Pipe Major William John “Bill” Gilmour was born, raised and educated in Toronto, ON. It was also in Toronto where he began his long piping career. He was ten years old when his father took him to meet Pipe Sergeant Archie Dewar of the 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipe Band.
At the time, P/Sgt Dewar was teaching piping at the 48th Highlanders Club on Church Street. Although there was no history of piping in the family, young Bill thought that he would try the lessons for a while. The “while” was all it took for him to be hooked and so began his long association with the great highland bagpipe.
Bill describes Dewar as an excellent teacher, writer and leader and someone that knew just about everything about piping. Bill spent only four or five months with the practice chanter before he went on to the pipes. He progressed rapidly and in
1948, at the age of eleven began competing. Over the next few years Bill competed in various amateur events on the Highland Game circuit in Ontario including the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville. At age fifteen he began competing as a
professional. Bill won a number of major events over the years but regrettably did not keep preciserecords of his successes; his characteristically modest summation “...I did alright”.
Updated from an Ottawa Branch newsletter originally published March 2005.