By Sharilene Rowland
What a thrill to attend the Hats & Horseshoes Party at the 2015 Queen’s Plate in Toronto on July 5, 2015.
The Queen’s Plate began in 1859, initiated by Sir Casimir Gzowski, President of the Toronto Turf Club, with the first race taking place on June 27, 1860 at the Carleton Racetrack in Toronto. The prize of 50 guineas was awarded by Queen Victoria. In 1902, after the passing of Queen Victoria, the race became the King’s Plate up until 1952 when Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne and it was renamed the Queen’s Plate.
This renowned historical race has been running at Woodbine Racetrack (old and new location) since 1956. What a party! And what an excuse to go all out with fashion and most of all, hats! Hats and fascinators in all sizes, shapes and colours were in full attendance that day on both men and women. Fortunately for me, one of the women in our group had a collection of beautiful hand-crafted fascinators that we could choose from to wear for the day.
I was very grateful and loved my fascinator for the day; however, I will be investing in my own for next year’s Hats & Horseshoes Party!! And I know just the woman to make it: Anne Livingston in the Beaches in Toronto.
This once a year party is not to be missed and free to all 18 plus. Held right next to the walking ring where throughout the day you can get a glimpse of the horses prior to the big race of the day, the party featured live entertainment, gourmet food samplings, photo booths, candy stations and of course, a full lineup of beverages.
For a people-watcher like me, it was out of this world. From fashions from the 1920s to modern day dresses featuring elegance, timelessness and eccentricity, it was delightful to see them paired with just the hat.
The day was not just about picking the next Queen’s Plate champion, taking pictures, socializing, fun and fashion, it was also focused on bring awareness to breast cancer. The message “RETHINK at the Races” was seen throughout the venue. Rethink Breast Cancer was the official charity partner of the 2015 Queen’s Plate.
A big shout out goes to the FLARE Magazine tent! Not only were they truly pushing the message of Breast Cancer awareness through their décor and RETHINK photo opp, they really went all out to pamper their attendees and ensure everyone had an amazing day.
From the entrance where you could play a game of chess on a huge board with pieces at least a foot or so in height or just get a great photo to the delicious, free Haagen-Dazs ice cream being offered, FLARE pulled out all the stops for the 2015 Queen’s Plate.
The inside of the tent was magical (and air conditioned!) and featured delicious food samplings continually being served by cheerful, gracious staff, music playing, cocktails from charming bartenders, pastry tables and portraits sketched of guests in their beautiful outfits. For those ladies who did not have time to completely prep themselves before arriving, you could get your hair done at the Pixii Salon station, and have a one-of-a-kind hairpiece made with flowers by two talented young ladies while you waited (all of five minutes). To finish off your look, you could head over to the Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics table to have your nails done! Seriously, FLARE knows how to pamper and party.
With all this pampering in the FLARE tent, did we miss the races? No, indeed since the tent was set up next to the walking ring for close up viewing of the horses, monitors were all around the tent to watch and cheer each race and of course, betting stations were also available for placing your bets along with knowledgeable staff to assist if needed.
My friends and I had the most amazing day even though none of us picked the winning horse for the main race. I’d highly recommend attending this annual event! Start planning your outfit and fascinator for the 157th running of the Queen’s Plate in 2016.
Congratulations to Shaman Ghost, ridden by Rafael Hernandez and trained by Brian Lynch for placing first in the 2015 Queen’s Plate, Danish Dynaformer for placing 2nd and Conquest Boogaloo for placing third! Shaman Ghost paid $8.60 to win, $5.00 to place and $3.20 to show. The exactor paid $28.30 while the triactor paid $156.60
See you at the races!