The suggestion came under the guise of “it’ll be fun for the girls to experience”, but when I hung up the phone I knew my husband couldn’t wait to witness the sword fighting and horsemanship of Medieval Times for himself. Beer, wenches, armour, medieval sword-fighting – this is the stuff of men’s fantasies.
So off we went, last Saturday night, to let our girls experience Toronto’s Medieval Times dinner and tournament. I found my husband’s excitement over the whole outing to be quite amusing but it was the melt down that would occur half-way through the show that ended up being the highlight of my night.
The Experience (warning: mild spoiler alert if you read on)
Upon entering the castle and presenting our tickets, things started to look and feel medieval. Suits of armour and swords were abundant and the staff were dressed in attire from ‘the times’ and addressing everyone as “My Lord” and “My Lady”. We were now in medieval Spain (circa 11th century) and about to enjoy a feast hosted by King Don Carlos in his castle.
We would be cheering for the Black & White Knight we were told – one of 6 knights that would be competing in the tournament – and were presented with our corresponding b&w crowns before having our photos taken with the King himself.
Once inside we headed to the bar for a round of beer and pink slushies. In no time the place was packed with people wearing their coloured crowns and purchasing souvenir swords, dragons, princess headbands and glow-in-the-dark ‘things’.
There were a few short knighting ceremonies honouring those celebrating birthdays and then the Lord Chancellor (a.k.a our master of ceremonies for the evening) appeared on a balcony to welcome us all and send us off to our seats to begin the feast and the Tournament of Knights.
Settling into our seats the girls quickly acquired banners and flags to help cheer on their B&W Knight and anxiously awaited his arrival. With royal introductions from the Lord Chancellor the King then paraded in followed by his Knights and their Squires before settling into his throne.
We were treated to a flight of the royal falcon soaring just over the tops of our heads and Spanish stallions showcasing their skills and beauty. But then, our feast was suddenly interrupted by a visitor with a message from the King of the North seeking to throw the 2 kingdoms into battle.
And so began the competition among our 6 Knights to determine who would earn the honour of defending his King. The Knights jousted, combated and displayed their skills of sword-fighting and horsemanship to a crowd eager to cheer them on.
I looked over at my husband as he watched the jousting. There was a huge smile on his face. He was re-living some childhood fantasy in his mind. I looked at my girls. Both were madly waving their flags and screaming for their B&W Knight. Everyone was thoroughly enjoying the show.
And then this happened…..
The B&W Knight was defeated. And then, my 4-year old burst into tears.
No, she didn’t think it was real. She wasn’t lamenting the loss of a brave knight. She was DEVASTATED to find herself on the losing team. The B&W Knight, our Knight, her Knight-in-shining-armour fell off his horse in the first round. This was NOT the stuff of her fantasies.
I tried to console her. I tried to explain that ‘someone’ had to win and that it was all just meant to be fun but she was having none of it. A full meltdown ensued. She threw her arms up in the air and yelled up at the ceiling (to the Gods??) “Why?, why did the B&W Knight have to die first?”…..”Why is this happening to me?” She was angry and threw her banner on the ground. It was creating a bit of a scene really and I knew I needed to calm and quiet her but it was also highly amusing to me that she was such a poor sport. In her mind, our Knight did her a grave injustice putting her the losing team so quickly and he deserved the deadly blow that ended his night.
My 6-year-old caught on quickly and simply jumped from one bandwagon to the next as each Knight was eliminated until finally only one Knight was left standing to defend his King. Only then did my 4-year-old see the light. Now we were all on the same side, cheering for the King’s Champion Knight to defeat the evil visitor from the north.
Our new Knight was triumphant (phew!) and all was well again in the Kingdom and in the world of my 4-year-old. She still holds a grudge – her B&W banner was left behind on the floor, on purpose – but she had a great time in the end and her new princess head piece is making up for the disappointment in her Knight ;)
We all had a very fun night and the girls have been talking about it for days.
Medieval Times is located in Toronto’s Exhibition Place and has several other locations in our neighbouring country to the south. Tickets can be purchased via their website.
The four-course meal is eaten medieval style (with your hands) and includes tomato bisque, Castle bread, roasted chicken, BBQ spare rib, herb-basted potato, a pastry of the Castle for dessert and beverages.
Tips to Enhance your Visit
If you’re planning a trip to Medieval Times while visiting Toronto be sure to purchase your tickets in advance. The show is popular with locals celebrating special occasions, visiting school group and tourists alike. Search for promotions online first. Medieval Times is often listed on group coupon sites.
And finally, be sure to ‘prep’ your young ones on the etiquette of being a good sport. No one wants to brave a medieval meltdown mid-show.