The Montreal Highland Games 2023: Quebec’s Oldest Games

By: Marilyn Meikle, Communications Coordinator, Montreal Highland Games

“Dare to be honest and fear no labour.” – Robbie Burns

Scotland’s famous poet sums up the history of the Montreal Highland Games. While not the biggest games in Canada, they began with the hard work of a group of Scots when the Caledonian Games were established in Montreal in 1855. Over the past 168 years, there have been various incarnations of the Games, hundreds of volunteers, thousands of hours of hard labour, and dedication to maintaining some iteration of Scottish competitions. Men and women daring to invest their time and money to preserve Scottish culture in Montreal. How fortunate the city is that they did. Today’s Montreal Highland Games are a tribute to that hard work.

Young Highland dancer concentrating on his steps.

“We couldn’t hold the Games without the dedication of our committee, our volunteers, and our partners. We are grateful to have CN Canada along with the St. Andrew’s Society as co-presenting sponsors”, Scott Mackenzie, President of the Games, says.

Canadian Scottish Athletic Federation’s Men and Women’s National Championships

The caber used at the Games is painted with the flag of Montreal.

This year, the Games are thrilled to host the Canadian Scottish Athletic Federation’s Men and Women’s National Championships. These competitors from across Canada clearly demonstrate they have no fear of hard labour. They are disciplined athletes who work to maintain their strength and strive to improve each caber toss or stone put. Lorne Colthart, ON and Susie Lajoie, NS will be defending their 2022 titles. Hard work and commitment are seen throughout many events and attractions at the Games; from the families who participate in the 5km Caledonian Run that kicks off the day; to the competitive Highland dancers who range from primary to premier; pipe bands who compete under the judge’s trained ear; to musicians who gather in the Fiddlers Tent along the Celtic Mile, and Mariner’s Curse and The Hellions who will be performing at their best in the Ceilidh Tent. Everyone involved in the day dares to be their best whether they are a volunteer in the Children’s Village, or a member of the clean-up crew. Honesty and hard work are integral to making the Games a success.

The result of the energy put into the Games is a family-friendly event for all Montrealers to experience Scottish culture and enjoy a fun-filled day. There is no labour involved to attend the Games! Hop on the free shuttle bus from the Angrignon métro station and join in the celebration at the Douglas Hospital Grounds, Verdun on Sunday, August 6. Tickets can be purchased on the website.

The Montreal Highland Games takes place on Sunday August 6, for more information see: Or keep up to date on Facebook: @montrealhighlandgamesor Instagram: @mtlhighlandgames.

All images courtesy of Peter Matulina.

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