Toronto, Ontario, Canada

» Saturday, January 14, 2006«

The fifth annual symposium on Entertaining in the Canadas in the 18th & 19th centuries
» «

A day-long celebration of music, food and dance to be held on January 14, 2006 beginning with a symposium focusing on entertaining in the Georgian Era and culminating in a lavish period banquet and ball in costume
at Historic Fort York in Toronto

Fifth annual -- Saturday, January 14, 2005 -- Well, if you missed the fourth annual Queen Charlotte's Birthday Ball, you are not out of luck because you can still make the fifth annual! This year we will once again have illustrated lectures about Canadian society in the Regency and Georgian eras, dance workshops lead by Dancing Mistress Melanie Garrison with the assistance of the Fort York Volunteer Historic Dancers and of course, the Banquet and costume Ball. Of course dancing will be to live music of the period, properly played by proper musicians on proper period instruments, although lead by the slightly improper Ken Purvis.

The Schedule:

12:30pm to 1:00 pm Check-in and Registration
1:00pm to 2:00 pm Presentation: Garrison Theatre with Dr. Leslie O'Dell
2:00pm to 2:15 pm Break with Refreshments
2:15pm to 3:30 pm English Country Dance Workshop -- learn authentic 17th and 18th centrury Country dances, no partners required.
3:30pm to 4:30pm Port tasting with LCBO consultant
4:30pm to 5:30pm Break (changing rooms will be provided for those wishing to dress up for the evening.)
5:30pm to 7:00pm Georgian Buffet Supper -- "A Profusion of Every Delicacy"
6:00pm to 6:30pm Theatrical presentation -- Fort York's Garrison Amateurs will be presenting a brief arrangement of four scenes from George Colman's comedy "The Poor Gentleman". First performed at Covent Garden in 1801, a production of "The Poor Gentleman" was mounted by a group of British and Canadian Officers in Montreal in 1815.
7:00pm to 10:00pm "An Elegant Ball" - period costumes are encouraged

The Banquet: "A profusion of every delicacy" was the term used to describe the midnight supper served at one Queen's Birthday ball in York (Toronto) in January of 1817. In re-creating the supper for Queen Charlotte's Ball, the organizers have specifically chosen foods, their methods of preparation and the manner in which they are served, to reflect the Georgian culinary style. Vegetarian selections will be made available to those who request it when registering. In preparing this menu account was taken of the extent of the British empire at the time -- the sun really didn't set on it -- as well as the season. Expect humble parsnips, potatoes, onions and rutabagas from local larders cheek by jowl with the products of the more exotic colonies -- mullicatawny, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, dates and almonds from the furthest reaches of the empire -- perhaps even a (gasp!) pineapple!

An Elegant Ball: The dances in the workshop and at the ball are taken from original dance manuals of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Some are the actual dances mentioned in diary excerpts and newspaper accounts of balls from the period, e.g. Jupon Rouge and Tars of the Victory.

English Country Dance of the late 18th and early 19th century differs from the modern Cecil Sharp - Playford style of dance frequently practiced today.  Originally, only one couple began the dance, and progressed through the figures until there were two active couples, then three, then four and so on until all the couples are involved.  At Fort York, dances will be danced in smaller sets, in this historic style, and not in "take hands four from the top" style. [here are some photos from previous balls -- third annual, second annual, first annual]

Registrants will receive a comprehensive package of background material, dance instructions, and recipes from the programme.


  • Dance Workshop and Lecture (12:30pm to 3:30pm) -- $25.00 per person
  • Port Tasting only (3:30pm to 4:30pm) -- $20.00 per person
  • Dinner and Ball (ncludes Theatrical Presentation "The Poor Gentleman") -- $65.00 per person
  • OR Purchase the whole day $95.00 per person -- that's a saving of $15.00!
  • Call to register -- (416) 392 6907, mail us or stop in at the Fort, 100 Garrison Road, Toronto, ON M5V 3K9

Payment can be made in any of the following ways:

  • by cheque,VISA, MasterCard or AMEX
  • by Interac (in person at the Fort only)
  • if paying by cheque make payable to "Treasurer, City of Toronto"

Payment must be received in order to confirm your reservation

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