Peter MacInnes was born on August 9, 1909 to Donald MacInnes and his wife, Annie Campbell in the 6th Concession of Kenyon Township in Glengarry County. He married Greta Kippen in 1934 and they had three children, Jean, married to James Campbell, Donald (Bud) deceased, married to Betty Brown and Sheila, married to Wayne Ferguson.
He recalled many times how his love for the bagpipes began. When he was a young lad, a carpenter by the name of Archie MacKinnon came to do some work and he brought his bagpipes along with him. The “bug” hit Peter and he was soon taking lessons from Angus “Katie” McDonald. He became a very competent piper and competed and won medals in the Glengarry Highland Society competitions in the early ’20s.
Peter, along with Donald Kippen, Roy MacDonell and John MacKinnon, formed a small band and played at various social functions in the area. They were known as the Greenfield Pipe Band. They then joined up with Angus Katie in Alexandria and became known as the Highland Society of Alexandria, playing at box lacrosse games in the summer and hockey games in the winter as well as many other functions in the area.
Peter played with the S.D.&G. Pipe Band for approximately nineteen years. He lived in Cornwall at the time and was a faithful member of the band. They were the only full-fledged pipe band at that time and they played at many parades and concerts, and went to camp at Barryfield every year.
He taught many students over the years and realized that the time was right to have a school of piping in the area. He and Johnny Alex Stewart traveled to Montreal as guest pipers at the Glengarry Ball and were introduced to Pipe Major Steve MacKinnon. A lasting friendship between Steve and Peter began. Steve agreed to travel to Maxville by train every weekend to teach; he was assisted by Peter. There were three notable pipers that came out of that first school – Connie (Kippen) Blaney, Beverly Campbell and Herbert Ferguson. This school started in 1942 and was aided by the S.D.G. Regiment with money for tuition, chanters and pipes.
The above-mentioned students were going to competitions at Highland Games in Lachine, Fergus and Embro and the idea of a Highland Games in this area was going through Peter’s head. He and Greta took their daughter, Jean, a highland dancer, and Connie Kippen Blaney to many of these games to compete. He approached W. A. MacPherson, the organizer of the Embro Games, and asked him if he would be interested in coming to Maxville to organize a Games there. MacPherson agreed to come if the idea was accepted by some men in Maxville. Peter approached Doc Gamble, who loved the idea. They went to the Kenyon Agriculture Society and the Maxville Chamber of Commerce and the Glengarry Highland Games was born. Peter’s dream became a reality and from very humble beginnings, it became a world-class event. The first Games was held on July 31, 1948 with Peter serving as the first President.
Peter left Maxville and moved to Ottawa in 1951, but he still traveled to help out at the Games. He taught some students in his home in Ottawa also. Greta and Peter moved back to Maxville in 1974 to retire. He contracted Alzheimer’s Disease and died at Maxville Manor in 1984.