Tartan Day in Canada, April 6th, is now a yearly event. The Idea of “Tartan Day” started 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:

“We establish a day called ‘Tartan Day’. This really is a day chosen to market Scottish Heritage from the most visible ways. The wearing of the Scottish attire, particularly in areas where the kilt isn’t ordinarily worn, i.e.: work, play or worship.”

Started originally as “Tartan Day in Nova Scotia’,” Jean Watson approached each provincial Legislative Assembly in Canada, in addition to other Scottish-cultural societies across Canada, to help get such a date based.

Following ten years of work, Tartan Day in Canada was approved in each Provincial Assembly from sea to sea from Premier’s proclamation or Members’ Bill, the last being in the National Assembly in Québec City, where it was eventually proclaimed in December 2003 — 16 years after it the first such proclamation in Nova Scotia.

As background, the Scots went through years of embarrassment, their leasing lands taken from them, stripped for 36 decades of ttieir language, songs, 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 speech and mannerisms, the Scottish determination to triumph proved undaunted.

In response, they established schools for both boys and girls, churches, cities, engaged in import and export businesses, succeeded in fishing, mining, lumbering and the railways, and rose in political achievements 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 actually, 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 invited to wear tartan in commemoration of the contributions of Scots and their descndants into the fabric of the society. Tartan Day illustrates how to rise above hardships and cruelty with faith in God, dedication and determination.


Here are the Provinces of Canada, in sequence, 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