Cruinneachadh nam Fineachan
Established 1951

Ciad mìle fàilte
A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Monday 1st July 2024



Gathering of the Clans and Canada Day

2024 GOC poster


Parade Marshall 2024
Ray Jamison


 We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada.  

Nous reconnaissons l'appui financier du gouvernement du Canada.





Gunning Cormier

The Gathering of the Clans has become the traditional way to spend Canada Day in Cumberland County. It is a party, Scottish style, with piping, drumming, highland dancing, highland games, artisans, midway, concerts, food and artisan vendors.

Early in the morning, local and international highland dancers take to the Eaton Park stage for ScotDance sanctioned competitions.  Lovers of Pipes and Drums will enjoy the ACPBA sanctioned competitions on the grounds of the national historic site, Thinkers Lodge.  At the Cyrus Eaton Elementary School,  steely muscled athletes, dressed in their kilts, toss the caber and compete in other heavyweight highland games.  Many of these competitors are Canadian and international champions at their sport.

Parade Results


1st: Chase's Lobster

2nd: Cunningham Construction

3rd: The Elm Tree

Non Commercial

1st: Communities in Bloom

2nd Pugwash Yacht Club

3rd Pugwash District High School

Antique Vehicles

1st: John & Nellie Vanderweil

2nd: Brad Jeffers

3rd: Vic Matheson

Most humorous/original

Communities in Bloom

Saddle horse and saddle pony

Heather K - sea horses


Bill Sandeson & dog on motorbike

 Festival map

GOC events map 2024 update


When the pipe and drum band competitions are over, all musicians form a massed band which will march up Water Street as far as the Village Hall.  Band prizes are then awarded. This will be at about 3pm.

The official opening is at 2 pm in Eaton Park, when local, Provincial and Federal representatives are led to the stage by a bagpiper to officially declare the Gathering of the Clans open!

Enjoy a wide range of food and then take in a wonderful afternoon of entertainment in Eaton Park. Wrap up the day by attending the evening's special stage show featuring the best of Maritime musicians and a spectacular Canada Day fireworks display over the waters of Pugwash Harbour.

Entertainers from the area entertain through the afternoon and evening, with internationally known entertainers headlining for the evening on Eaton Stage in Eaton Park.

2024 Entertainment line-up:
Barry Patriquin and Friends

Band River
Alycia Putnam and family

Recent headliners have included: Ashley MacIsaac, Lennie Gallant, Sons of Maxwell, Scott Macmillan & Brian Doyle, Matt Minglewood, Evans & Doherty and Rawlins Cross.  The bands play until the fireworks are set off at dusk.

The Gathering of the Clans is a gated event.  This allows us to keep the festival going with enough left over to donate to local non profit organizations, such as the hospital auxiliary.  The Gates open at 8am and close at 9pm.  The entrance fee is $8 for adults, $5 for students 5-12yrs and under 5s come in for FREE!  There's lots to see and do for everyone in the family - all this just for 8 bucks!?

There are now a variety of inflatables and games for children of ages.  Purchase a special wristband and play all day for $30.  Early bird special price (up until June 30th) is $25.

Traditional Canada Day events go on at the same time as the Gathering, with the Grand Parade at 10am and stupendous fireworks at dusk (about 10pm).  The Parade winds its way along the village streets lined with throngs of people. We fill our parade with pipe and drum bands, floats, fire trucks, clowns, horses and surprises. Canada Day events are FREE


This Scottish festival started in 1951 when four local men, Bill Wilson, Bill Fillmore, Alex Walsh and Herbert Smith wanted to fund raise for the new local Red Cross Hospital. The Gathering became renowned for its highland dancing competition. In 1957, an Act of Nova Scotia Legislature incorporated the "Gathering of the Clans and Fisherman's Regatta."  They chose to hold the events on Dominion Day (now Canada Day) as there were already holiday events being held that day.

The Gathering of the Clans is held every July 1st.


Everyone is welcome - come out and help us in 2024 celebrate the Gathering of the Clans in beautiful Pugwash by the sea!




Canada Day Themes

For the past several years we have a suggested theme for the Canada Day parade.  There is no requirement to adhere to the theme, but it does go towards the scoring used by the judges.

Past themes have been:

2023 - Proud to Call This Home

2022 - Double Platinum

2021 - cancelled

2020 - cancelled

2019 - Save Our Seas - Recycle!

2018 - In and About Northumberland Strait

2017 - Celebrate Canada 150

2016 - Get Your Tartan On!

2015 - Canada's Flag's 50th Birthday

2014 - East Meets West

2013 - Korean War Veterans

2012 - 1812, The Fight For Canada

2011 - Gathering of the Clans Diamond Jubilee

2010 -

Canada Day

The village of Pugwash has celebrated Canada Day (previously Dominion Day) on July 1st for nearly 150 years.  Celebrations have included parades, family picnics and boat races over the years.  In 1951, the Gathering of the Clans was included as part of those celebrations.

The Grand Parade starts at 10am with a police car and fire trucks leading the way down Church Street to Victoria Street.  They turn right down Victoria Street and right again onto Water Street.  They continue almost to the end of Water Street and turn right again onto King Street and back to where they started.  It takes about an hour for the Parade to go the 2km route through the village. 

It is a condition of the pipe and drum competition that competing bands must participate in the parade, adding to the spectacle!  Commercial and non-commercial groups put together fabulous floats, decorate vehicles or march in the parade.  The Shriners come with their clowns and tiny vehicles.  The antique tractors and vintage cars sparkle as they parade past the flag-waving crowd.  The animals are at the end of the parade with horse drawn carriages, riding horses and ponies and miniature horses.  Sometimes other kinds of critters come along.  There are prizes for the parade entries, including one for "most humorous".

The fireworks at dusk are another important part of Canada Day.  Huge crowds assemble in the park, on the approach roads and bridges and on the water to watch the best fireworks in the County on July 1st!


Firework Sponsors



Funded by the    Finance par le
  Government    gouvernement         
     of Canada         du Canada


Municipality of Cumberland County





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