Manitoba Highland Gathering

In the summer of 1967, an annual celebration began in Selkirk, Manitoba. The Highland Gathering began in Manitoba in part because many people had emigrated from Scotland and the British Isles in the 1960s. These new arrivals were recruited to work at the Selkirk Hospital for Mental Diseases as psychiatric nurses. There were pipe bands here before they arrived, but these immigrant Scots and Brits brought the culture with them and as such, a need for the sharing of this culture.

One of the instrumental founders of the Highland Gathering was Bob Burns. Burns moved to Selkirk from England in 1960 and was the one who first proposed the idea of the Highland gathering. He took it upon himself to organize the event, which was held for the first time in 1967. During those early years, Burns invited pipe bands from the U.K. to Selkirk especially for the event. Bob Burns was employed at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre as the director of nursing during his career, and many of the other staff from the hospital along with parents of pipe band members volunteered during those early years to help run the annual gathering.

The Highland Gathering was held at the Selkirk Park for many years, but in 2014 moved to a new home: East Selkirk Legacy Park. The flagship year at Legacy Park went very well, with great attendance and fabulous entertainment. Between the highland dance competition, solo piping and drumming competitions, and the Heavy Games, attendees of the Gathering had plenty to watch. Manitoba Living History was in attendance, as were several other Heritage groups. Tartans were on display and there was even a highland cow. Make sure to attend the Highland Gathering this year in June!

The Manitoba Highland Gathering geocache site is located near East Selkirk, Manitoba at GPS coordinates N 50° 07.842 latitude and W 096° 49.312 longitude.

Posted in Dance and Musical Organizations.