By Lori Bosworth
Torontonicity was invited to attend Medieval Times dinner and tournament on Saturday, March 14, 2015. As the name suggests, Medieval Times takes you back through the centuries to watch The Knights of the Realm perform daring feats, gorgeous Andalusian horses showcase their skills and an impressive display of falconry.
We arrived a half an hour before being seated, which gave us time to look at the horses up close and peruse the gift shop. Once we turned in our tickets, we each received a crown, which signified which section we would be sitting in. Because we had received the King’s Royalty package, we had a complimentary group photo taken before the show with a copy provided for each of my party of four. Our package also included a commemorative program, front row seating and a DVD. You could order drinks from the bar (not included in the package) before the show. At 4:15 p.m., we were ushered into the arena according to the colours on our crowns. We were seated in the Red and Yellow section in the front row.
Our “wench”, Catelyn, quickly arrived to take our drink orders. We ordered a bottle of red wine for the party. Soon after, we were served Tomato Bisque, the first course of our four-course meal. One member of my party (*cough*my brother-in-law) requested utensils. Catelyn obliged by bringing all of us forks and knives, but begged us “not to tell the King.” In all fairness, the soup was in a large pewter cup with a handle so that was easily enjoyed without a spoon. And I must say, the Tomato Bisque tasted like a well-prepared homemade soup; quite delicious. We were then offered a piece of garlic bread as the next course. Although Catelyn was short one piece of bread for our party, she quickly returned with an extra piece of bread. While we were being served the first and second courses, the “King” was introduced and made announcements about what we were about to see.
The Knights of the Realm and their horses then paraded into the arena. It was a glorious display of pageantry!
One of the first performances was an Andalusian horse displaying his dressage skills. The horse’s routine was a lengthy five minutes, which really made one focus on the beauty of his skills. The rider guided this lovely stallion to demonstrate his trotting and once the horse was finished, he took a well-deserved bow. What a majestic animal! The Andalusian horses that appear in the show are bread in Texas.
At this point, we were served the next course, a roasted chicken with baked potato and corn on the cob. The portion of chicken was very generous. In fact, I couldn’t finish mine. The chicken, while fresh, could have used a few more seasonings or perhaps some gravy to enhance it. The baked potato was fine. Not being a lover of corn, I opted out, but I’m told that it was tasty. There are obviously challenges of serving a large crowd, ensuring that everyone receives each course at roughly the same time.
The next entertainment was a falconer demonstrating falconry with, you guessed it: a falcon. The falconer guided the bird of prey to fly over certain sections of the audience. I gasped a bit when I saw the bird flying low over our heads, but it seemed to know what it was doing. After a few flights around the arena, the falconer got it to stop by waving a cord with food on it, which the bird devoured. Falconry is an impressive sport and definitely one of the highlights of the Medieval Times performance.
Now it was time for the jousting games to begin. Each section has its own knight and horse: ours was the Red and Yellow knight and horse. You are asked to cheer for your horse and for the horse of your neighbouring section. The knights and horses engage in a number of competitive games to showcase their skills. One competition involves the knight holding his sword and trying to place it in a small ring, all while riding his horse at a fair clip. Other competitions involve dashing swordplay among the knights while mounted on their horses. The athleticism of both knights and horses is remarkable.
The final course, dessert, consisted of a baked apple pastry. While the crust was crispy and flaky, I would have preferred more apple filling as it was a bit sparse.
We loved Medieval Times in Toronto; the performance really does whisk you back to the Middle Ages.
Tickets are $64.95 plus tax. The King’s Royalty upgrade package is an additional $20 and includes front row seating or second row seating in the centre section. a group photo, commemorative program, banner and DVD.