Before Kilt Skates became "a thing," it was what we did on January 25.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Some guests brought for the pot luck products they carried back from Scotland. And, yes, that's haggis on the plate.

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Those of us who decided to go skating braved the elements.

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In spite of the blizzard, some of us wore kilts anyway.

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Meanwhile, the Scottish Society of Ottawa was looking for a project to celebrate the upcoming bicentennial of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

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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. 

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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.

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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!

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