The 150th Annual Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival will feature a full 9 days of celebrations from May 11-19, 2013 throughout Greater Victoria including the Tartan Parade, Kilted Golf Tournament, Tilted Kilt Pub Crawl, Torchlight Ceremony and, of course the 2-day Highland Games and Celtic Festival. Check back soon as we will have a major announcement for an exciting new event during our 9 day festival!
In 1938, the newly formed Victoria Highland Games Association sponsored its first Scottish gathering at MacDonald Park. On that 1938 day, over 2000 spectators and competitors saw the Honourable T.D. Pattullo, Premier of British Columbia, perform the official opening with the Honourable James A. Farley, Postmaster-General of the United States of America. During the war years of 1939 to 1945, the young Victoria Highland Games Association continued its annual highland gatherings with proceeds donated to the Scottish war effort. As the Games became established, they took on a multi-cultural flavour. In the 19th Games, a Yugoslavian-born Vancouver athlete, John Pavelich, excelled.
“MacPavelich” was the top man with the greatest number of aggregate points in all events. He threw the shotput a Canadian record distance of 52 feet, one inch. In those same Games, Betty Chan, a pretty young Saskatoon lass, captured the dancing aggregate for under 11, and today, one only needs to scan the list of competitors to see that interest in highland games is not limited to those of Scottish lineage.
There are no national or racial boundaries for the skill and agility required to compete in highland events nor in the enjoyment derived by competitors and spectators alike. The association has promoted the highest standards in highland dancing, piping, drumming, athletics and Scottish culture over its 70+ year history. The association has also given Victorians and visitors the opportunity to enjoy a time each year that is set apart from the work-a-day world – a taste of Scotland – a time to renew old acquaintances and extend a welcoming hand to new friends. The Games have been held at various venues around Victoria in the last several decades, and moved to Victoria’s Topaz Park in 2008 for a 2-day Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival. Besides the traditional Games events, over the May long weekend spectators will view a sheepdog herding competition, kilted mile athletics, tug of war competition and a variety of Scottish and Celtic dance and music entertainment.
The future looks very bright for the association as it continues to enhance the Highland Games & Celtic Festival and achieve its mandate to promote Scottish culture, art and sport through other events during the year such as the Victoria Tartan Parade, Tilted Kilt Pub Crawl, Kilted Golf Tournament, various competitions and educational and promotional activities. In 2010, the VHGA hosted the World Heavy Events Championship and in 2012 will host the Canadian Heavy Events Championships.