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History of the Cobourg Highland Games

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Our Founder, Davey Carr on the right

Since the earliest days of its settlement, the lands within and around Cobourg, and indeed across the nation itself, have been home to courageous Scots Exiles seeking their fortunes in the New World. From early explorers, soldiers and settlers, to politicians, ministers and men of business, the steady hand of the Scots can more clearly be seen in Canada than in any other country on earth outside of Scotland itself.

And wherever they went, they took their love of music and dance, drink and battle tests with them...and called it The Highland Games.


An old Scottish toast, referring to the steadfast longevity of the principal wooden support that held secure the thatched roofs of the old stone dwellings of the Scots was, "Tae Yer Roof Tree!". Without it, a cottage wouldn't stand the elements and as such it was frequently a target of the Landlords who evicted their tenants during the Highland Clearances. In wood scarce Scotland, burning the Roof Tree would ensure the family could not return to their home.


Family of the late David Carr, our Founder, in the front row at the 2017 Cobourg Highland Games

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Our Founder, Davey Carr 2nd from the left

The origins of Cobourg's Highland Games are curiously connected to this old toast. In 1963, risking and mortgaging the very roof over his head to do so, Davey Carr of Clan Kerr founded the town's very first Highland Games and it was so successful that it has been an annual event ever since.

The Cobourg Highland Games Society continues to celebrate David Carr's dream of preserving part of Canada's proud heritage, building upon the strong foundation he has laid for us. May he always be remembered for this gift.

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