Shamrocks and Thistles, bagpipes and bodhran’s in downtown Vancouver



It may be St. Patrick’s Day, but when the Celtic nations get together for a party, it’ll be tough to miss the Scots.

Downtown Vancouver will resonate with music this weekend as the 2017 Vancouver Celtic Festival kicks off on St. Patrick’s Day, Friday March 17. Vancouver’s Robson Square is the center of the action with musical acts, pipe bands, singers, dancers, beer gardens and some big name acts to keep the party going all day.

Check out the Vancouver CelticFest website for more details. Or wander down to Robson Square on Saturday for the “Salute to Scotland”. The four-hour event on Saturday afternoon will feature the RMM, VPD and RCMP pipe bands, Heather Jolley and Stave Falls highland dancers and of course our heavy event athletes and some of their implements for guests to handle.  The afternoon Salute is sponsored by the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival (June 17) in Coquitlam. Tickets for the Games will be on sale all day.  The event is being emcee’d by CKPM announcer Rod MacBeth and wraps up with the mighty sound of the massed pipe bands at 4pm.


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The End of an Era at Vancouver’s Bagpipe Repair Shop

We all knew it was coming, and now it’s official. After a long career as Vancouver’s go-to bagpipe doctor, Mike McDonald is retiring. In a letter to customers, he says he is going to

 “try to take advantage of the so called Golden years. To this end, I have enjoyed the business and opportunity to meet with you. The pleasure was mine.”

Continue reading

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First ivory restrictions on bagpipes. Now African blackwood.

There’s a good reason forward-thinking countries have banned or tightly control the over-the-border

Outdoor Pipes

African Blackwood bagpipes

movement of products that contain ivory, such as bagpipes. A proper certificate for an ivory/silver set of pipes is a hassle, but worth it if it slows down the barbaric poaching of elephants in the wild. But now another key component of the Great Highland Bagpipes could be under tight restrictions and this one affects almost everyone who has a set of pipes.

Check out the story here:


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Remembrance Week Bagpipes Salute Veterans & Canada

A beautiful tune, played by PM Matt MacIsaac, with PM Katie Buckland and a Canadian Forces pipe band from a concert in November, 2012. A perfect way to commemorate a week of remembrance for our veterans and for our country.

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A #Vancouver Bagpiper in the November Rain

dscf9586It may appear meditative, or a bit reflective, but a bagpiper playing under the grey, overcast skies of November in Vancouver is likely thinking about the weather.

The warm days of spring, summer and early fall are behind us. Now it’s time to start wrapping up the year with  Remembrance Day 2016 and all the other events that lead up to our national day of reflection on the sacrifices of our forefathers and mothers. Throughout the country, as communities gather to remember the fallen, the piper is charged with delivering the lament to lost soldiers. In most cases, it’s the traditional tune  Flowers of the Forest. Continue reading

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BC Pipers on the Great Wall of China

img_7663It was an amazing trip full of music, dancing, friendships, an engagement, a loss and a lot of memories.

From September 26 to October 3, 2016, almost 30 RCMP pipers, drummers, dancers and their spouses from BC, Edmonton and Regina travelled to China to participate along with dozens of other musical and dancing acts in the Beijing International Tourism Festival. Our jam-packed schedule included highlights such as: Continue reading

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Bagpiping at weddings in Vancouver and beyond

Wedding Piper, Scotland

Scottish wedding piper

Have you thought about walking down the aisle to the skirl of the great highland bagpipes? If so, you are not alone.

In the past year, there has been a resurgence of brides and couples inquiring about adding cultural and musical impact to their wedding ceremony. From grand entrances at a church, to leading in the

Haida Gwai wedding

Haida Gwai wedding

groomsmen, bridesmaids and bride to the sounds of the pipes at outdoor venues and parks, it’s always a show-stopper that sets your ceremony apart from what most people (guests) are used to at summer wedding ceremonies. Continue reading

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Halifax Pipe Major Barb Stewart and her father’s pipes: Heading to Juno

My first piping instructor – still going strong, with her father’s pipes. What the story doesn’t say is that when Barb’s father showed up in Scotland during leave, to pick up and pay for his pipes, his regiment had already paid for them out of respect.

D-Day bagpipes still heard in Halifax

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