1,000-year-old tradition continues as Spring Creek to lead formation of new society to run the games
Canmore AB – Spring Creek announced today that Canmore’s Highland Games are back on and will once again take place on Labour Day weekend (September 2 to 3, 2017).
In December, the Three Sister’s Scottish Festival Society (TSSFS), organizers of the Highland Games in Canmore in previous years, announced the Games would be cancelled in 2017 as the group had dissolved due to loss of volunteer members.
However, after discussions with the Highland Games organizers, Spring Creek has decided to take the lead with the formation of a new non-profit society to ensure that the Games stay in Canmore.
“The Highland Games draws more than 5,000 visitors to Canmore a year and it celebrates the unique Scottish Heritage of the Town.” says Frank Kernick, president of Spring Creek. “We couldn’t stand the idea of losing such a special event so we stepped up. We’ll have more details soon but it will still be a community run event. We’re helping with several other tourism groups to kick start a new organization as the Scottish Festival Society has done a great job over the years and deserves a break.”
The Highland Games contests of strength and speed were first introduced in Scotland in 1040 by King Malcolm III, who was nicknamed “Canmore”, which translates literally into “big head” (ceann mo’r) in Scottish Gaelic. King Malcolm III introduced the contests as a way of choosing the most-able men for soldiers and royal messengers. Some have seen this apocryphal event to be the origin of today’s modern Highland games.
Today the Highland Games are a unique mix of sports, culture and community. The games often comprise of field events, piping, drumming and Highland dancing competitions and ‘heavy events’ like the tug-o-war, the hammer throw and the caber toss. The Saturday night starts off with the Taste of the Highlands, while Sunday has live Celtic entertainment all day at the Big Rock Festival Tent with vendors, food trucks and beer garden.
Finishing up the Highland Games on Sunday night is the Ceilidh, a spirited celebration of music and dance, kitchen-party fashion. The Highland Games are an important event and have been held in Canmore for the last 26 years.
“It was a tough decision to dissolve TSSFS and cancel the Highland Games but we just didn’t have the resources to commit the time and energy needed,” says Sandy Bunch, former president of TSSFS, “I’m very pleased that Spring Creek has chosen to form a group to keep this tradition alive.”
Spring Creek is currently looking to provide support on the project and take a bit of pressure off volunteers. Spring Creek is also spear heading a new non profit organization going to be called the Malcolm Scottish Society to take over the Canmore Highland Games.
“The Highland Games have become an integral part of our community identity over the years – and a well-loved event at the end of the summer. ” says Mayor John Borrowman, “As well, the games continue to bring visitors here to enjoy our beautiful mountain town, and add to the sustainability of many small businesses.”
Located in the heart of Canmore, Spring Creek is building a $37 million hotel and conference centre named in honour of King Malcolm III and inspired by Canmore’s unique Scottish Heritage. The Malcolm Hotel will reflect the pageantry, royalty, and heritage of past Scottish kings as well as Canmore’s history. The hotel and conference centre are expected to be complete by late 2017.
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About Spring Creek
Spring Creek is a mountain neighbourhood comprised of homes for locals and vacationers of all ages, located within walking distance of downtown Canmore in the Canadian Rockies. Surrounded by mountain views, vast expanses of unspoiled wilderness and clear, glacier-fed rivers and streams, opportunities for outdoor adventure include world-class skiing, golf and fishing to hiking, biking and mountaineering.