7 Must See Events at the Canmore Highland Games

Returning for its 26th year and located in Centennial Park, the Canmore Highland Games will continue to pay homage to a 1,000 year old Scottish tradition.

Returning for its 26th year and located in Centennial Park, the Canmore Highland Games will continue to pay homage to a 1,000 year old Scottish tradition. Drawing annual crowds of 5,000 eager participants and spectators donned in kilts, the Games are a way for Canmore residents and visitors to the area to showcase their Scottish skills in a number of competitions.
From September 2nd to 3rd, guests start their weekend indulging in a pancake breakfast, exploring the Scottish and Celtic Market, meeting fellow competitors and attendees in the Beer Garden and Games Food Booths, before taking part in the numerous activities the Games has to offer. The following seven lively events take place over the course of the action-packed weekend, rain or shine, and are definitely not to be missed.

1. Taste of the Highlands

The evening of September 2nd is dedicated to the Taste of the Highlands event. Located under the Big Rock Festival Tent, the main tasting event runs from 5pm to 9pm, with a cash bar open from 9pm until 11:00pm. Explore the rows of booths, and sample over 90 of the best wines, scotch, brews, and snacks. Get a feel for the next day’s competitions and mingle with other enthusiastic guests, vendors, and volunteers.

2. Piping and Drumming Competitions

The Piping and Drumming Competition runs bright and early Sunday morning at 8:30am at different locations throughout the Centennial Park, and showcases local talent. The Drum Major contest takes place in the Main Field at 12:00pm, with the Pipe Band Competition beginning at 1:45 in the same area.

3. Heavy Sports Contest

Have you ever seen a tartan-donned athlete throw over 50 lbs of weight as high over their head as possible? How about an 8-person adult team of Tug of War? Head over to the Heavy Sports Field at 8:30am to witness the Heavies, which consist of different throws at different weights, or cheer on teams of Tug of War at 2:30pm.

4. Highland Dance Competition

The Highland Dance Competition September 3rd, with dance teams performing from 9am onward. Beginner, novice, and intermediate dancers all get the chance to showcase their team’s best moves in front of an enthusiastic audience. Guaranteed to entertain, dancers are encouraged to wear Highland dance outfits for extra authenticity.

5. Ed McNally Big Rock Festival Tent

The Canmore Highland Games wouldn’t be the same without the energizing live performances taking place in the Big Rock Festival Tent. Guests and participants can access the Beer Garden and Games Food Booth while breaking between competitions to appreciate some live music and other entertainment.

6. Sheep Dog Demonstration

Dog lovers and curious bystanders will be pleasantly surprised watching the skill, patience, and training that goes into the sheep dog demonstration in the Main Field. A sport in itself, trainers instruct their highly trained herding dogs to crouch low and round up a herd of sheep.

7. 78th Fraser Highlanders Musket Shoot

Another highlight of the Games is the 78th Fraser Highlanders Musket Shoot, which takes place at 12:45pm in the Main Field. Visitors get to experience a display and reenactment of the British infantry regiment’s Highland charge, traditionally used on the battlefield in the 1700s.


If you’re interested in attending the Canmore Highland Games this Labour Day weekend, we’ve got your accommodations covered. Call our Destination Experts at 1.877.902.1616, or browse our selection of Canmore vacation rentals for more information on how to book your stay.