By Invitation Only: Dance, Confederation and Reconciliation exhibit

Added 25th Jun 2021 by Amy Bowring / Last update 25th Jun 2021

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By Invitation Only: Dance, Confederation and Reconciliation exhibit photos
Curators: Amy Bowring, Troy Emery Twigg

Items from left to right:
Lady Frances Monck, Montreal, 1864
Photo: William Notman, © McCord Museum, I-12070.1

My Canadian Leaves: An Account of a Visit to Canada in 1864-1865 by Frances E. O. Monck, published by Richard Bentley and Son, London, 1891
Frances Monck Portfolio, Dance Collection Danse, 725.2017-1-1

Miss Mercy Coles, Montreal, 1864
Photo: William Notman, © McCord Museum, I-13486.1
Photos: DCD

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DANCE COLLECTION DANSE PRESENTS M , Canadian Leaves : A. Aucunt of » Vnitte Counla in zlég - elis Reminiscenes of Conada in 1964 By Mercy Coles BY INVITATION ONLY Dance , Confederation and Reconciliation By Lady Frances Monck Lady Frances Monde was the sister of Sir Charles Stanley Monck , the Governor General of Canada prior to and following Confederation . She visited her brother at the time of the Confederation talks and recorded a journal that was published by Richard Bentley and Son in 1891. During her travels through the British North American colonies , she attended several balls including those during the Confederation conference in Quebec City Mercy Coles , daughter of PEl delegate George Coles , attended the Grand Ball in Charlottetown on September 8 , 1864 and then accompanied her parents to Quebec City for the conference there . She nearly fainted while getting ready for the Governor's Ball on October 14. She was attended to by Dr. Charles Tupper , premier of Nova Scotia , who treated her sore throat and fever , it is believed she had diptheria . She missed several of the festivities but received visitors who kept her well informed . Colonel Grey is gentlemanly . I hike Dr Tupper Mr Coles asked to be introduced to me , and when I said we were going away , he got introduced to Dick , and said to me , Silence means assent , so come and dance " He does steps , and gives you his hand with a bow of the head and a shake of the body . He said to me , Tma sort of fellow who talks away and forgets to dance . " He said , We gentlemen don't know how to decide between Mrs Dundas and Lady M , they are both so pretty and nice . " - Tomorrow night is the Bachelors ' Ball , given by six rich bachelors in the Parliament House - they are lumberers and merchants . It is to be select . " The invitation has on it " Quadrilles nine , " which does not mean only quadrilles . Monday afternoon , October 17 The Ball I believe was rather a failure as far as the delegates are concerned . The Quebec people never introduced the ladies nor gentlemen to any partners nor never seen whether they had any supper or not . The Col Grays are both rather indignant at the way their daughters were treated Miss Gray and Miss Tupper came to see me this morning then came to the conclusion I had not missed very much yet . Saturday , October 15th - The Delegate's Ball , Quebec In wind and rain we set off for the ball This ball , you know was given in the Parliament House by the Ministry to the delegates from the Maritime Provinces , who are come here to arrange about a United Kingdom of Canada It was arranged that I was to follow the GG with the Prime Minister Sir E. Teche , and to dance the first quadrille with him , but Str E is so very old that he can't dance , and he would not take me in for fear of having to dance with me , so he walked in first alone then came the GG then John A with me , and then Cartier and Mrs. Godley - Between their being late and old Sir E. hiding behind a screen to escape from me the first quadrille was upset The GG . Hunced with Madame Cartier , and I with a New Brunswick Minister Colonel Grey by name The Ministers were very angry about my being left without my proper partner , and made apologies , but poor Sir E. is about seventy , so I think he was right to hide ! I danced with Dr. Tupper Prime Minister of Nova Scotia The 25th string band played in one of the rooms ; it is a lovely hand . After supper I danced a quadrille with Sir R He talked a good deal about the French clement , which looking at Madame Duval dancing , he and it was delightful to see - Sir E. Tache is the only non dancing old man here - wigs , spectacles and grey hairs don't hinder people from dancing THE CONFEDERATION BALLS W Thursday morning , October 20 In bed yet . Dr Tupper says if I lie in bed today I should be quite well tomorrow . I hope to be able to go to church on Sunday . They had a great Ball last night at Mde . Tessier's Papa came home with every stitch of clothes wringing wet with perspiration , he said he never had such a time . The French ladies all the very mischief for flying around . John A. and he saw Mde Duval home Mrs. Alexander chaperoned the young ladies . Me , Mrs. Tupper nor Mrs. Archibald did not go . A Grand Ball was held in Charlottetown on September 8 , 1864 in Province House where the delegates had met throughout the previ ous week ; this had been preceded by a couple of post - dinner dances as well . The Quebec City Conference included multiple balls . The Gover . nor's Ball was held October 14 , Madame Tessier , wife of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly for the Province of Canada , hosted a ball on October 19 , and a Bachelors ' Ball was held at the Provincial Build ing on October 21. The Delegates ' Ball on October 28 celebrated the completion of a draft constitution . The balls consisted of a variety of dances such as quadrilles , lancers , polkas , mazurkas and waltzes There was usually a supper served around midnight or 1 am , and sometimes speeches as well . The balls often lasted into the wee hours of the mom ing Saturday morning , October 29 I feel quite well this morning I went down to the Ball last night , such a splendid affair . Mr Crowther danced with me the first quadrille . Sir Fenwick Williams was here looking as well as ever , he called on us all in the afternoon . I did not stay very late at the Ball I was engaged for every dance but I was afraid of being knocked - up Knocked up was a Victorian phrase meaning " tred Tomen and dance played an essential role in the networking that took place during the 1864 conferences that ultimate ly led to Confederation . This aspect of history is described in detail in the diaries of Mercy Coles , daughter of PEI's opposition leader , George Coles ; and Lady Frances Monck , sister of Sir Charles Stanley Monck , Governor General prior to and following Confedera tion . Several balls were held during the conferences in Charlottetown and Quebec City , no doubt because dancing together builds comarade rie and goodwill PEI delegate Edward Whelan wrote in the Examiner , " The Cabinet ministers ... are the most inveterate dancers I have ever seen , they do not seem to miss a dance the live - long night . They are cunning fellows , and there is no doubt it is all done for a political pur pose , they know if they can dance themselves into the affections of the wives and daughters of the country , the men will certainly become an easy conquest . " Women's social function was valued but they were not invited to participate in the actual conversation about Confederation . Saturday , October 22nd Yesterday evening after dinner we went to the Bachelors ' Ball at the Parlia ment House Ar the door there was a guard of honour of volunteers . We were received by ladies in the ballroom , mothers of the bachelors , who themselves never came near any one the whole night . The GG opened the ball with Mme Duval . There were forty bachelors , not six , as I was told . The attractions of the two rooms were supposed to be equally divided One room had the GG . and party , and the other the 25th string band . I only danced quadrilles as I feared to tear my lace Amongst others I danced with Mr Cartier ( Attorney General East ) , and with Mr. John A. Macdonald ( Attorney General West ) . I went to supper with Judge Caron ( or Caw - Ron , as they say here ) , father of a bachelor Madame Duval says she is going to give a ball for Colonel Monck . John A. is very agreeable I asked John A. what the kingdom of Canada is to be called - some say " Canadia . " He said that in some speech he had said that , to please the Nova Scotians , it should be called " Acadia , " Ottawa should be called " Evangeline , " and Mr Brown shall be our Longfellow - he is very big and tall . There were several pretty people at the ball , and the dresses were some of them very good . Thursday , October 20th We drove after lunch yesterday to hear the 25th band play on the esplanade After diner Dick Captain Pem , and I drove to Madame Tessier's ball in the open wagon M Tesster is the orateur of the Upper House I opened the ball with him . opposite to Madame and Dick At French parties there are no fast dances , all quadrilles and lancers , it seems so odd . The RC Bishop won't allow " round dances . Six of the 25th string band played so well so many old people I don't think I ever saw , and the older they were the more they danced . No officers but Capt Webber , the 17th and Colond Hassard , RE - they were in uniform , because this is considered an official week Amongst others I danced with Dr Tiaper , Premier of Nova Scotia , and with Honourable Mr. Coles , leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Prince Edward's Island Mercy's party travelled to Prescott , then Ottawa . She writes about seeing the Parliament Buildings and a model of what the library will look like . She visited the Rideau Canal , the locks and where new barracks were being built Then to luncheon . Wednesday , November 2nd It was a grand affair lunch ! Mr Henry , Mr. Johnston and Papa made speeches . John A. was to have made a speech but he was tight or had a palpitation of the heart and could not go on . Mr. Galt got up and excused him very well . We went to the Ball in the evening it was a very grand affair . I had to refuse six gentlemen the first quadrille I danced it with Mr Bridges , his brother Mr. Dudgeon ( actually his brother in law ) had asked me to dance but I had been engaged the day before . I have kept my card which has all the names of my partners written by themselves . I had to come away with a half dozen men not danced with DANCE COLLECTION DANSE