This London Bagpipe Warehouse Is Making Instruments For Pipers Around The World | CBC News


Scott’s Highland Services — co-owned by Jim and Bev Scott — has been around for 45 years and is one of the largest bagpipe wholesalers in southern Ontario that sells the hand-assembled instruments to local stores and globally.

Southern Ontario shop makes bagpipes and other Scottish-themed goods to more than 30 countries

Isha Bhargava · CBC News

· Posted: May 28, 2024 5:00 AM EDT | Last Updated: May 28

This London wholesaler is one-stop shop for all things bagpipesCBC’s James Chaarani and Isha Bhargava got a tour of Scott’s Highland Services, one of southern Ontario’s largest bagpipe wholesaler based in London.

It’s a moment of pride for Jim Scott to hear the sounds of bagpipes made in his London, Ont., shop when he travels abroad.

His handcrafted bagpipes are found in more than 30 countries worldwide, including Scotland, where it’s the national instrument.

Scott’s Highland Services — co-owned by Scott and his wife Bev — has been around since 1979 and is one of the largest bagpipe wholesalers in southern Ontario that sells the hand-assembled instruments and parts both locally and around the world.  

“You have to feel pretty good, don’t you. It puts a smile on your face,” Scott told CBC News.

“We’ve worked for a number of years to get a specific sound. Many pipes today have a booming harsher sound, but other people like myself like a mellower, soft sound, so that’s what makes our products different from others.”

The instrument’s popularity has been surging among young players and bands since the COVID pandemic, said Wayne Cartier, who assembles the pipes at Scott’s Highland Services and tests each one before they’re shipped out.

“We’ve got such an influx of young people that are coming into bagpiping and drumming now and learning everything within that to take it up a notch for the next generation,” he said. 

Wayne Cartier assembles, tests and tunes all the bagpipes at Scott’s Highland Services in London. The wholesaler is one of southern Ontario’s largest and sells to more than 30 countries worldwide. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)”Just like any other instrument, it goes in trends,” he said. “We had a few years where it seemed to be on the decline, but we can see it really starting to pick back up, and that’s all due to the society of musicians in the area trying to get it back into school curriculums.”

Scott has also seen his pipes at the annual Highland Games in Scotland that celebrate Scottish culture and traditions. The games take place in Canadian municipalities as well, with the Embro Highland Games in Oxford County being one of the oldest in Ontario, dating back about 150 years.

Changing market amid cultural shiftsScott’s warehouse specializes in all kinds of bagpipes, ranging from Highlands, small pipes that can blend with other instruments, concert pipes and practice chanters for beginners to learn on. Everything is produced using a computer numerical control (CNC) machine, and as orders come in, his team builds them based on customers’ demands.

Scott — who has played bagpipes since he was six years old — was a piper for dancers at the Highland Games in the 1970s and even recorded a vinyl record of his tunes. While travelling around the world to sell those records, he began selling pipes as well, and eventually decided to open up his own business. 

“As the market changed, we decided that we should start doing it more seriously and shops were asking for it, so we did it to keep up with demands,” he said. 

Small pipes are Scott’s most popular product and are dominating the market in North America and beyond, compared to traditional Highlands, which he believes are due to a cultural shift, he said. 

Jim Scott and his wife Bev have owned Scott’s Highland Services in London, Ont., since 1979. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)”I think it’s happening because many of the players are getting older and the Highland pipe is a very physical instrument, it takes a lot of effort and we’re starting to learn it’s easier to play something smaller,” he said. “You don’t have to blow as hard, and it’s not as loud.”

Scott’s employee, Cartier has played bagpipes for many years and his favourite part is the different memories evoked in audience members when they hear the pipes, along with the relationships he’s built with other pipers who share the same love for the instrument.  

“It’s an amazing feeling to have, it’s a comradery because you know there’s not that many of us within the world that do this, so you get that opportunity to play something that not everybody can,” he said.

“It’s a few minutes of feeling like a rockstar because everybody is there to watch you.”


Isha Bhargava is a multiplatform reporter for CBC News and has worked for Ontario newsrooms in Toronto and London. She loves telling current affairs and human interest stories. You can reach her at

With files from James Chaarani

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