Kilt Skate Goes to the Big Apple

Kilt Skate Goes to the Big Apple

The kilt skate phenomenon has made a quantum leap with the announcement that the event has migrated beyond Canada’s borders. The first annual “Tartan Kilt Skate NYC” will be held in Manhattan’s Bryant Park on Saturday, February 2, 2019.

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Scottish Month plans for a Third Big Event

Scottish Month plans for a Third Big Event

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.

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North Glengarry shows us a different way

North Glengarry shows us a different way

Weather in the Ottawa Valley has not been kind to plans for kilt skates. When they first envisioned a kilt skate for North Glengarry, the Clan Donald Society imagined kilted skaters on the Alexandria Mill Pond.  But the deep freezes and the rapid thaws and occasional rains of the past weeks made a pond skate impractical.  So they decided to do something different.

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Ottawa -- the Volunteers make the event

Ottawa -- the Volunteers make the event

Ottawa had a perfect day for a kilt skate today, and about a hundred skaters and spectators gathered at Lansdowne Park Skating Court to celebrate Scotland's contribution to Canada's multicultural fabric. The pictures of the event will follow when our photographer culls his shots, but in the meantime, here's some snaps of the preparations, showcasing our wonderful team of volunteer -- coordinated by wonderful Isobel Adams.

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Ring in 2018 at Hogman-eh!

Ring in 2018 at Hogman-eh!

For the sixth year in a row, the Scottish Society of Ottawa is throwing the best New Year's party in town -- and the largest Hogmanay celebration outside of Scotland. Thousands are expected at the Aberdeen Pavilion between 5 p.m. and midnight to enjoy the food, dancing, whisky tasting, and live entertainment.  And to warm the Scottish heart on one of the coldest New Year's Eves in memory -- admission is free.

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Cities Vie for the Title: Kilt Skate Capital of Canada

Cities Vie for the Title: Kilt Skate Capital of Canada

For the fourth straight year, skaters across Canada will be taking to outdoor rinks in a unique celebration of Scottish heritage: the annual Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate. What began years ago as a private house party to celebrate a birthday has grown into a friendly, cross-country rivalry for the title of Kilt Skate Capital of Canada.

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Hosting Kilt Skates for 2018

Hosting Kilt Skates for 2018

As a result, the amount of funding from the Scottish Government and other sponsors will depend on the size of the event and the opportunity it provides to showcase the sponsors.  For 2018, there will be three different categories of participation in Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate.

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SNALC! North American leadership

SNALC!  North American leadership

Scots can be a clannish lot, taking care of our own affairs and letting others tend to theirs. But when we do get together to share ideas and compare challenges, the results can be invigorating. The Scottish North American Leadership Conference (SNALC) has been held in Chicago, Detroit, New York and Edinburgh. On August 10-11, 2017, in honour of Canada's 150th birthday, the 16th annual  was held in Canada for the first time at the University of Guelph.

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Glengarry Highland Games

Glengarry Highland Games

But the principle focus of the Glengarry Highland Games is not reenactment but performance:  both in music and in sport. More than 200 dancers attend, but the Glengarry event is especially renowned for its pipers. The Glengarry games are the home of the North American Pipe Band Championship. Pipers and drummers come from as far away as Austin, Texas, and San Diego, California, and as close by as Maxville, assemble on the field for the opening ceremonies. 

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Ottawa: a perfect afternoon at Lansdowne

Ottawa: a perfect afternoon at Lansdowne

Statistically, the bridge between January and February is the coldest week of the year, but when unseasonably warm temperatures closed the Rideau Canal Skateway, the Scottish Society of Ottawa moved Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate to Lansdowne Park Skating Court. If you pipe it, they will come! And we had three pipers -- all on skates.

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Lloydminster's First Annual Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate

Lloydminster's First Annual Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate

With the temperatures in the previous week in the minus-42 range, Kendra Jones McGrath wasn't sure how many people to expect for the Lloydminster's inaugural kilt skate. The great thing about Canadians, though, is we tend to be infinitely adaptable to the vagaries of winter.  After a cold spell of 42 below zero, when the temperatures rise on the weekend to a balmy minus-11, well the weather seems almost tropical.

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Hogman-eh! rings in 2017

Hogman-eh! rings in 2017

The Scottish Society of Ottawa has been throwing a hogmanay party for five straight years now.  For the third year, it was held at the Aberdeen Pavilion in Lansdowne Park. Each time it gets bigger and better.  With this year's "Hogman-eh!" coinciding with big celebrations on Parliament Hill to launch Canada's 150th birthday party, the organizers wondered if the public would come out in big numbers. They soldiered on with the set up at the Aberdeen pavilion. The banners...The stage...And a team led by Jenny Bruce, who is travelling the world displaying "The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry."

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Burns Supper -- what's love got to do with it?

Burns Supper -- what's love got to do with it?

So this weekend, let's feel for all the wee and slicket timorous beasties. Let's ponder how the best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft a-gley. Let's try to see ourselves as others see us. Let's acknowledge that that the finest hours that e'er we spend are spent among the lasses-o. Let's drink a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne. Let's be thankit because we hae meat and we can eat. Let's celebrate the man of independent mind who looks and laughs at a' that. Let's keep our hearts in the highlands, a-chasing the deer. Let's cherish our loves -- the red red roses, newly sprung in June. And let's admit that, had we never lov'd sae kindly, and had we never lov'd sae blindly, and never met—or never parted -- we had ne'er been broken-hearted.

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The Haggi go Hiding

The Haggi go Hiding

This is the weekend where it is dangerous to be a "great chieftan o the puddin' race." Tonight around the world, Scots will honour the great national poet, Robbie Burns. One of the highlights of the evening will be the "Address to a Haggis" in which the knife is plunged into the poor beastie, "Trenching your gushing entrails bright."

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Pictures from Calgary

Pictures from Calgary

It was a bitterly cold Saturday in Alberta, but the Optimist Clubs in Calgary and High River stoked the fire pits at the Olympic Plaza skating rink, and strapped on their skates. A few strapped tartan towels, courtesy of Canadian Tire, around their waists.  But some brave souls were willing to embrace the cold with enthusiasm and joy.  Well done, Calgary!

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First Pix from Ottawa's Kilt Skate, 2016

First Pix from Ottawa's Kilt Skate, 2016

Well, did you ever! What a swell party that was! The officials were on hand, the media was on hand, the skaters were on hand in all their kilted glory.  Oh, and there was free birthday cake and hot chocolate for the kids of all ages.  Here's some early photos of today's kilt skate, courtesy of Homero Martinez who has come here all the way from Mexico City, plus a couple of pix of our own.

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Showtime, Calgary!

Showtime, Calgary!

The Chinook winds have cleared away much of the snow in the Stampede City. But the Arctic front has returned and the forecast calls for a dusting of snow and a wind chill of minus 20 by the time the Optimist Clubs in Calgary and High River launch the 2nd Annual Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate. Once again, the skate will take place at Olympic Plaza between noon and 4 p.m.

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