• Rob Hornberger

Proposed Kingsville tartan reflects the fabric of town life

Highland games organizers unveil six-colour design

The 2019 revival of the Kingsville Highland Games featured pipe bands, athletic competitions and Highland dancing, drawing larger-than-expected crowds. After a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the games are slated to resume in 2022.

KINGSVILLE — Organizers of the Kingsville Highland Games may have been forced to cancel the games for a second year but that hasn’t stopped them from unveiling the ultimate fashion accessory for any future festival-goer.

The Kingsville tartan was unveiled to town council earlier this week and is awaiting approval by the Scottish Register of Tartans.

The proposed tartan, which will become the official tartan for the town, has six colours — black, purple, green, yellow, blue, white — each representing aspects of Kingsville life, from the fall migration of geese, local agriculture and the bucolic shoreline to the town’s official logo, the wineries and the town’s sunny, summer climate.

“The tartan that we’re proposing still has to go to the Scottish registry and they take a look at it and say OK, it doesn’t resemble other tartans,” said games organizer Doug Plumb.

“Then they register it like a coat of arms.”

He said there will be two grades of fabric for the proposed tartan, a lighter material suitable for making ties, scarfs, hats and sashes and heavier fabric for kilts

The proposed Kingsville design is awaiting approval by the Scottish Register of Tartans.

The fabric will be woven by Lochcarron of Scotland. Orders for the fabric would be placed with the games committee who will then pass on the requests to Lochcarron’s Canadian agent, Burnetts & Struth Scottish Regalia in Barrie.

Mayor Nelson Santos said the proposed tartan would be a “very positive” addition to the festival and the town.

“Having a tartan specific to the community will add to the celebration of the games,” he said.

Plumb said the games committee was forced to cancel the Highland games for the second year in a row for reasons beyond their control. He said many of the key aspects of the games — the pipe bands, Highland dancing and athletic competitions — have gone into an enforced holding pattern since the pandemic.

“We depend on our competitors; the pipers come in and they compete, the dancers come in and they compete and the heavy (athletics) competitors, they’re not practising because of the social gathering restrictions.

“So, the pipe bands … they’re not competing this year so it would be kind of disappointing for someone one to go to the Highland games with no pipers.”

The original Kingsville Highland Games were cancelled in the 1980s, then revived in 2019.

Plumb said the committee brought back the games with the modest goal of attracting 1,500 visitors and losing a modest amount of money.

The games ended up attracting close to 6,500 people and made close to $30,000 which will be plowed back into the 2022 event.

Plumb said the committee remains active and a Highland games parade float is in the works.

He said there is also talk about having a small event this summer, in conjunction with the BIA, to unveil the new tartan.

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