History of Tartan Day in Canada

Tartan Day in Canada, April 6th, has become a yearly event. The concept of Tartan Day began at a meeting of the Federation of Scottish Clans in Nova Scotia on 09 March 1986. Members Bill Crowell and Jean MacKaracher-Watson put forward the following motion to the Federation:

"That we establish a day known as 'Tartan Day'. This to be a day chosen to promote Scottish Heritage by the most visible means. The wearing of the Scottish attire, especially in places where the kilt is not ordinarily worn, i.e.: work, play or worship."

Starting originally as 'Tartan Day in Nova Scotia', Jean Watson approached every provincial Legislative Assembly in Canada, as well as other Scottish-cultural societies across Canada, to help get such a date established.

After ten years of work, Tartan Day in Canada was approved in every Provincial Assembly from sea to sea by Premier's proclamation or Members' Bill, the last being in the National Assembly at Québec City, where it was finally proclaimed in December 2003 - 16 years after it the first such proclamation in Nova Scotia.

Here are the Provinces of Canada, in order, on which Tartan Day was proclaimed:

  • Nova Scotia - 6 April 1987
  • Ontario - 19 December 1991
  • British Columbia - 25 March 1992
  • Prince Edward Island - 2 April 1992
  • Saskatchewan - 6 April 1992
  • Manitoba - 6 April 1992
  • Alberta - 6 April 1992
  • New Brunswick - 6 April 1993
  • Newfoundland & Labrador - 6 April 1995
  • Québec - 18 December 2003

With thanks to The Federation for Scottish Culture in Nova Scotia