Cobourg’s 2021 Highland Games has Big Crowd

In Cobourg at least, there are signs that we are “back to normal” – almost.  There were no Highland Games in 2020 and this year’s was moved from the usual June date to Saturday, September 11.  Billed as the “only Highland Games, in all of Canada, with Pipe Band, Individual Piping & Drumming, and Heavy competitions” it felt just like it has been for the last 57 years.  Although there were no highland dance competitions, many dancers were there anyway – doing “demonstrations”.  I heard an announcement that there were 170 pipers and drummers and organizers expected 12 bands.  Although there were obviously fewer bands (maybe about half the usual), the number was still impressive – see the video below.  The number of people attending is not yet known but I’d guess there were more than the 1000 allowed per Covid regulations – at least I think that’s the Victoria Park limit.

Despite it being September, the weather was warm and felt like summer. The beach was fully open with no fencing (and no lifeguards or canteen).

The opening ceremonies saw the two bleachers close to full and the speeches kept short. The 9/11 anniversary was remembered with a minute of silence, both American and Canadian anthems were sung “a cappella” by a young woman, Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin welcomed visitors to Cobourg and the Cobourg Legion Pipes and Drums band were featured more prominently than previously.

Although there were signs asking for 2 metre separation, there was little evidence of that. Likewise only about half wore masks – but you can’t blow a bagpipe with a mask on.  A good number of Scottish vendors were there as well as popular food trucks. There was also no disruption from any kind of demonstrators.

Although there were heavy competitions, I did not get any video of that.

The video below provides highlights and gives an idea of the event. See the Links for reports on previous games.


Print Article: 


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 September 2021 7:21 am

So…an over-capacity crowd with no COVID protocols in place, or at least none being observed or enforced.

Where’s the petition from the CTA, telling us at whose feet the bodies will lie? Where are the complaints about the dirty out-of-towners coming here to spread their germs? What about all of the noise, noise, noise, NOISE???

Are people unaware of the depth of hypocrisy on display here or just completely shameless about it?

Reply to  Matt
13 September 2021 10:24 am

This will be a good measurement of the inherent Covid-infection dangers of out-of-towners coming to our fair town for a special event. I was not in attendance, but from what I’ve heard, there WERE scores of people, NOT practicing social distancing – whether everyone was masked, that I haven’t heard but if our infection numbers rise exponentially, then we have the unfortunate answer – if our numbers stay relatively low, then no harm done.

Reply to  Scottie
15 September 2021 1:51 pm

Since folks came from across Ontario (and possibly beyond), any spike in cases related to this event will likely be washed into the numbers in other jurisdictions. Unless there was some darn thorough contact tracing. Which, I don’t believe there was.

Reply to  Matt
13 September 2021 5:41 pm

No hypocrisy. No shame. Many simply value our town’s cultural history.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Matt
15 September 2021 8:47 am

This was not a controlled experiment but instead a completely random experience and no conclusions should be drawn from it. During WWII many protected coñvoys of merchant ships crossed the Atlantic without a single loss while others were blasted out of the water. In our area with infection rates às low as they are infection is a matter of pure chance, but still a deadly one. Covid is not over.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
15 September 2021 1:25 pm

Fortunately our infection rates are low. Sadly, Matt appears to favour encouraging visitors from areas with higher infection rates to increase our chances of being “blasted out of the water”.

Reply to  Keith Oliver
15 September 2021 4:55 pm

Vaccination rates in our area are high and active case rates have always been low and continue to be …. great opportunity to get outside and enjoy an event. This event was publicized beyond the Northumberland borders and most certainly brought visitors from outside the region. There aren’t any “hot zones” at this point in time, contrary to what others would like you to believe.

Ken missed Matt’s point and seems to be pedaling fear …

Reply to  Matt
15 September 2021 3:27 pm

Shameless it is, then.

Not a surprise.

12 September 2021 9:52 pm

Three cheers to all those who organized this event, those who participated and all those who were spectators. lovely weather; so nice to mingle and feel a very relaxed atmosphere. Lovely to see the dancers and the little girls in particular. The pipes and drums bands were wonderful to listen to. Appreciated the tribute regarding 9/11 anniversary.

Thank you all. See you next year!

Pamela Jackson
12 September 2021 1:06 pm

What a treat to see this John, from so far away. It brings back happy memories of attending the games when we lived in Cobourg. Highland Games took place here in Victoria, BC. but on a smaller scale than this. Congratulations to all who participated and here’s hoping next summer will see a return to all the events that make Cobourg great.

12 September 2021 12:02 pm

Lets hope this is the first major event to kick off a more normal summer next year. Gotta love the bagpipes.

Elizabeth Greaves
12 September 2021 8:55 am

Thank you as always, John. What wonderful memories this brought back!
And – I hope all who attended will be safe.