They call it “Scottish Month” — that period between December 31 and January 31 when all Canada seems to be Scottish, and all Canadians nurture their inner Scot.
In the nation’s capital, Scottish Month is about to get even bigger with the traditional Rabbie Burns dinner expanding to become a full fledged charity gala, with a ceilidh added for good measure. Mark your calendars for January 19, 2019.
For Scots around the world, Rabbie Burns birthday on January 25 has long been the highlight of the year. In Ottawa, it has been one part of a triad of events organized by the Scottish Society of Ottawa. For the fifth year, New Year’s Eve will bring thousands of revelers out to the annual “Hogman-eh!” celebrations.
A few weeks later, everyone is encouraged to celebrate Scotland’s contribution to Canada’s multicultural mosaic through the Great Canadian Kilt Skate. By last winter, the event had expanded to include seven cities across Canada.
And of course, there’s the Burns Dinner. For several years, the SSO’s Rabbie Burns dinner was organized by member Brian Lyall and held at the Heart and Crown Pub in the Byward Market.
Last year, SSO joined the patrons for a Burns dinner at the Highlander Pub.
The SSO is pulling out all the stops for its Burns gala and ceilidh. Rather than a local pub, the event will be held at the Trillium Ballroom of the Shaw Centre.
The dinner will feature four courses, including the haggis, which will be duly addressed. The Immortal Memory will be toasted by John Ivison. Not only is John one of Canada’s most respected journalist, he was one of the founding members of the Scottish Society of Ottawa and served for several years as its inaugural Executive Director. He’s also a keen enthusiast of the Great Canadian Kilt Skate!
The ceilidh portion of the even will feature The Brigadoons, who are sure to get the crowd up on the dance floor. To see how Scottish country dance can be done by folks who know what they’re doing, we’ll be treated to performances by The Royal Scottish Dance Society, Ottawa Branch, and the Ardbrae Country Dance Society of Ottawa. The music portion of the evening will be rounded off with Cape Breton Fiddlers and the Cameron Highlanders Pipes and Drums.
Tickets are limited. Only 300 will be sold and they’re expected to sell out fast. They’re available at the Scottish Society of Ottawa’s website. The price is $150 for SSO members and the general public, $135 for VIP members of the Scottish Society of Ottawa.
Membership to the SSO is free to everyone, and gives access to the electronic newsletter that gives information about events in the area of interest to the Scottish community and to Scots at heart. For $20 (individuals) or $30 (family), a VIP membership can be purchased, which gives a 10% discount on SSO events. Even before the other upcoming events, the Burns gala alone nearly pays for the VIP membership.