I was a bit frantic. I had just booked return flights to Europe for a 5 week press trip and suddenly realized when looking at my calendar that I would not be home for Mothers Day. Checking my dates I realized I’d be in Moscow and certainly couldn’t post flowers or a card in time for her to receive them. My family has always been keen on sharing experiences together rather than unwrapping gifts so I started brainstorming Toronto based experiences that would be fun to enjoy as a family together in late April before I departed.
Medieval Times has been wowing Toronto audiences since 1993. I of course grew up in Oakville so was familiar with the commercials on TV and had met many friends who had enjoyed the experience with their families. I thought it would be a great way to experience what I never had the opportunity to as a child.
We showed up at the Castle on a Thursday evening at 7pm (located inside the Exhibition Grounds on Dufferin Street). As soon as we arrived we had black and white coloured crowns plopped atop our heads and a family picture was taken with the King and Princess. We then walked into The Hall of Arms, inspired by 11th century European-style castle architecture and design. It is here where you can purchase knick knacks (read: swords and other Medieval gear) as well as cocktails and beer. Royal trumpeters announce the call to the feast, summoning guests to take their seats in the arena. It was really funny to see everyone wearing multi-coloured crowns. Medieval Times is an attraction for just about anyone. I noticed the excited faces of families, large groups of friends, school groups, dates (love was in the air) and our favorite seniors citizens (I saw the most adorable elderly woman with a crown on her head clutching her purse and being rolled to her seat in a wheelchair by her husband. Cute!)
Once inside, guests are greeted by King Phillipe and Princess Leonore, who invite them to share in a regal banquet and cheer for their own Knight of the Realm- designated by six colour “zones” of seating (we were black and white) which represent six authentic regions of Medieval Spain. My family was seated in the front row and we all quickly checked out the menu which was printed on the inside of our napkins:
Pastry of the Castle
The Marketing/PR for Medieval Times had coordinated a “Mothers Day Experience” which included a scroll that featured a beautifully written poem which we gave to my mother. Medieval Times adds this great touch to make the Mothers Day celebration extra special.
We ordered a few cocktails (Pina Colada and Daiquiri) just before the show started. During the performance we were served our meal, starting with garlic bread and tomato soup and then onto our mains which included the opportunity for everyone to eat ribs and half chicken with their hands! I think this may be the only Toronto based establishment where eating an entire half chicken with your hands is encouraged! Portions are generous and are fitting for the Medieval theme of the evening.
The show features a selection of Medieval competitions on horse back as well as a proper joust (which made me cringe, oy the clash of splintered wood, hold your heart!) Guests are encouraged to cheer for one of six “Knights of the Realm,” named after historic regions of Medieval Spain. My sister was given a lovely ribbon by one of the studly knights which read, “Queen of Love and Beauty” which I stole from her (it now hangs in my bathroom).
Medieval Times is a really fun spot to enjoy dinner and a show with a group of friends or family. The show is delightfully corny (all of the actors speak in proper old English as do the servers). The crowd screams as knights fight to the death…all while you rip succulent chicken off the bone. Greasy hands have never been so entertained and delighted.