The Highlands of Durham Games

The sleepy community of Uxbridge, Ontario (pop: 19,075) awakens with a mighty Celtic roar this weekend for the Highlands of Durham Games. Event chair Steve Harrison fills us in on the details.

What is your own ethnicity/heritage?
I am English, Scottish and French Canadian decent…heavy on the Scottish 🙂

What are your roles and responsibilities with the event?
Along with being the Chair, I handle advertising, sponsorship, entertainment, and I am the Senior Drum Major for the massed bands.

What is the event’s core mandate?
To share and provide the Celtic Culture, artisans and performers, an opportunity to gather and promote our music food and fun for thousands of visitors.

How has it grown over the years?
This is our 18th year in operation and we have grown to host over 12,000 visitors from all over in lovely Elgin Park in Uxbridge.

Who attends the gathering?
Friends and families and guests from our local towns, the Greater Toronto Area and from as far away as the USA and Scotland Itself!

What can they expect to experience this year?
Live music all day at our Bandshell, including massed bands performances, Celtic bands, fiddlers, new performers The Little White Lies with Ally Walker, The Mudmen (famous for their contribution to the new Hockey Night In Canada theme). We also have a Celtic families area, Heavy Events, a Scottish Breed Dog show, a Scottish Livestock display, a four horse Clydesdales from Paul Star, a BBQ and a full day of entertainment ~ all for $15.00! Participants can also win a trip for two to Scotland, a new Ipad, a silver edition Go Pro Camera, and more!

Why is it an important event for the Celtic community there?
This community was built by Scottish Stone masons and populated by them and Quakers as early as 1806.

Why is it an important event for the non-Celtic community there?
It is fun for the whole family with activities and sights for everyone – whether your Scottish or not it is a great weekend out!!

What are the plans for the event in the years ahead?
We will continue to add to our success as the park is one of the most beautiful settings for highland games with over 80+ trees providing a unmatched canopied experience under sunny skies. For our 19th year we will institute our “Lord Elgin Invitational Challenge” to all grade 4 and 5 entries with great prize money and the thrill of winning this new prestigious award.

Is enough being done to preserve and promote Celtic culture?
We find the culture has had great support over these past few years and your magazine is a great example of that indeed!

What can we be doing better?
Perhaps we can reach out to our neighbours in Scotland and have them bring some more visitors and Scottish experience to our shores.