Scottish Government sponsors Kilt Skate in Ottawa
Posted on Jan 12, 2018 by Brad McCabe

On Saturday, January 20, at the Lansdowne Park Skating Court beside the Aberdeen Pavilion, the people of Ottawa will take to the ice in their kilts, tartans and other Scottish regalia to win the title of “Kilt Skate Capital of Canada.”

The annual Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate is an Ottawa phenomenon that began as a modest house party. It went national a few years ago when cities across the country began hosting events to celebrate the birthday of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, who was born on January 11, 1815. This year, six different communities – Montreal, Toronto, Saskatoon, Calgary and Alexandria as well as Ottawa – will vie for the bragging rights as kilt skate capital.

“You don’t have to wear a kilt to be part of the kilt skate,” says Ottawa’s Don Cummer, who helps organize the national event. “You don’t even have to be Scottish. A kilt skate is an opportunity to celebrate the inner-Scot that lives in many of us. After all, tartan is Canada’s favourite colour!”

The Ottawa kilt skate is returning to the Lansdowne Park venue for the third straight year. “There are so many great skating options in Ottawa,” says Carol MacPherson who is planning the kilt skate on behalf of Scottish Society of Ottawa. “This year, we looked at the possibility of holding the kilt skate on the Canada150 Rink on Parliament Hill, for example. And, of course, people from around the world come to enjoy the Rideau Canal Skateway – where we held the kilt skate in 2015. But in the end, returning to Lansdowne Park was the best solution.”

One reason Lansdowne makes a perfect venue this year is the January 20 date for the Ottawa event also corresponds with the 2018 Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada. Hockey fans are encouraged to join in the kilt skate, then take a short walk to TD Place to watch the Ottawa 67s play the Hamilton Bulldogs.

The kilt skate takes place at the Lansdowne Park Skating Court between 11:00 a.m. and 1 p.m, with opening ceremonies at 11:15. The puck drops for the 67s game at 2 p.m. Admission to the kilt skate is free and there is free birthday cake and hot chocolate for everyone. Those wanting to attend the hockey game can take advantage of a price discount. Use the link and enter KILTSKATE. (Tickets for the hockey game are $19.00 for adults; $15.00 for kids.) Those not planning to attend the hockey game are invited to an after skate party at Milestones in Lansdowne.

At the kilt skate, the free birthday cake and hot chocolate is available to the public through the sponsorship of the Scottish Government. “This year, we will be putting a strong emphasis on Scotland’s theme of The Year of Young People,” says MacPherson. “This is going to be fun for the whole family.”

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