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.
- Report on Highland Games – 2019 – includes video.
- Report on Highland Games – 2018 – includes video.
- Video of 2016 Games
- Highland Games in Donegan Park – 2009 – Slide show.