"North American Pipe Band Championship...." Maxville by Greggor58

Maxville Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 15 photos

The Home of the Glengary Highland Games...

To say that Scottish heritage is alive and well in Canada is surely an understatement..to say that it THRIVES here in Maxville...a small town in Eastern Ontario is for certain another understatement...

The town of Maxville is located within the County of Glengarry...about an hours drive South East from Canada's capital city of Ottawa...nowhere would be a better place to host the North American Pipe Band Championships...

Glengarry County was more or less established in about 1792....and was settled primarily by Scottish Loyalists that came to this remote area from the Mohawk Valley in what is now New York State...The Canadian USA border is close ...likely about a forty five minute drive....if that...once upon a time this country was considered the frontier and was a pretty wild "neck of the woods"...not much other than bush and wildlife..and if you're a farmer clearing allotments of land....I KNOW there was plenty of ROCK to pick from your lands..

Maxville's origins began as a simple sawmill built by a man called Duncan MacDougall on the site of what was to become the future village.Within a few years, the mill construction was joined by Peter McEwen’s "general store" and Hugh McEwan’s "blacksmith shop."

Named “Macksville” after the numerous Macs living in the area, the village took off as a commercial hub for the small farming community and was chosen as a stop on a new railway line that was being built between Montreal and Ottawa in about 1882...

Since 1948.....

Maxville has been hosting these Games...the first competition in 1948 only a handful of bands showed up to participate...eight bands in total came to compete....nowadays there's as many as seventy bands that come from all over Canada,the USA, and the year before last even from Mexico...This year [ 2009 ] a band came all the way from Glasgow, Scotland , with hopes of winning the North American Pipe Band Championship...

Glengarry is a two day event and is always held on the 1st weekend in August...EVERY Summer...across Canada in every Province this is a LONG weekend...the Monday following the 1st weekend in August is a holiday!

The schedule does NOT vary much from year to year...and always kicks off on the Friday afternoon with individual Pipe competitions.. Highland Dance competitions also are taking place and there are something like two or three hundred young competitors that participate.There is also the "Men's sports"..."Caber Tossing"....a giant pole close in size to a small telephone pole..."Sheef Tossing"...Men using a pitch fork type thing used to chuck bales of "hay" or something like this into a barn??
The first time I witnessed "sheef tossing" I was trying to figure out what on Earth the announcer was talking about...I heard him saying "sheep tossing"...and I was laughing and making some snide comment out loud when a man beside me explained it was "SHEEEEF" tossing...and NOT sheep that were being tossed... : O [

All of the Piping competitions are governed and organized by the Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontario (PPBSO). All competitors must be members of the PPBSO or a member of an officially recognized affiliated organization, or Society, in another Province, State or Country in order to compete..

Its a busy venue with lots going on in different areas of the compound at the same time...so if you ever decide that you want to check this out....budget a full day to really get a feel for the event...and in my opinion....try to make it on the Saturday...and PLEASE stay for the wrap up...

At the end of the day....after the winners have been decided...they "mass" the pipers and drummer on the field at the same time for the presentations and then they ALL play melodies or marches TOGETHER at the same time...its really something to see and hear 1100 pipers and drummers doing they're thing all at once...

The event draws fairly large crowds...over a million people have passed through the gates over the course of the sixty years that the Games have been held in Maxville..a testament to the heritage of the Scottish in Canada...

So.....I Make the Trek...

Pretty much every year since I've lived again in Eastern Canada....funny....I'm not sure why but my parents never brought us here as children....I grew up in Ottawa... they attended often when they were older...though I never made the day trip with them..

My interest is predominantly the Pipe and Drum competitions....and I'll spend the entire day at the different competition areas watching and listening...

There is present here at this venue a large "beer tent" which provides a bit of a sanctuary if you want to get off your feet and enjoy a cold beer or two...or more...There's also a separate tent for Scotch "tasting"... : O ]

Ive uploaded a couple of videos here but the quality is not very good .. you kind of get an idea of whats going on here over the two day event...

One of the videos is shot at a "warm up" area and the other is shot while the band is performing for keeps...During the warm ups you can see a man walking around listening and adjusting something on the pipe to adjust tone and or volumes...

All types of greasy fast foods are available at stands that are set up in another area reserved for them and the inevitable "kitsch" is for sale also...EVERYTHING to do with "Scottish" heritage and history is available to spend your sheckles on if you so choose...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great way to spend a day if you like the "bagpipes"...
  • Cons:They could use some more ares that are better shaded...
  • In a nutshell:Bagpipes : O ]
  • Last visit to Maxville: Aug 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (2)

Comments (5)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2009 at 12:59 PM

    We have quite a few scottish gatherings in australia too!

  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2009 at 6:48 PM

    Who knew there was so much to know about bagpipe music? lol Love that opening photo - too cute!

  • Jefie's Profile Photo
    Aug 11, 2009 at 6:27 AM

    Great page, I love the intro! Looks like something fun to do on a long weekend, I should try to go one of these days... Thanks for sharing!

  • dancinbudgie's Profile Photo
    Aug 3, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    LOVE the opening pic. SOOO Cute! Speaking of cute...did you pick yourself up an instakilt?

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Aug 3, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    There's something quite magical about bagpipes played properly!

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