The Scottish Society of Ottawa began the Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate in Ottawa to commemorate Sir John a. MacDonald’s 200th birthday in 2015. Since then it has grown to 7 cities across Canada, including Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Lloydminster, and Calgary.
On January 21, 2017 the first ever Kilt Skate in Toronto and BOY! What a day! The temperature was mild and the sky was overcast but the smiles of skaters in kilts brightened the day! Held at Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of the city, it was the perfect back drop! Surrounded by a city so diverse even the architecture was a combination of old, with Old City Hall to the east, MacKenzie House to the west, and new, with City Hall to the north and the modern glass office buildings to the south.
The skirl of the bagpipes, played by Steve Turner, called everyone to gather for opening ceremonies. A welcome from Sons of Scotland, a message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, read by Science Minister Kirsty Duncan as well as a few warm words of her own. We heard from Chris Maskell representative from the Government of Scotland who gave a quick history of Kilt skates in Canada and promoted Visit Scotland. Finally we heard from of Scottish Society of Ottawa who got the skate off and running (or skating) to the sound of Flower of Scotland from the pipes.