The BC Highland Games and Scottish Festival is a Metro Vancouver cultural and sporting event that takes place at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam in June.
In 2018 it happens on Saturday, June 16th, from 8 am until 8 pm.
Highland Games in Coquitlam
The BC Highland Games and Scottish Festival is an annual event featuring athletic events, Celtic dancing, live music, whisky tasting and lots of bagpiping! It’s a family-friendly event and lots of fun!
General admission to the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival costs $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $5 for children (ages 6-12) and free for kids ages 5 and under.
Whisky School Classes cost $30 (and usually sell out way in advance).
Below is the schedule for the 2018 BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival. We have divided the schedule up into General Events, Live Entertainment, Competitions, Workshops & Demonstrations, Kids Activities and Day-Long Events.
Some of the activities take place on the festival’s Main Stage, while others happen in the field and other locations.
(Note: The following event times, locations and other details are subject to change.)
General Events Schedule
- 8:00 am – Gates Open to the Public
- 11:00 am – Beer Garden Opens
- 12:00 pm – Parade of Dignitaries, Clans and VIPs
- 12:10 pm – Official Welcoming Ceremony
- 12:30 pm – 78th Fraser Highlanders Cannon Blast (from the Centre Field)
- 2:00 pm – RCMP Pipe Band “Commander’s Commendation Award” (in the North Gazebo)
- 3:15 pm – RCMP East Division Pipe Band Salute to Chieftain of the Day (on the Main Track)
- 5:40 pm – Recognition of sponsors and 50/50 Draw
- 5:45 pm – Massed Pipe Bands and Awards (on the Main Field)
Live Entertainment (Non-Competitive) Schedule
- 11:00 am – Mighty Wings Jazz Ensemble (on the Main Stage)
- 11:45 am – Metis Performer (in the Highland Village)
- 11:45 am – Massed Scottish Country Dancing (on the Main Track)
- 1:00 pm – Bob Collins: Music for the Scottish Soul (on the Main Stage)
- 1:45 pm – Live Celtic Entertainment with Blackthorn (on the Main Stage)
- 2:15 pm – Live Celtic Entertainment with Ruckus Deluxe (on the Beer Garden Stage)
- 2:30 pm – Shot of Scotch Highland Dancers (on the Main Track)
- 2:45 pm – Royal Academy of Bhangra & Shot of Scotch Highland Dancers (on the Main Track)
- 2:50 pm – Canntearcchd: Singing the Piper’s Piobaireachd (in the Highland Village)
- 2:55 pm – Bob Collins (on the Main Stage)
- 3:20 pm – BC Pipers’ Association Interactive Piping, Drumming & Dancing Demo (in the Highland Village)
- 3:30 pm – Onibana Taiko Drummers & Shot of Scotch Highland Dancers (on the Main Track and Main Stage)
- 3:40 pm – Blackthorn (in the Beer Garden)
- 4:00 pm – J.J. Lavalee (a Metis Musician, on the Main Stage)
- 6:00 until 8:00 pm – Ceilidh with Ruckus Deluxe (in the Beer Garden)
Sports, Music and Dance Competitions
Competitive events that last less than an hour are the following:
- 8:00 am – Solo Piping & Drumming Competitions (in the Northeast Field)
- 8:30 am – Pre-Premier Highland Dancing (on the Highland Dance Stage)
- 4:45 pm – Grade I & II Pipe Band Competitions (on the Main Track)
- 7:00 pm – Pipe Band Beer Garden Competition (in the Beer Garden)
Competitive events that run for most of the day include the following;
- 8:30 am to 4:00 pm – City of Vancouver Championship & Open Highland Dancing (on the Highland Dance Stage)
- 9:00 am to 4:00 pm – BC Provincial Heavy Events Championships (in the East Field)
- 1:30 to 4:30 pm – Pipe Band Competitions, Grades 3, 4 & 5 (on the East Track)
Workshops and Demonstrations
A number of whisky-tasting and other cultural workshops and demonstrations take place in various locations including in the Highland Village and Whisky Tent (where you’ll find lots of father’s enjoying a pre-Father’s Day afternoon).
- 11:00 am – Kilt Making Demonstrations with McPhail Kilts (in the Highland Village)
- 12:30 pm – Gaelic Language, History & Culture (in the Highland Village)
- 12:30 pm – Whisky School Class #1 “A Trip to the Island” (in the Highland Village)
- 1:00 pm – Gaelic Song Workshop (in the Highland Village)
- 1:30 pm – Whisky School Class #2 Irish Whiskey (in the Whisky Tent)
- 1:30 pm – Milling the Tweed/Waulking the Cloth (in the Highland Village)
- 1:30 pm – Irish Gaelic Football Demonstration Matches (on the Main Field)
- 1:30 pm – Royal Scottish Country Dance Demonstration Team (on the Main Track)
- 2:15 pm – History of the Games (in the Highland Village)
- 2:30 pm – Whisky School Class #3 Premium whiskies (in the Whisky Tent)
- 3:30 pm – Whisky School Session #4 “The Meeting of the Glens” (on the Main Track)
- 3:40 pm – Royal Scottish Country Dancing Society Interactive Demonstrations (in the Highland Village)
Kids Activities Schedule
- 12:00 pm – Interactive Demo for Kids: Piping, Dancing & Drumming (in the Children’s Area)
- 10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Children’s Games, Rides and Other Activities (in the Southeast Corner)
- 10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Haggis Hunting (in the Children’s Area)
On-Going and Day-Long Activities Schedule
- 10:00 am to 5:00 pm – Food & Merchandise Vendors open (on the Main Field)
- 10:00 am to 3:40 pm – Cultural Workshops, Demonstrations and Presentations (in the Highland Village)
- 10:30 am to 3:00 pm – British Car Display (on the South Track)
- 11:00 am to 3:00 pm – Martial Arts Demonstrations (on the Main Field)
In addition to bagpiping and dancing events, the BC Highland Games also involves Heavy Events competitions which are open to athletes ages 19+ (although competitors ages 16-18 can register with a parent’s permission).
(Note: Online registration to compete closes a couple of weeks prior to the games.)
There are three categories of Heavy Events: Distance Events, Height Events and the Caber Toss.
Distance competitions include the Stone Putt, Weight for Distance Throws and the Scottish Hammer Toss.
Height Events include the Weight Over Bar competition which involves throwing a 56-pound weight (for men) or a 28-pound weight (for women) over a bar. Similarly, the Sheaf Toss involves throwing a 10 to 20 lbs simulated bale of hay over a bar with a pitchfork.
The Caber Toss is the event where contestants throw giant poles as far as they can, with each pole weighing from 70 to 130 lbs and being between 15 and 23 feet in length.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your visit to the BC Highland Games.
TIP #1: Take public transit if you can. The Lafarge Lake – Douglas SkyTrain Station is just a short walk away.
TIP #2: If you can only stay for a short time, then go in the afternoon. That’s when things are most interesting.
TIP #3: If you want to attend one of the Whisky School Classes, register early as they usually sell out well in advance.
TIP #4: If you plan to compete in the Heavy Events, be sure to register at least two weeks prior to the day of the games. Also, if competing, be sure to prepare well and know what you’re doing! The weights are heavy and you don’t want to injure yourself!
TIP #5: Wear your tartan if you have some! You’ll fit right in!
For further details about the event see the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival‘s website. And for information about a similar event on Vancouver Island, check out the Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival which takes place in May.
For information about the town and surrounding area, click Coquitlam.
For other events taking place in the Lower Mainland, check out the following:
- Vancouver’s June Calendar and July Calendar
- Festivals & Events Calendar
- Father’s Day Weekend Events
- Free June Events
- Free July Events