Can Tartan Ted make it from British Columbia to Ontario in time for Fergus Highland Games this August ?
In November #TartanTedUSA left California and began a journey across America, heading for New York to celebrate New York City Tartan Week. Ted completed his journey by visiting as many States, Scottish Societies, Caledonian Clubs, Pipe Bands & American-Scots along the way as possible. Following Ted's successful journey across the USA , it's time for a new adventure, this time across the Great White North.
Ted's first stop was the Victoria Tartan Parade that took place on Saturday. The parade started at 11am from Centennial Square and runs annually to promote Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival which will be held this weekend.
Joan, secretary of the Clan MacAulay Association got in touch with us whilst Ted was travelling the USA to ask if Ted would be visiting Canada in the future, and so we continued our conversations with Joan and came up with a plan for Ted's Canadian Adventure. Joan met Ted in Victoria and is going to pass Ted around members of the MacAulay clan in Canada, Ted will continue to meet as many other Scottish Societies, Caledonian Clubs, Pipe Bands & Canadian-Scots as possible before re-uniting with both Joan and the Tartan Team when we all head to Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games this August.
We've already had our first update from Ted...
"I arrived safely in Victoria, British Columbia on Friday and the kind people at the Best Western Carlton Plaza kept me well fed and warm until my host Joan arrived Saturday morning.
My first full day in Victoria was a busy one! I was very warmly welcomed and met loads of people before the start of the Victoria Highland Games Tartan Parade. I even got to hang out with some wee Scottie dogs. They were very friendly.
Did you know that this will be the 156th annual Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival? This is one of the oldest festivals in North America and one of the very few 3 full-day Highland Games. The festival regularly attracts around 25,000 people to the Topaz Park events each year. Events run for 10 days, starting with the Tartan Parade. Events end on Victoria Day, a day that Canadians mark as (hopefully) the beginning of summer and to honour Queen Victoria’s birthday. Here in Victoria they have a huge parade. Interestingly, Victoria Day is only celebrated in Canada and Scotland.
Leading the parade from Centennial Park down Government Street were the massed bands, some of the VHG heavy games competitors carrying the caber and, of course, the Clans. There were so many people smiling, waving, taking pictures and video and following us to the British Columbia legislature buildings (they’re spectacular!).
VHG Vice-President Randy Stewart welcomed everyone and the clans and I were on the steps in front of the leg (as the Canadians call it) looking out over the sizeable crowd. Apparently it’s always a pleasant surprise for the many tourists that visit Victoria to see a parade led by the pipes and drums! There was a highland dance demonstration (the wee ones were adorable!), the massed bands played Amazing Grace (always a crowd favourite) and there was a demonstration of the caber toss (fab throws)!
It’s tradition after the Parade to retire to the Bard and Banker. It’s a well-known and stunningly beautiful pub, so named because it was a bank for 126 years! It’s most famous employee was Robert Service, Canada’s Bard of the Yukon. You may have read The Cremation of Sam McGee, The Shooting of Dan McGrew or Songs of a Sourdough, poems beloved by Canadians and beyond. Anyway, you get it … the Bard and Banker.
The food was great and I had so much fun getting to know my new friends. And it was such beautiful weather that after lunch we retired to a back deck to continue visiting. Canadians are extremely friendly and I was held, hugged and snuggled by Clans folk, heavy games competitors and members of the VHG executive. I even had a wee nap in the arms of VHG President Jim! So kind!
My first full day in Canada was brilliant and I had so much fun. Which means it’s nap time again … still a wee bit jet lagged and I need to be in fine form for the Highland Games this weekend.
Until my next post, yours from beautiful Victoria.
Slàinte mhath, Ted"
Let's get Ted to Ontario for Fergus Scottish Festival 2019! Keep an eye on our #TartanTedCanada map to see all of the Societies, Clubs & Pipe Bands Ted meets as he travels towards Fergus.