Keeping Tradition in Ontario’s Celtic Heartland


For seventy-two years, thousands have been trekking to the small Canadian farming community of Maxville, Ontario, for the annual Glengarry Highland Games. Held in one of the most beautiful settings for any event, the Games offer excellent vantage points to view the impressive Friday night Tattoo, Saturday’s Official Ceremonies and the not-to-be-missed Massed Bands performances. This August 2nd and 3rd, the Games will once again welcome their fans, old and new for another exciting celebration of all things Scottish.

Throughout the grounds, shady, restful spots can be found to watch a Grade One pipe band warm up for their competition or to cheer on junior heavyweights in their first attempt at the caber toss. Indoors, endless Celtic entertainment provides dancing and listening enjoyment. More than 200 Highland dancers compete in the Arena during the two days. One hundred up-and-coming young fiddlers perform on Friday in the air-conditioned dining hall, while the Metcalfe Centre is the hub for comfortable listening to a wide array of Celtic music. For those who are more energetic, the tents resound with music and laughter as friends congregate to dance to the tunes of Glengarry’s finest bands.

On the infield, intense competitions keep the audiences cheering as the heavyweight athletes strive to set new Canadian and World records. In another area, the Canadian Highland Regiments struggle to win the Challenge Cup in the increasingly popular Tug of War. Around the infield, pipe bands practice and compete while in another area, the 78th Fraser Highlanders delight the crowds with their 18th-century musket drill.

Each year, the Games welcome a celebrated Canadian hero to be the Guest of Honour. This year the Games are proud to announce that Glengarry’s very own Brigadoons will officially open the Games. This popular celtic group had its beginnings in Glengarry in 1960 and since then has thrilled fans at Celtic festivals, Highland Games, concerts and cruises across North America and the Caribbean. No Games Tattoo would be official without the Brigadoons starting it off with the famed MacCulloch Dancers.

On the entertainment front, Glengarry’s renowned Celtic bands will be out in full force throughout the two days: the Brigadoons of course, Stewart’s Glen, Bob and Ducky, Fridge Full of Empties, Hadrian’s Wall, Bang on the Ear and more. Everyone is excited that The Next Generation Leahy will be headlining the Friday night Tattoo to continue their rained-out show of two years ago.

Not to be forgotten are the Whisky Tasting (spaces are filling up fast), the Kilt Run (kilts are mandatory), the Wee Bairns area (fun for the very young set), Thursday night’s formal Tartan Ball (Highland Dress encouraged) and the Harp workshop on Saturday (bring your own harp).

Then, there’s the Fiddling Workshops on Saturday, the Clan Exhibits and the Clan Parade (join your clan for a walk in front of the cheering infield) and so much more.

A new event this year offers workshops and competitions in the ancient art of Highland Fencing. Workshops in Single Stick and Broadsword Fencing will be held Thursday, August 1st with the Competitions taking place all day Friday, August 2nd.

See you at the Games! See for yourself why over a million people have been part of the Games history. Ceud Mìle Faìlte! A hundred thousand welcomes! Happy Highland Games.