Highland Games Celebrate Our Scottish and Celtic Heritage

The Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village (CTMHV) has an ongoing mission to preserve the past of Canada’s South, for the benefit of current and future generations. Certainly a time of celebrating our Scottish and Celtic Heritage in the Kingsville-Essex Highland Games fits the bill.

The Town of Kingsville hosted the Highland Games for almost two decades until 1987. After a lengthy hiatus, the games returned as the Kingsville-Essex Highland Games in 2019, but had to be discontinued during the COVID pandemic for a few years.

In 2023, though, the Board at Jack Miner’s Migratory Bird Sanctuary took over hosting and this year, passed the baton to the CTMHV.

The temperature soared at the CTMHV on Saturday, June 22, but that didn’t stop the faithful from enjoying this special  Scottish experience.

Pipes & Drums:
Windsor-Essex’s own Sun Parlour Pipes & Drums have led the opening ceremonies every year since 2019. And this year they led the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 188 Colour Guard onto the field followed by the Clans & Heritage Participants.

Solo piping and drumming competitions were open to Grades 1 to 5. Kingsville’s Highland Games were the first in Ontario to offer Quartet competitions in 2023 and they did it again this year. Kingsville offered Quartet competitions, and four pipers from a registered pipe band competed together in the grade category of their pipe band.

Sun Parlour Pipes and Drums

Highland Dancing:

When you think of Highland Games chances are you think of Highland Dancing. Starting at 8 a.m. the dance competitions were overseen by the Windsor & District Highland Dancing Association.

Dancers in various age categories dressed in traditional kilts displayed their mastery of the Highland Fling, the Sword Dance, Seann Truibhas (pronounced ‘shawn trewes’), and the reel.

young Highland Dancers

Scottish Athletic Heavy Events:

The Scottish Athletic Heavy Events Competition took place on the Main Field as per the guidelines of the Canadian Scottish Athletic Federation.

Athletes competed in various events including the caber toss along with weights for height and distance.

Athletes participating in Scottish Athletic Heavy Events Competition

Tug of War:

The Tug of War 4 Divisions of Competition took place throughout the day on the main field. The divisions were Male, Female, and High School Male and High School Female. On-field teams had up to eight participants.

Thanks go to Rowley Plumbing, the Celtic Cannollis, and the Essex & Kent Scottish Regiment for braving the heat and performing so impressively.

Tug of War contestants hard at work

Sheep Herding:

Veteran sheep herder Viki Kidd displayed her expertise with her border collies, corralling a herd of sheep into a pen. Viki has been doing this all across Ontario.

Watch as a seasoned sheep herder Viki Kidd works closely with her talented border collies to rally a herd of sheep into one pen. Viki has impressed crowds all across Ontario. She and her border collies ran through their paces at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Viki Kidd and her sheep

Mayors Haggis Hurl:

Mayors of the Windsor-Essex area competed to become Chief Haggis Hurler. The haggis had to be hurled as far and as accurately as possible from  a platform. It’s often a requirement that the haggis must still be edible after it lands. The Kingsville-Essex Highland Games are less strict though and the haggis doesn’t have to be eaten.

Local MP Chris Lewis brought greetings from the Canadian government and MPP Anthony Leardi welcomed all on behalf of the Ontario Government. The 2024  Kingsville-Essex Highland Games is grateful for funding from the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.

Tug of War champs from H Rowley Plumbing

Scottish Tea Room & Art Exhibition

The Scottish Tea Room  was located inside the main Museum building, serving from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parker Ouellette played Cape Breton music in the Scottish Tea Room. He lives in Windsor but has roots in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He is strongly influenced by Eastern Canadian Folk, American Folk and Country Music.

Members of the Arts Society of Kingsville were on hand in the Museum  from 9 a.m. until closing.

Kingsville-Essex Highland Games Founder and Chairman Doug Plumb

A few words from the Founder and Chairman:

Our reporting on the events of the day would not be complete without expressing everyone’s thanks and appreciation to our Founder and Chairman Doug Plumb.

The Kingsville Times was able to have a few words with him after the event.

When asked him about the size of the crowds, Plumb said, “We are still crunching the numbers; however, we are very pleased with the preliminary figures. It was a success.”

And how was the new location working out?

“This is definitely a permanent home,” he said. “The size of the venue is perfect and it offers so much more than what we could ask for. As well, the folks at this new location are a pleasure to deal with. A very forward thinking group of individuals that are already starting to think about 2025.”

Photos provided by Marlene Buis

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