M20864 | Badge

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1860, 19th century
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Badge (6)
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Keys to History

This badge was worn by male reception personnel during the grand ball on August 27, 1860 celebrating the opening of the Victoria Bridge.

In May 1859, the Legislative Council adopted, in the context of the opening ceremonies for the bridge, a resolution inviting the queen to come to Canada to see the progress and sincerity of her Dominion. The queen declined the invitation, but she delegated her son, the Prince of Wales. The bridge was opened with great pomp, with British North America receiving for the first time a prince of royal blood. This visit was also the first to arouse great enthusiasm, especially among citizens of British origin, for the idea of an "empire" and a "dominion." Organized in honour of the Prince of Wales, the ball attracted almost 6000 persons. Tickets cost $10 for men and $6 for women. It was such a success that a second ball was organized two days later.

  • What

    The care taken in making this badge expresses the importance of the event and illustrates the pomp surrounding it.

  • Where

    The grand ball took place in Montreal in a temporary building constructed for the occasion on St. Catherine Street, between Peel and Drummond Streets.

  • When

    Even though construction of the bridge was completed on January 1, 1860, the official opening only took place in the summer so they could take advantage of the better weather conditions and weather to cross the Atlantic.

  • Who

    The prince arrived with his retinue about ten o'clock in the evening of the grand ball and stayed until four o'clock in the morning. Out of twenty-one dances, he only missed one.