Banner Image: Black and white photo of Guelph Pipe Band in front of City Hall circa 1922. Pictured, left to right: Pipe Major Jim Hill, Pipe Cpl. Bill Flanigan, Jim McHaffie, Alex Livingstone, Jimmy Ferguson, Art Corstorphine, Tom Patterson, John Corstorphine, Dave Fulton, and two drummers (unknown). 1992.33.1, Guelph Museums
The creation of a local pipe band in 1922 was inspired by the Guelph Burns Club (est. after 1859), which celebrated poet Robbie Burns in the local Scottish diaspora. Officially formed in the fall of 1923 by Pipe Major Jim Hill, Guelph Pipe Band was funded by the Victoria-Guelph Chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (est. 1909).
In service with the Highland Light Infantry during the Second World War, Guelph Pipe Band Major Art Corstorphine led the Canadian bands as they marched into Berlin in 1945. After the war, Guelph Pipe Band competed regularly in the Ontario highland games circuit, led by Pipe Major Bob Whittle. In 1968, led by Pipe Major Edward Neigh, the Band competed in the World’s Pipe Band Contest at Grangemouth, Scotland, placing fifth in their class. As a competitive soloist, Neigh was one of the first non-Scottish players to win the Dunvegan medal, a prize sought by pipers around the world.
In 1970, the Pipe Band captured the North American Championship in Grade II, and, one year later, they won Champion Supreme and were promoted to Grade I in Ontario. In 1976, the Band won the North American Pipe Band Championship (Maxville, Ontario) and, in 1981, they were the first Canadian band to win the Intercontinental Pipe Band Championship, held at the CNE in Toronto.
Originally wearing the Davidson tartan on loan from the 48th Highlanders of Toronto, Guelph Pipe Band adopted the Royal Stewart tartan in 1959. Band members now wear the McCrae tartan in honour of Lt. Col. John McCrae.
Today, Guelph Pipe Band, led by Pipe Major Tyler Bridge, is one of the top competition bands in Ontario.