Kilt skate returns to Lansdowne Park

Kilt Skate 2017 Ottawa smile
Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate brings out the smiles. Join in the fun on January 20 at the Lansdowne skating rink. Photo: Courtesy of Don Cummer

by Don Cummer

Mark your calendars. Don your tartans. Strap on your skates. The Fourth Annual Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate returns Saturday, January 20 to the Lansdowne Park Skating Court.

In past years, the rink behind Aberdeen Pavilion was used as a backup whenever unseasonably warm weather closed the Rideau Canal Skateway. Last year, the kilt skate at Lansdowne proved so successful that the Scottish Society of Ottawa (SSO) decided to bring it back to a location where they could be sure of good ice.

“There are so many great skating options in Ottawa,” says Carol MacPherson, who is planning the kilt skate on behalf of SSO. “This year, we looked at the possibility of holding the kilt skate on the Canada 150 Rink on Parliament Hill, for example. But in the end, returning to Lansdowne Park was the best solution.”

Lansdowne is a familiar venue for SSO. On New Year’s Eve, for example, they hosted the sixth annual Hogman-eh! Festival that attracted thousands of celebrants from the surrounding neighbourhoods and across the city. The kilt skate is one in a series of events marking “Scottish Month” in Ottawa that includes Hogman-eh! and the annual Robbie Burns dinner. For more information on SSO events, check

The SSO helps Scottish societies across Canada prepare kilt skates to celebrate Scotland’s contribution to our multicultural heritage. What began years ago as a birthday party in a Riverdale Avenue home in Ottawa has expanded to Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Lloydminster and Calgary. The list of “kilt skate cities” continues to grow and each vies for bragging rights as “Kilt Skate Capital of Canada.”

You don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy the kilt skate. You don’t even have to wear a kilt. This is an opportunity for everyone to bring out their inner Celt and make the best of winter in a way that is undeniably Scottish but uniquely Canadian. Come to the Lansdowne rink wearing Canada’s favourite colour – tartan!

“We’re very excited about holding this event in Ottawa and celebrating ties between Canada and Scotland,” says MacPherson. “This year we’re helping Scotland celebrate its Year of Young People, so count on an event that is fun for the whole family.”

The fun includes free birthday cake and hot chocolate – the birthday cake is for Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, who was born in January 1815.

Opening ceremonies begin at 11:15 a.m. After the skate, join your fellow skaters at Milestones in Lansdowne for an afterparty or take the kids to see the Ottawa 67s play the Hamilton Bulldogs at TD Place.

For the most up-to-date information on Ottawa’s kilt skate and the others being held across Canada, go to Or follow #kiltskate2018.

Don Cummer is an author and long-time resident of the Glebe and Old Ottawa South and one of the organizers of the annual Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate.

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