Scottish pride on full display for Great Canadian Kilt Skate

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Scottish pride was on full display Sunday for the Great Canadian Kilt Skate on the duck pond at Assiniboine Park.

The Scottish Society of Ottawa began the event in 2015 with Winnipeg hopping on board immediately and claiming the Kilt Skate capital title in 2021. It has since spread across the country, into the United States and also to Scotland, Ireland and Australia, local organizer Evelyn Mitchell said.

“It’s celebrating Scottish culture and heritage, and y’know what, just showing how tough of stock they are where they can skate in bare knees and away you go,” the past-president of the St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg said.

“We’re usually known for the coldest kilt skate, but not this year. This is nice.”

Participants including the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada were piped onto the ice with temperatures of about -10 C and climbing, with enough wind to make a difference. Last year at The Forks, it was too cold for a piper as temps dipped to -43 C with the windchill.

That would seemingly put to bed the question of whether kilts were worn in the ‘traditional’ or ‘regimental’ fashion.

“There’s nine yards of heavy wool in those kilts. They don’t blow up too high so you never know what’s under them,” Mitchell said.

People weren’t required to attend to take part in the friendly competition. You can post a photo or video of your winter fun to #KiltSkate2023WPG. If you’re interested in taking part in the event next year, you don’t have to wear plaid or even a tartan, Mitchell said. Or skate.

“And we won’t even make you eat haggis.”

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