A WALK AROUND PERCY PERRY STADIUM
Who's the strongest? Who can flip a caber to land at 12 o'clock? Who is the best dancer, piper or drummer? What better reasons to hold a festival than to pit the best against each other. That's what a Highland Games is.
But it's also much more. Along with all the caber tossing, highland dancing and bagpipe competitions, a whole festival is taking place throughout the field. Percy Perry Stadium is flat and easy to navigate, if you don't get hit by a bludger. Among a lot of other activities, a Quidditch demonstration match takes place on center field. The game of brooms is surrounded by Celtic merchants for just about anything you might want, Scottish clan societies where you can learn about your ancestry, a whisky school with four classes throughout the day, cultural talks on kilt making, the heavy athletic events or sit back and learn about Robert Burns. Looking for food? There's plenty of everything, including Scottish delicacies, like haggis and Irn Bru. Let the kids enjoy the children's rides and activities including an introduction to "caber tossing"....or they could just get their faces painted.
For the 19 and older crowd, there's a huge beer garden with Port Moody's Brewer's Row breweries (Yellow Dog, Moody, Twin Sails & Parkside) and live Celtic entertainment all day long, including a special "Gaelic Only" table.
Watch some of the best highland dancers in the region compete on the dance stage at the south end of the field. Check out the
souvenir program for details of the fascinating dances and steps involved in this athletic but creative sport.
Pipe band competitions take place in the afternoon, following the morning solo competitions. There are five levels of bands, with Grade 1 the highest. Simon Fraser University, a six-time world Grade 1 pipe band champion, will compete in front of the grandstands along with Grade 2 bands starting at 3:45.
Opening ceremonies, salutes, a grand finale, main stage entertainment and a Scottish/Bhangra collaboration that will blow your socks off. It's all at the BC Highland Games. Hop on a Skytrain and get off at the Lafarge Lake Station on the Millennium Line's new Evergreen extension. It's a five minute walk to the stadium, or hop the shuttle bus.
A History of Highland Games in Canada
A Highland Society was first organized in Ontario in 1819 but lapsed after “many successful gatherings.” More permanent games were established in 1838 by the Caledonian Club of PEI. Similar games followed in Lancaster, Toronto, Cape Breton, Montréal and Zorra, and by Confederation in Halifax, Antigonish, Chatham, Ottawa and Vancouver. Our Games have been around in one form or another since the 19th century. The Caledonia Games and the Vancouver Highland Games are two of the names we have used in the past.
Today the local Games are run by the BC Highland Games Committee under the auspices of The United Scottish Cultural Society.
Pipes, Drums, & Bands
A pipe band is a musical ensemble consisting of pipers and drummers.
The most common form of pipe band, the Scottish pipe band, consists of a section of pipers, a section of side drummers known as a drum corps, several tenor drummers and a single bass drummer. The tenor drummers and bass drummer are often referred to collectively as the midsection.
Standard instrumentation for a pipe band is from 6 to 25 pipers, 3 to 10 side drummers, 1 to 4 tenor drummers and 1 bass drummer. Occasionally this instrumentation is augmented to include additional instruments (such as additional percussion instruments or keyboard instruments), however this is typically done only in concert settings.
Highland dance or Highland dancing is a style of competitive solo dancing developed in the Scottish Highlands in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the context of competitions at public events such as the Highland games, where it is often performed to the accompaniment of Highland bagpipe music. It is now seen at nearly every modern-day Highland games event.
Highland dancers wear specialized shoes called ghillies.
Highland dance has been subject to many influences from outside the Highlands. For example, it has been heavily influenced by the aesthetics of the patrons of Scotland since the nineteenth century.
Highland dance should not be confused with Scottish country dance. Highland dance is its own sport, with millions of dancers competing across the planet.
In their original form many centuries ago, Highland games revolved around athletic and sports competitions. Through these competitions the king would select the finest athletes to be his personal guard and entourage. The games were also a way for the clans to demonstrate their relative strength to each other with actually having to go too war. Some of the implements used in the games were created as alternatives to traditional weapons when England forbid any Scotsman from bearing arms.
Though other activities were always a part of the festivities, many today still consider Highland athletics to be what the games are all about—in short, that the athletics are the Games, and all the other activities are just entertainment.
Regardless, it remains true today that the athletic competitions are at least an integral part of the events and one—the caber toss—has come to almost symbolize the Highland games. Although quite a range of events can be a part of the Highland athletics competition, a few have become standard.
The Highland Village is the cultural centre of the BC Highland Games, where you can meet new and old friends, and enjoy the camaraderie of the Games and maybe even a wee dram.
The Highland Village is a cluster of tents at the south east end of the field, home to the Workshop Tent, Cultural Tent and Whisky School as well as a number of events over the day and a half of the BC Highland Games.
Tartan has without doubt become one of the most important symbols of Scotland and Scottish Heritage and with the Scots National identity probably greater than at any time in recent centuries, the potency of Tartan as a symbol cannot be understated. However, it has also created a great deal of romantic fabrication, controversy and speculation into its origins, name, history and usage as a Clan or Family form of identification.
Tartan is a woven material, generally of wool, having stripes of different colours and varying in breadth. The arrangement of colours is alike in warp and weft - that is, in length and width - and when woven, has the appearance of being a number of squares intersected by stripes which cross each other; this is called a 'sett’.
The BC tartan was designed by Earl K Ward of Victoria in 1967 as part of the 1966-67 centennial celebrations marking the creation of the province as one colony. The tartan was recorded in the Lyon Court Books (LCB 18) on 8th January 1969. It was officially adopted as the provincial tartan in 1974 through the British Columbia Tartan Act.
The Pacific Dogwood is the official flower of the province and is represented by white in the tartan. Green is for the BC forests. Blue is for the Pacific Ocean, red is for Canada’s national emblem of the maple leaf and gold is for the sun and the crown in the provincial flag.
In BC, the White Spot Pipe Band and Highland Dancers proudly wear the BC Tartan as its official band kilt.
Information for the “British Columbia” tartan is held within The Scottish Register of Tartans.