M4048 | Citizen's ball in honour of the Prince of Wales, Montreal, Aug. 27, 1860

Citizen's ball in honour of the Prince of Wales, Montreal, Aug. 27, 1860
1860, 19th century
Coloured ink on paper
Gift of Miss Hortense Cartier
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  event (534) , History (944) , Program (3)
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Keys to History

Helen Richmond Young kept this program and a pink silk dinner menu as souvenirs of the Citizen's Ball in honour of the Prince of Wales. The admission was high, but 6,000 people attended. Miss Young's excitement is apparent in her journal:

"It was my first public Ball. I cannot tell you how very excited we were. We had made-over dresses, with Aunty Mary to help, and they were laced through with eyelet holes. Nothing ever happened before in our lives which caused so much excitement."

Prince Albert arrived at the ball at ten o'clock that evening and remained until four in the morning. He danced 20 of the 21 dances.

Helen Richmond Young, journal, McCord Museum of Canadian History archives, cited in Donald MacKay, The Square Mile: Merchant Princes of Montreal (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1987), p. 50.

  • What

    This was a much-cherished souvenir from what must have been the social event of the season. The ball was so successful another was held two days later.

  • Where

    This temporary pavilion was built in downtown Montreal. Within the week it was dismantled.

  • When

    The Citizen's Ball was held on the evening of August 27, 1860. The dances included quadrilles, galops, lancers and waltzes.

  • Who

    Montreal architect A. B. Taft designed the pavilion to hold 10,000. The orchestra was on a raised platform and surrounding galleries held the "select" guests.