Ontario piper, David SIobod (a former member of P/M Chris Anderson’s excellent, Glen Mor Pipe Band) kindly forwarded this snippet of our history along to the PPBSO.
He writes, “I saved this Toronto Star newspaper clipping from August 4, 1972. 1972 was the initial year that the Scottish World Festival was held at the CNE [Canadian National Exhibition] and it sparked my own desire to learn the bagpipes. I started lessons that autumn with Don Pringle at Fort York Armouries. In this photo are (L-R) Cathy Bremner, Duncan Pringle, Catherine Forrester, unknown, Jim Thomson, and Grier Coppins … . Hopefully someone will recognize the fourth piper”.
From The Toronto Star, August 4, 1972 (colourized)
This reminds us all that 1972 was the first year of the famous Scottish World Festival & Tattoo. Held at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, it was presented over four evenings in Exhibition Stadium (later to be demolished and rebuilt as “BMO Field”) with over 30,000 attendees for each show.
A highlight of the festival was the presentation of the Intercontinental Pipe Band Championships, during the day on the final Sunday of the tattoo. The CNE’s funding of the festival would see plane loads of hundreds of Scots and Irish pipe band members (along with bands from New Zealand, USA and England) all booked-in to the “big gig” in Toronto to participate in what was a spectacular event. The Toronto Scottish Regiment’s Sergeant’s Mess, then the location of PPBSO Toronto Branch meetings, was the go-to place as a first-stop for post-performance refreshments.
Competing in the Intercontinental Championships in Toronto in 1972 were 28 Bands in grade one, 16 bands in grade two, 28 bands in grade three and 46 bands in grade four.
To officially kick-off the festival a massive parade of pipe bands would march through the streets of Toronto and enter the CNE grounds through the Dufferin Gate; a sight not scene in Toronto since the demise of the event in 1981.
A list of the 28 grade one bands in attendance and competing is provided here. You will note that there were seven Ontario-based grade one bands participating in the 1972 competition.
It is likely that there are many more pipers and drummers inspired to take up the instruments, as was, David Slobod. Thanks to him for passing the clipping along.
We will do our best to share your item and, as importantly, save in our budding database of archives – one to be available to all members on our new website (coming late summer).