Canada’s oldest Highland Games are back at View Royal – Saanich News

The oldest Highland games in Canada returned to View Royal on Labor Day weekend.

The Craigflower Manor property is hosting the 158th Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival on September 4-5. Each day of the small-scale festival, usually held in May, features Highland and Irish dancers in the morning and bagpipes and Celtic music in the afternoon. Tours of the historic Craigflower Manor site run throughout the weekend festival.

For Brian Boman, the president of the Celtic music event, it’s the many sounds of the festival, from the musicians and dancers to the metallic clanking of heavy events, that make the weekend.

“The sound of the pipes accompanies you for days afterwards,” he said with a laugh.

Much of the mansion’s property at the intersection of Admirals Road and Old Island Road is fenced in as construction of a Scottish Community Center has begun. Ian Booth, president of the Victoria Scottish Community Center Society, said the 10,000 square foot Scottish center hopes to provide a place where people of all cultures can come together and party.

The festival hosts the Highland Games Heavy Events on Sunday, an annual gathering in Victoria since 1864. The Victoria Games are one of the few in Canada where the competition took place in the middle of the two world wars and the local festival has attracted competitors from all over the world when it hosted the world championships a few years ago.

Boman said people love to see the competition and show of strength the games provide, especially at events like the caber throw. In the caber, an athlete has to lift a huge log of wood and then throw it end to end.

“You’re not going to turn on your TV or go down to your local stadium and see this every weekend,” Boman said.

Sunday festival activities start at 10 a.m., with Heavy Events from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Jennifer R. Strohm

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