History of Our Games

Caledonian Games, Hastings Park, Vancouver, circa 1930. Photo courtesy Vancouver Archives.

The Games that take place at Percy Perry Stadium in 2017 is the continuation of a 100+ year tradition that originated with the original Scottish settlers in the Vancouver area. Despite wars and changing demographics, BC has continued to be a hotbed of Scottish piping, drumming, pipe bands and highland dancing, supported by the descendants of those early settlers and the many new arrivals and `Scottish Canadians`who come to the Games to celebrate their heritage. BC continues to produce world class Scottish pipers, dancers and championship pipe bands.

So what makes a highland games different than any other cultural celebration?

Highland Games originated among the Scots' ancestors in the "old country" and became a customary part of their life. Tossing the caber, putting the stone, throwing the hammer and competition in bagpiping and Highland dancing formed the core of the Games, pitting the best musicians, dancers and athletes against each other to determine the best.  A full day of competition, some great music, dancing and maybe a bit of Scottish whisky made for a great day in the highlands.  As economic times changed in Scotland, emigration dispersed the Highland Games idea and brought it to North America where they have flourished throughout Canada and the US.

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.

Today the local Games are run by the BC Highland Games Organizing Committee under the auspices of The United Scottish Cultural Society.

The Games operate from the Scottish Cultural Centre
8886 Hudson Street
Vancouver, BC
Canada, V6P 4N2
Telephone 604.263.9911
Fax 604.263.9510

 

Tossing the Caber, Vancouver, August 11, 1928. Photo courtesy Vancouver Archives.