The 2013 Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival, happening May 11-19, marks 150 years of this annual gathering in Victoria, British Columbia. For newcomers and longtime festival-goers alike, this sesquicentennial celebration is the perfect time to experience Scottish culture in BC.
Traditional Scottish games, pipe bands, falconry, sword fighting demonstrations, sheep dog herding, cultural & heritage presentations, musical performances, Scottish & Celtic vendors (food & goods) two beer gardens, and a single malt Scotch whisky tasting school combine to create an unforgettable weekend. His Royal Highness – Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, will be Chief of the Games and make public appearances both Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19.
Attendance is expected to be high for this milestone event, so it is recommended that you book your Greater Victoria, BC lodging at a member B&B inn to make the most of your stay.
Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival Event Highlights
May 11: Tartan Parade
Up to 10 Scottish pipe bands will lead highland dancers, heavy event athletes, a parade float, and members of a variety of local Scottish organizations and associations from Centennial Square to the Legislature Lawns for band performances, dances and a caber toss.
May 12: Kilted Golf Tournament
Kilts are encouraged for this 4 person scramble-format golf tournament at scenic Olympic View Golf Club. Nine holes of golf, a power cart, practice balls, dinner, prizes and one entry for the 150th Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival are included with registration in this event.
May 15: Tilted Kilt Pub Crawl
Victoria is known the world over for its many fine pubs. Join in a “pub crawl” to sample the wide array of delicious drinks and cuisine offered by the pubs around town.
May 16: Spirit of the West Concert at Sugar Nightclub
Since 1983, Victoria’s Spirit of the West has been a mainstay of Celtic-flavored folk, rock and roots music. Over the course of 13 albums, Spirit of the West has garnered international acclaim and their live performances are not to be missed. The concert will open with a performance by the Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band.
May 17: Clan Torchlight Ceremony
Participating clans (20 registered in 2012) will gather at the Legislature to officially recognize their participation in the games and festival on Saturday and Sunday, receive a lit torch, and form a Scottish Saltire (the national flag of Scotland). A performance by the Games duty pipe band will follow.
May 18 & 19: Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival
The Highland Games & Celtic Festival will take place at Topaz Park. The traditional Heavy Events, performed by both professional and amateur athletes, have their roots in games established by King Malcolm III of Scotland. These games helped the king select bodyguards from among the strongest men in Scotland. Implements of these games come from that time in history. The Heavy Events include:
Putting the Stone: This forefather of the shot put involves “throw pushing” a 20 or 28 pound stone, either standing or with the option of an approach.
Throwing the Hammer: Competitors in this event “wind up” the hammer by spinning it multiple times over their heads before releasing it.
Tossing the Caber: This iconic event, where a tapered section of a tree is tossed, is not about distance but rather about the minute-of-angle accuracy of the caber’s fall.
Weight for Height: Athletes in this event attempt to throw a 56 pound weight, one-handed, over an overhead crossbar.
Weight for Distance: The competitors use a spinning technique (and only one hand) to throw a steel ball-and-chain.
More information, including tickets, may be found on the Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival website.
Choose Greater Victoria Lodging as Unique as Scottish Culture
Our Greater Victoria bed and breakfast inns offer tailored lodging and personalized hospitality to enjoy away from the Victoria Highland Games & Culture Festival and all of the many attractions of the Greater Victoria area of British Columbia.
Savour a memorable breakfast before heading out to the festival. Enjoy the quiet, luxurious setting of your guest room when you return from the games. You’ll take pleasure in the individualized service and the area expertise of the innkeepers at the B&B inns of the Greater Victoria area.
What’s Your Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival Expectation or Experience?
This year’s festival celebrates 150 years of highland games and Scottish culture. Please share your plans for and memories of the Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival.