The longest continuously running Highland games in Canada returned to View Royal on Labour Day weekend.
The Craigflower Manor property is hosting the 158th Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival on Sept. 4 and 5. Each day of the scaled-down festival, usually held in May, includes Highland and Irish dancers in the mornings and pipebands and Celtic music in the afternoon. Tours of the Craigflower Manor historical site are running throughout the weekend festival.
For Brian Boman, the event’s chair of Celtic music, it’s the festival’s many sounds, from the musicians and dancers to the metal clanging of the heavy events, that make the weekend.
“The sound of the pipes stick with you for days afterwards,” he said with a laugh.
A large area of the Manor’s property, at the intersection of Admirals Road and Old Island Highway, is fenced off as construction has begun on a Scottish community centre. Ian Booth, president of the Victoria Scottish Community Centre Society, said the 10,000 square foot Scottish centre hopes to provide a place where people from all cultures can congregate and celebrate.
The festival is hosting the Highland Games Heavy Events, an annual fixture in Victoria since 1864, on Sunday. The Victoria games are one of the few in Canada where the competition proceeded amid both World Wars and the local festival attracted competitors from across the globe when it hosted the world championships a few years back.
Boman said people like to see the competition and show of strength that the games offer, especially during events like the caber toss. In the caber, an athlete has to lift a huge wooden log and then toss it end over end.
“You’re not going to turn on your TV or go down to your local stadium and see that every weekend,” Boman said.
The festival’s Sunday activities start at 10 a.m., with the Heavy Events running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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