Andrew Caddell is the Executive Director of the Scottish Society of Ottawa and served as Master of Ceremonies for the day.

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Charlie Inglis is SSO's Treasurer, and ensured that the Ottawa event -- as well as the other five kilt skate cities -- received their funding from the Scottish Government.

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The Ottawa kilt skate was organized for the Scottish Society of Ottawa by Carol MacPherson.  Not only was it Carol's first effort at organizing a kilt skate; it was her first kilt skate.  She says she'll be back next year.  Yay!


Because here's the challenge for next year: for the past two years we've managed to double the number of participants at Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate.  If we double it again next year, we'll have similar numbers to the crowd that came out when we celebrated Sir John A's bicentennial in 2015 -- the year that Ottawa was truly the Kilt Skate Capital of Canada.

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That was the year that we had a substantial budget from the Department of Canadian Heritage and a partnership with Winterlude.  Since then, the Scottish Society of Ottawa has been organizing these kilts skates on our own, with much appreciated sponsorship from the  Scottish Government. We've shown we can double our numbers each year. Let's do it again. Let's double down for Kilt Skate 2019.

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