On October 2, 1758, the first Grand Assembly in this country met in a small wooden building in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This was to be the birth of parliamentary democracy in Canada. There were twenty-two men chosen to represent people from all over Nova Scotia. Although they were all white, protestant, male, and land owners, the democratic process nevertheless grew from that point on, with Nova Scotia leading the way. Read more here.
Nova Scotia is marking this very important historic date with a year long celebration of events called “Democracy 250”. You can view the schedule of events here. There are all kinds of things going on, one of which we have been privileged to attend.
On Thursday evening an 18th century costume ball was held at the World Trade and Convention centre in Halifax, in their grand ballroom. Although I don’t have the exact numbers I would say that almost 400 people attended the glittering $125.00 per person event. Well worth the money my husband and I agree. Most of the attendees threw themselves happily into the flavour of the evening, the majority arriving in a beautiful array of wonderful and authentic costuming and uniforms.
The hour long reception prior to dinner, gave all a chance to chat and admire the dress of their compatriots. The beverages flowed freely and the appetizers were delicious. These were served by the most conscientious of white gloved staff until the piper called us all to dinner. The decor was lovely, the tables elegant and dressed with pristine white table coverings and silver center pieces. The food, which consisted of a five or six course meal, was very period and yummy and included a delicious harvest squash soup, roast pork, blueberry dessert and finished off with a glass of Port. Although I’ve not often sampled Port, my husband rather likes it, and it did seem a fitting way to end the meal.
The King ( George II at the time) was toasted liberally throughout dinner and the conversation was lively and vigorous. The music was provided by the Nova Scotia Symphony which performed in 18th century style. This added a terrific ambiance to the evening. A re-enactment group gave a lovely demonstration of 18th century dance, and the lesson after-wards was greeted with much enthusiasm by the guests, the dance floor being filled to capacity.
We stayed until the Symphony packed up and went home. Although the evening ended early, (it was a Thursday night), I can’t say when I’ve enjoyed myself more. Our compliments go to the organizers, whose skill and attention to detail really made this an awesome evening.
It was our first time out in our costumes and even though we felt we were quite prepared, there were some challenges to overcome. Some of these were getting a five hoop skirt into a modern day car, using an escalator or a ladies room in such a big dress, and keeping track of the large fore and aft hat. These were taken in good stride and indeed, added a sense of hilarity to the occasion. All in all, I would say we managed quite well and are ready to have another go at it anytime!
“To the King!”