May 19, 2006

Piping Mecca?

Ever since I came to Toronto from Scotland in 1988 I have been struck by something: you could well hear more good piping more often in Canada’s largest city than anywhere in the world.

Just about every evening you can turn on the local or national television news and hear piping at a police occasion, a funeral, or a wedding. In warm weather there are pipers busking in various locations. What’s more, Canadians genuinely seem to like piping. I can’t recall anyone ever saying to me here that they dislike the pipes. In fact, they generally say the love them.

The 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipe Band traditionally opens every Toronto Maple Leafs hockey season, and, similarly, the Toronto Police Pipe Band plays at every Toronto Blue Jays home opener. Torontonians know that and love it.

That’s not to say by any means that there are more or more excellent pipers in Toronto than Glasgow or Edinburgh. I actually busked for a few years on Princes Street. I’m just observing that you’re probably more likely to hear good piping in Toronto – without having to seek it out – than in those places.

The pipes are a customary part of the overall social fabric of Toronto.





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