"The Livingstone" started as an idea by William Livingstone Sr. to help promote better piping in North America. Bill Livingstone Sr. was born in Ayrshire, Scotland in 1908 and his fondest wish as a youngster was to play the pipes. The wages that he earned working in the pits as a young boy paid for lessons that grew into a love of piping for many years. "Old Bill" immigrated to Canada in 1929 where he settled in Coppercliffe, Ontario working in the smelter as a general foreman. During the forty years he spent in this northern community he formed pipe bands and taught many aspiring pipers. During WWII Bill was Pipe Major of the Canadian Forces Pipe Band stationed in Cape Breton. William Livingstone Sr's. knowledge of pipes, piping and music was unsurpassed, always making himself available to young pipers. He had a story to share about every tune.
In 1978 the first "Livingstone" was organized by Bill, helped by his family and friends. The following year the Niagara-Hamilton Branch of the PPBSO took over the organizing of the contest. The format included a March, Strathspey, Reel, Hornpipe and Jig played in the afternoon with the best eight passing through to the evening contest. In 1984 the format changed to include Piobaireachd in the afternoon and the MSRH/J in the evening.
Over the years different formats and venues have been tried but at the same time trying to keep "Old Bill's" dream alive. William Livingstone Sr. has left a legacy to the piping community by dreaming big and starting this prestigious contest.