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."

jeanwatson1Started 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.

As background, the Scots went through years of humiliation, their rental lands taken from them, stripped for 36 years of ttieir language, music, and tartans, under penalty of death or deportation, 250,000 Scots left their homeland, many in duress, to settle in 'the Colonies'. Upon arriving in Canada, many went into bondage to help support themselves and their families. Mocked for their language and mannerisms, the Scottish determination to succeed proved undaunted.

In response, they established schools for both boys and girls, churches, towns, engaged in import and export industries, succeeded in mining, fishing, lumbering and the railways, and rose in political accomplishments from their humble beginnings.

April 6th in Scotland is the date of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which states in part:

"...It is in truth, not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself..."

In Canada, Tartan Day, April 6th, Canadians are encouraged to wear tartan in commemoration of the contributions of Scots and their descndants to the fabric of our society. Tartan Day demonstrates how one can rise above hardships and cruelty with faith in God, determination and dedication.


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