Great Canadian Kilt Skate

News Release
Canada-wide “Kilt Skate” Goes Ahead,
Adjusts to Pandemic Conditions

OTTAWA, (December 23, 2020) COVID won’t stop Canadians from celebrating Scottish heritage by skating in kilts and tartans this winter. The Seventh Annual Great Canadian Kilt Skate will go ahead with a new twist – a “Home Edition.”

This year, we want kilt skaters to use their home ice advantage,” says Don Cummer, Director National Kilt Skate for the Scottish Society of Ottawa (SSO), which organizes the pan-Canadian event each winter. “The public health protocols may well prevent us from gathering in large numbers as we have in the past, but we can still skate on the backyard rinks, the neighbourhood rinks, and the frozen ponds and streams down the road. Add them all up and this may be the biggest year yet for kilt skating in Canada.”

The kilt skate phenomenon began in 2015, when the SSO helped organize kilt skates in four Canadian cities. This year, nine cities are participating in the Great Canadian Kilt Skate:

Montreal QC

North Glengarry ON

Ottawa ON

Toronto ON

Fergus ON

Winnipeg MB

Saskatoon SK

Lethbridge AB

Calgary AB

Many of these cities had made tentative plans for their annual community events this winter, but recently-announced provincial guidelines have put some of those plans on hold. Instead, they are joining together to encourage kilt skaters everywhere to celebrate as individuals and families within the pandemic protocols.

Our faces may be masked,” says Cummer, “but our knees will be bare. This Covid winter, we’re encouraging kilt skaters to stay safe. Skate at a safe distance. Get out with your family. Follow the rules. Have a good time. Oh, and send pictures to #kiltskate2021.”

Individuals and families are encouraged to post photos and video on social media of their mini-event. In fact, these posts will help their community vie for the title of “Kilt Skate Capital of Canada” awarded each year. By using the hashtag #kiltskate2021 and adding the name of their city, their photos and videos will be added to the tally of participants. Photos and videos can also be emailed to The Scottish Society of Ottawa hopes to compile a video from the submissions.

Year by year, the kilt skate phenomenon has grown across Canada and internationally,” says Cummer. “We’ve always relied upon local organizations to host community events. But the pandemic has made us do things differently. This year, we’re going to see hundreds, perhaps thousands, of individual and family events from one end of the country to the other.”

In Ottawa, the annual Great Canadian Kilt Skate is part of its winter OttScot Festival, which began last month with an online Tutored Whisky Tasting and will continue with the organization’s Hogman-eh! celebration. It’s the largest Scottish-style New Year’s Eve party outside of Scotland, but this year we will be partying online. An announcement from the SSO on revised plans for Hogman-eh! will be released soon. The OttScot Festival concludes with an online Gala Burns Supper and Ceilidh on January 23. The OttScot Festival events have been reconfigured so they can take place during the public health lockdowns – the Home Edition of the kilt skate is one example.

In supporting the Canadian kilt skates across Canada this year, the Scottish Society of Ottawa has once again partnered with the Scottish Government, which uses the events to promote its #ScotlandIsNow campaign that highlights Scotland as a dynamic, forward-looking nation that is a good place in which to live, work, study, and invest.

The latest information on the kilt skates can be found at and at the website of the Scottish Society of Ottawa.

Sue MacGregor
National Kilt Skate

Don Cummer
Director National Kilt Skate