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An Unexpected Journey to... Medieval Times

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 13:53

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore took on the daunting task of taking a 10-year-old and a 27-year-old to experience Medieval Times for the first time. Here are the results.

For the last 15 years I have walked, cycled and driven past the elegant “Arts, Crafts and Hobbies Building” at the CNE. That building now houses Toronto’s Medieval Times.

I had questions. What happens in there? Are wrongdoers drawn and quartered? Do knights joust and battle? Do maidens and wench’s pine for chivalry? What is this re-creation of the middle ages warfare and pageantry really all about?

With my 10-year-old and 27-year-old in tow, I set off to experience this cultural juggernaut for the first time on Saturday for a sold out 4:30 p.m. show, with well over a thousand people on hand to enjoy dinner and a tournament.

After entering the building, right off the bat, we were given paper crowns and had a picture taken with the Medieval Times Falconer. The falconer actually performs a very impressive show with this real bird in the middle of the event, but wow, a falconer… interesting career choice.

Up next, a jaunt through the main hall of the building. Here you will find high ceilings, brightly coloured flags, weaponry, a variety of items that glow in the dark, wildly flavored slushes for the kids, and a fully stocked bar for the adults. You also start to get a flavor for the show as maidens, maids, squires, knights and wenches whisk by you to take their places in the production. The hall in Toronto leads to The Royal Court where rowdy attendees are filing in.

Here is an overview

This is the largest quote unquote “Castle” in the Medieval Times family, with 8 other locations in the states including Florida, California, Texas, DC, and South Carolina.

First impressions are big for me, and so the dark arena filled with 1400 people eating food with their hands, drinking beer from giant steins and wielding glow in the dark swords, was a sight I hadn’t seen before in Toronto. It was on caliber with events held in other major theme parks like Disney or Universal Studios.

Before long, the sand surface of the court is teaming with knights, beautiful horses and of course, royalty.

While you are served ribs, a half chicken, soup and garlic bread, all to be eaten with your own hands (no utensils), the games begin. Each section of the arena is colour coordinated to link up with a knight on the ground. Everything from gaming to jousting to all out battle occurs over the next 90 minutes, and it will bring out the medieval battle thirst in the best of you. The horses end up being some of the biggest stars of the show.

There is a real sense of wonder for the first 30 minutes of the Medieval Times tournament. The 10-year-old at my side loved the falcon, cheering on his knight, the tomato soup, and buying a wooden battle axe at the end of the show in the gift shop for 14 bucks. The 27-year-old had seen Jim Carrey’s “The Cable Guy” and used the Medieval Times scenes in that film as a reference point, and like me, he loved the pageantry of opening 30 minutes.

This is really an event for kids, and when they announce the birthday parties mid-way through the show, you will realize just how many kids are in the audience.

Medieval Times is a lot of fun. They switch the show up every four years, and as an adult, that’s about how often I might attend. The

level of showmanship, business savvy and venue are really impressive. for showtimes and tickets.

Thank you to all of you who contributed during our Early Spring Campaign.

You are the reason we are able to return to our award-winning programming.


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