Report to the Scottish Society of Ottawa Annual General Meeting

Event Summary


The national event was the most successful yet in the four years of Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate. With $15,000 in funding from the Scottish Government, sponsored events were held in seven cities (two more than last year), and the attendance numbers in most of the cities increased significantly from the previous year.

Kilt skates were held in:

·         Montreal (January 20),

·         Ottawa (January 20),

·         Toronto (January 27),

·         Saskatoon (January 27),

·         Alexandria (February 3),

·         Calgary (February 11), and

·         Winnipeg (February 11). 

Winnipeg returned as a kilt skate city after an absence of two years, and Alexandria hosted its first kilt skate. Toronto, which had only 15-or-so tartaned/kilted skaters in 2017, saw nearly 200 people show up at Nathan Phillips Square in tartans and/or kilts.  For further details on each event, see the blog reports in (hyperlinked above).

The events garnered media attention at the local, national and international level (with stories carried in The Scottish Banner and The Scotsman.)  The kilts skates have been highlighted by our sponsor, the Scottish Government (SG), as an excellent example of the kind of initiative that it wants to support to promote a vibrant, forward-looking, exciting Scotland.

Executive Summary

Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate gives us national and international exposure, and a direct link to activities taking place in Scotland and across Canada.

In 2017, changes were implemented in the organization of the Sir John A’s Canadian Kilt Skate, with SSO members Don Cummer and Sue MacGregor assuming independent responsibilities for the national event. The Scottish Society of Ottawa oversaw the finances as well as managed the banking for the sponsorship funds, for which it received a stipend of $750. The SSO organized the kilt skate in Ottawa (see report from Carol MacPherson). The SSO logo was given equal prominence with SG on promotional materials for the national event and the individual events of kilt skate partners.

Don and Sue’s responsibilities included:

·         Outreach and liaison with partner cities and potential partner cities;

•          Development of Memorandum of Understanding for each partner city that received Kilt Skate funding;

•          Retrieval for SSO any unused funds from partner cities and facilitating the return of these to the sponsor, when required.

•          Work with SSO to apply for funding from the Scottish Government (SG) and solicit potential funding from other sponsors;

•          Liaison with SG;

•          Advice to partner cities on how to run a successful kilt skate;

•          Design and production of Communications materials for the national skate and for partner cities (“event in a box”);

•          Maintaining the overall brand of Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate;

•          Maintaining the communications objectives of sponsors (eg. SG’s “Year of Young People.”)

•          Maintenance of the website to promote the national skate and kilt skates in partner cities;

•          Media appearances when requested;

•          Speaking at partner events when requested and if possible;

•          Keeping track of how partner cities are using funds from sponsors;

•          Advice to SSO when funds should be returned;

•          Reporting to SSO when requested on the status of Event funding;

•          Reporting to SSO at their convenience on the overall status of Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate;

•          Preparing final report on the 2018 national event.

Kilt skate partners were divided into three different categories:

·         Tier A, which received $2000 in funding and which were expected to hold opening ceremonies including speakers from the Government of Scotland and SSO – Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Calgary (Don spoke on behalf of the SG in Calgary);

·         Tier B, which received $500, which was enough for promotion and to buy birthday cake, hot chocolate, etc. – Alexandria, Winnipeg, Saskatoon;

·         Tier C, which received no funding, but received support through the national organization and – this year, to our knowledge, there were no Tier C cities.

In December 2016, Don launched his website  This has proven to be an important communications tool for the national event as well as the various local events.  Traffic on the website has been growing rapidly.  In January 2018, the website had 5,106 unique visitors (up from 1,797 in 2017 and 1,491 in 2016).  The website is hyperlinked with 

From November through to the end of February, Don wrote 29 blogs for the website – on both kilt skate and SSO issues.  The website promotes a rivalry among the partner cities to be crowned “Kilt Skate Capital of Canada.”  The winner will be announced in the Fall as we gear up for another kilt skate season in 2019. As “Skater-in-Chief,” he was able to attend five of the seven kilt skates. 

The budget from the SG included compensation to Don and Sue for their work, and paid administrative costs. An SSO member was compensated fr work on design of promotional materials.


The idea of a kilt skate to celebrate Canadian winter, Scottish heritage, and Sir John A. continues to grow.  Each of the seven partner cities has expressed an interest in running a kilt skate again next year, and the national organizers will continue to encourage other cities to organize kilt skates.

In their efforts to promote kilt skates, Don and Sue have opened up many new contacts for SSO with organizations across Canada and North America, including the Clans and Scottish Societies Association of Canada (CASSOC) and the Scottish North American Leadership Conference (SNALC).  Not only does this help promote the kilt skates themselves, it connects SSO to a larger community of Scottish organizations.


1.      Renew the relationship between the Scottish Government and the SSO;

2.      Develop an MOU for national kilt skate organizers for 2019;

3.      Host Ottawa’s fifth annual kilt skate in January 2019;

4.      Consider rebranding the National and Ottawa event as “The Great Canadian Kilt Skate”;

5.      Seek local sponsorship to ensure sustainability of the Ottawa kilt skate; and other city Kilt skates;

6.      Include kilt skate as part of fundraising activities when soliciting sponsors for Hogmanay and other events;

7.      Deepen the partnerships Don and Sue have established and developed with other organizations by joining CASSOC and attending SNALC.

Submitted by Don Cummer and Sue MacGregor, April 26, 2018