The first Games...

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

Plenty can change over the course of 70 years… Tech­nol­ogy, cus­toms, and jour­nal­ism stylis­tics be­ing just a few.

We at The Glengarry News are proud that we have al­ways re­ported on the Glengarry High­land Games. For your read­ing plea­sure, we are pleased to re­pro­duce part of our cov­er­age from the very first Games in 1948.

*** The largest au­di­ence in the his­tory of Glengarry – more than 20,000 – thrilled to as fine a dis­play of massed pip­ing skill as might be heard any­where on the globe, Satur­day, at Maxville, as the re­vival of the Glengarry High­land Games came and went, right into the record book of a county al­ready rich in great days.

It was a long full day, crowded with event­ful mo­ments. But the high point came shortly be­fore 6 p.m. when eight fine pipe bands which had been com­pet­ing for group hon­ors, massed to­gether for the pip­ing grand fi­nale. Be­fore a wildly cheer­ing grand­stand crowd a hun­dred pipers boweed to the will of happy thou­sands, play­ing no less than four en­cores. Hours later those priv­i­leged to have been there, could still imag­ine the high, sweet notes of the pipes.

A busy spot for weeks as prepa­ra­tions went for­ward for the big day, Maxville was a hive of ac­tiv­ity Satur­day. Its streets car­ry­ing an un­end­ing stream of cars, buses and pedes­tri­ans. As early as 10 o’clock that morn­ing, some three to four thou­sand were al­ready on the Ex­hi­bi­tion Grounds. By noon there were an es­ti­mated ten thou­sand and they kept com­ing. There were still many vis­i­tors in the vil­lage at mid­night when a big street dance was brought to a re­luc­tant halt.

From al­most ev­ery State of the Union and from all nine Cana­dian prov­inces came na­tive sons of Glengarry and many other vis­i­tors to swell the mighty flood of hu­man­ity. The loud­speaker sys­tem gave its hint of this wide rep­re­sen­ta­tion with its an­nounce­ments of peo­ple from Van­cou­ver, San Fran­cisco and other points seek­ing the where­abouts of friends.

Prime Min­is­ter Macken­zie King was there as were the Hon. John Bracken and Mrs. Bracken and Hon. James G Gardiner.

The pipes were heard all through the day, the SD&G band be­ing on duty through­out the morn­ing to greet in­com­ing spe­cial and reg­u­lar trains. As each band ar­rived in Maxville, it headed solid col­umns of vis­i­tors mak­ing their way to the grounds through the flag and tar­tan draped streets. Dur­ing the af­ter­noon, the skirl of the pipes com­peted with the drone of sight-see­ing planes over­head as the in­di­vid­ual pip­ing com­pe­ti­tions were run off.

The steady flow of in­com­ing traf­fic in the early af­ter­noon forced a de­lay in the ar­rival of the Prime Min­is­ter who spent sev­eral hours in his pri­vate car on the sta­tion sid­ing. The of­fi­cial party was headed by the massed pipe bands as it en­tered the grounds. Im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing was the car con­tain­ing Mr. King and his party, then came the pretty white gowned “Queen of the Games,” Miss Mora MacIn­tosh of Dun­ve­gan, en­throned in an open tour­ing car. The other five con­tes­tants for the ti­tle were grouped in a sec­ond open car.

Prime Min­is­ter King was in­tro­duced by Ma­jor An­gus McDon­ald, reeve of Alexan­dria and chair­man of the Games Com­mit­tee. His brief ad­dress in which he of­fi­cially de­clated the Games open set off a chain of events which lasted through­out the day and evening. While hun­dreds of col­or­ful High­land dancers com­peted on the stand, pip­ing con­tests and track and field events were staged at other points on the grounds.

A fea­ture of the af­ter­noon pro­gram was the fine con­tralto singing of Miss Jean Ma­cLeod, noted Toronto soloist. Miss Ma­cLeod in­tro­duced the spe­cial song writ­ten for the High­land Games by Ken MacRae of Toronto, a son of John D. MacRae ex-MP, of Ap­ple Hill. She later fa­vored with the pop­u­lar “Road To The Isles” and was again heard at the evening con­cert. Mrs. D. M. Ma­cleod of Alexan­dria was ac­com­pa­nist.

A short in­ter­lude fol­lowed the pipe band com­pe­ti­tions and the massed band play­ing and the pro­gramme was re­sumed at 7 o’clock when an All-Star team from the Glengarry Foot­ball League went down by a 4-2 count be­fore a smart eleven from the Montreal Scot­tish. In a morn­ing foot­ball game play­ers res­i­dent East of High­way 34 had won 2-0 over those liv­ing West of the High­way.

Thou­sands re­mained on for the evening con­cert which fea­tured an Old Time Fid­dlers con­test. Hon­ors were won by John An­gus McDon­ald of Corn­wall and St. Raphael’s who took home the fine tro­phy of­fered in this event.

The last spe­cial trains pulled out of Maxville at mid­night car­ry­ing to their city homes large num­bers of dog tired but happy vis­i­tors to the Games.

It was the most suc­cess­ful event in the his­tory of Glengarry from an at­ten­dance stand­point but the record crowd in it­self pre­vented the day from be­ing an un­qual­i­fied suc­cess. Jam­packed in front of the grand­stand and in the in­field, the thou­sands present were press­ing to get a view of the pro­ceed­ings. As a re­sult, judges and dancers at the danc­ing plat­form were com­pletely hemmed in and it was al­most im­pos­si­ble to get to the stand.

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