Black Watch

What is Black Watch?

Black Watch events are a biennial occasion and have become a beloved tradition in the STS community. They are designed to be a social occasion for parents and members of the School community as well as to help raise funds  for specific needs that otherwise may not be fulfilled for students at STS. 

STS parents through the Volunteer Association (now POSTS) organized the first Black Watch event in 1989. Thanks to countless parents volunteer hours over the years, Black Watch has raised over $1 million that has enhanced student learning at STS. For example, in 2004, $90,000 was raised to build the Forever Woods, a place where children play and our community members can enjoy quiet reflection. In 2006, $81,000 built new campus trails around the perimeter of the campus where students enjoy cross-country skiing and running. In 2008, $145,000 was raised to upgrade the cafeteria and provide students with healthier food options – the cafeteria was then renamed The Black Watch Bistro. With the $113,000 raised in 2010, the Peter B. Ditchburn Library underwent a major overhaul adding a breakout room, new carpets, fresh paint and shelving, all to provide a better place for students to study or relax and read. At Black Watch in 2012, $158,000 was raised for Fine and Performing Arts programmes, including choral risers, a band shell, lights, curtains, an LCD projector and audio equipment for the C.A. Smith Arts Centre, as well as computers and percussion equipment. Black Watch 2014, Inside Out, raised $145,000 to complete the funds required to build Aspen Lodge, the new forest learning centre, which opened in the fall of 2014.  In 2017, the Momentum event, organized by POSTS in conjunction with the STS Alumni Association, saw nearly 400 people attend and raised $160,000 to help complete the funds required to build the new Elementary and Fine Arts wings which opened in late 2017. 

Why Black Watch?

Black Watch is the name of the tartan in the girls’ uniform at STS. It was chosen by a founder and benefactor of Tweedsmuir: An Academic School for Girls, Dr. Mary. J. Dover. Mary (Cross) Dover was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Canadian Women’s Army Corps during WW II. The Corps did not have a band so when Lieutenant-Colonel Dover wished to have a parade through the streets of Montreal she asked the Black Watch Regiment stationed there if it would provide the music. The Regiment obliged and the generosity was never forgotten by the Lieutenant-Colonel. The tartan also appealed to Mary Dover’s Scottish heritage. She was a granddaughter of Colonel James Macleod, founder of Calgary. The Black Watch tartan is also known as a “free tartan” in that anyone is permitted to wear it (unlike, for example, the Balmoral Tartan which is restricted to members of the British royal family). Mary Dover was the guest-of-honour at the first Black Watch Ball in 1989 and at the second in 1991.

Black Watch Timeline:

April 26, 2019 - "Garden Gala". Funds raised: $87,000 to build amazing outdoor learning enhancements including an Outdoor Education learning campsite, educational trail signage, athletic bleachers, and an outdoor scoreboard.

April 29, 2017 - "Momentum". Funds raised: $160,000, in cooperation with the STS Alumni Association, for the Inspiring Facilities campus expansion project.

April, 2016 - Black Watch deferred.

April 25, 2014 - “Inside Out”. Funds raised: $145,000 for Aspen Lodge.

April 20, 2012 - “Glam”. Funds raised: $150,000 for the Fine and Performing Arts Program.

April 30, 2010 - “Renew 2010”. Funds raised: $136,000 for the Peter B. Ditchburn Library.

April 10, 2008 - “Food for Thought”. Funds raised: $145,000 for the Black Watch Bistro (cafeteria).

February 10, 2006 - “Heart to Heart”. Funds raised: $81,000 for campus trail rejuvenation.

April 17, 2004 - “Spring”. Funds raised: $90,000 for Forever Woods.

*March 10, 2001 - “A Clearly Canadian Evening”

*February 27, 1999 - “Safari Party”

*February 22, 1997 - “A Night in Hollywood”

*February 25, 1995 - “The Embassy Ball”

*February 6, 1993 - “Dinner with the Captain”. Funds raised: $21,000.

*February 22, 1991 - “Roaring 20s”. Funds raised: $13,500.

*April 15, 1989 - "Salute to Scotland". Funds raised: $13,000.

*From the STS Archives. A special thank you is extended to Gordon Freight and Peter Ditchburn for providing this information.