Glengarry Highland Games

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File:Tossing the caber.jpg
Tossing the caber
Massed pipebands
File:28 lb weight for distance.jpg
Heavyweight competitor in 56 lb weight for distance event

The Glengarry Highland Games consist of a series of traditional Scottish competitions held annually in Maxville, Ontario, Canada, usually held the first weekend in August. The games span three days and attract as many as 50,000 people, they are the largest Highland Games of its kind outside Scotland. The Glengarry Highland Games are primarily intended to be a showcase of traditional Scottish heavy events, Highland Dance, pipe and drum competitions.

Heavy events

The caber toss event involves tossing a 22-foot-long spruce log weighing about 125 lbs. The stone thrower event involves hurling a 25-lb. rock shot-put style. The 28-lb. and 56-lb. weight throw events involves using a one-handed throw to heave an iron block with iron ring attached. For the 16-lb. hammer throw, competitors propel a round metal ball with a wooden handle. The 56-lb. weight toss event involves competitors launching the weight over a pole vault.[1]


The Highland Dance are performed as ceremonial dances mainly by young female dance competitors. Historically, however, Highland dances, such as the Sword dance were performed by men over the body of a slain opponent as celebrations of victorious battles.[2]

Pipe and Drum

During pipe and drum competitions, solo pipers and drummers compete in individual events for strathspey and reel, march, piorbaireachd and drumming march. Judges evaluate the synchronicity of band members and the uniformity of pitch. During the Massed Bands, over 50 pipe and drum bands play together as a single entity.[3]


The Glengarry Games were first staged in 1948, and are home to the North American Pipe Band championships. Although primarily intended to be a showcase of traditional Scottish events such as the caber toss, the games also serve as an annual gathering of area residents as well as the various clan societies across Canada and the United States.

On Saturday 31 July 2004, the MacCulloch School of Dance set a Guinness World Record for the 'Largest Massed Performance of Highland and Step Dance'. 505 dancers and two musicians performed for 5 minutes and 13 seconds in a display of Celtic dance.[4]


In honour of the 50th anniversary of the Glengarry Highland Games held annually at Maxville, Ontario, Canada Post issued 'Highland Games' on 1 August 1997. The commemorative stamp was designed by Fraser Ross, based on photographs by Andrew Balfour. The 45¢ stamps are perforated 12.5 x 13 and were printed by Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.[5]

See also


External links