Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Toronto Branch 5th annual Christmas Dinner

The Toronto Branch of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada hosted its 5th annual Christmas Dinner at the Royal Canadian Military Institute located on University Avenue, Toronto. The dinner was well attended and had as special guest and speaker, artist Karen Bailey.
L-R: Dr. Claire Boudreau, Society President David M. Cvet, Ms. Karen Bailey, Mr. Neil Fraser

Her artist career began as a heraldic artist, and later was appointed military artist. She had traveled to Afghanistan in June 2007 to document military medical personnel at the Role 3 Hospital in Kandahar. Her presentation at the dinner include numerous photographs of her travel and experiences at the Hospital, many of which were poignant, dramatically conveying the significant challenges faced by not only the staff of the Hospital, but by the Canadian military and the local civilians requiring care.

The dinner was also attended by Dr. Claire Boudreau, Chief Herald of Canada.
L-R: Toronto Branch President Ilona Jurkiewicz and Chief Herald of Canada, Dr. Claire Boudreau

Thanks to Marie Fraser for the photographs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good Knight Children, Take two....

The Hospital for Sick Children has developed programs designed to elevate their patients' sense of well being and emotional health through almost daily presentations. Such presentations are donated by individuals and by organizations such as Mickey Mouse and Mini Mouse from Disney, local magicians, clowns and so on, with the intent of making the children forget for a few moments that that they are in a hospital. Caron Mills, a Child Life Specialist, has organized this and other presentations for the hospital. David M. Cvet of the Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts or AEMMA delivered a second presentation this year on Wednesday morning, November 19th on "How a man shall be armed in the 14th century". The presentation was done with the assistance of two students of the Academy, Russ Howe and Adam Trumpour. The venue of the presentation was the Hospital's "Bear Theatre" on the 4th floor, and was broadcast to all of the room occupied by children who were unable to leave their room for medical reasons.
L-R: Russ Howe, David M. Cvet, Caron Mills, Adam Trumpour

At 11:00am, at the conclusion of the presentation, the children were invited to enter the Bear Theatre to experience a second presentation, this time on heraldry. David, donning his Royal Heraldry Society of Canada's hat, along with RHSC member Russ Howe, enlightened the children with the spectacle of heraldry, using wooden shields painted with his own and Russ's arms. The children were provided with dozens of blank shields and with copies of the colourful charges available on the RHSC website. The Hospital provided colouring markers, and many pages of "stickies" which the kids used to create their own personal coats of arms.

The names of each of the children were written onto small pieces of paper, and tossed into David's helm for a draw for a prize - a blank wooden shield give to the winner. A young man called Damien won the shield and his smile lit up the room.

The children had a fantastic time, and their smiles were bright despite being patients in the hospital. The Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts and the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada wish to thank the Hospital for Sick Children for allowing us the opportunity to create moments of joy and fun for the kids, and look forward towards "take three...", hopefully in early 2009.

Monday, October 27, 2008

RHSC in Ljubljana, Slovenia

The Society's president, David M. Cvet was visited Slovenia between October 7 - 21, visiting family & friends, participated in a historical fencing workshop, and delivered a presentation on Canadian and Slovenian heraldry in Ljubljana, the evening of October 14th. The lecture was organized by the Slovensko rodoslovno društvo (Slovenian Genealogy Society) and held at the Svetovni slovenski kongres (Slovenian World Congress Centre) on Cankarjeva Ulica in Ljubljana. The evening began with a heraldry display, comprised of depictions of municipal arms (click on image above to view larger of the same - L-R: dr. Vladimir Žumer, Peter Hawlina (President of Slovensko rodoslovno društvo and organizer of the presentation, David, Mr. Sergij Pelhan, former Minister for Culture and past-Mayor of Gorica, presently President of Slovenian Emigrants Association - a host of the exhibition), and a colourful display on the specifics of the design and tinctures of the Slovenian national flag. The display included details on the procedure for petitioning arms to the Canadian Heraldic Authority, details provided by David including sample images of his personal Letters Patent. A number of important people gave a short talk on the state of heraldy in Slovenia, including dr. Vladimir Žumer, former Head of State Archive of Slovenia, now President of the newly formed Komisija za presojo javnih simbolov, grbov, zastav, pečatov, žigov in štampiljk (Commission for Public Symbol, Coat of Arms, Flag, Seal and Stamp Judgment) which exists within the department of the State Archives.

David's presentation after this display followed dr. Angelika Hribar's lecture on Slovenian genealogy along with her new book on the subject. David's presentation was a brief introduction to Canadian heraldry, describing the role of the Society in Canadian heraldry, and the role of the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The presentation included an overview of how one petitions for arms in Canada, and how this process is handled in the College of Arms. Further details were offered on the procedure for registration of arms in the USA. The presentation concluded with some details on the developments of heraldry in Slovenia, and the need to standardize on the nomenclature utilized in blazon. Much discussion has occurred in the heraldic circles in Slovenia as to whether or not to incorporate the Norman nomenclature in Slovenian blazonry or follow a similar approach as the German blazonry using German terminology to substitue Norman nomenclature using Slovenian counterparts to substitue Norman nomenclature.

It is evident that the interest and activities in the resurrection and practice of Slovenian heraldry is on the rise, and the country has taken steps to implement some structure in the practice of heraldry, with the first step of the creation of a new Commission to review all municipal arms (click on the image of the municipal arms on the left to view a larger image of the same), and have them conform to heraldic rules. The Commission will in the future, expand to include the registration of personal arms in the future. The Commission along with private individual's working towards the promotion and education of Slovenian heraldry through websites such as Slovenska heraldika will hopefully, raise the level of the practice of heraldry to a similar level as other heraldic nations.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Society's New President

On October 4th, the Society elected its twenty-third president, David M. Cvet. David (whose surname, for the uninitiated, is pronounced Ss-vet) was born in 1955 in Welland, Ontario, his background being Slovenian. He attended the University of Toronto, receiving a B.Sc. degree in biochemistry/genetics and computer science. His initial employment took him into the biology area, with six years of diabetes research at the Banting & Best Institute, but he subsequently concentrated on the computer-science field, with a career in Information Technology (IT) spanning the years between the mainframe, super-computer era and today’s PC’s. During his career he ultimately achieved positions as Chief Technology Officer for a number of technology companies.

On his entry to the RHSC, David’s ancient and modern skills coalesced to the Society’s enormous advantage. He immediately took on the role of webmaster and completely redesigned its website to the form in which it is seen today – arguably one of the best heraldic websites in the world. Not satisfied with using his technical skills to further heraldry, David has determined to improve his own heraldic knowledge by enrolling in the Society’s Heraldry Proficiency course and passing the first stage of the process to a Licentiate of the RHSC. He became for a time president of the Toronto Branch and has now progressed to the presidency of the national society. The Society is indeed fortunate in its new president.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New York Genealogical & Biographical Society to Honor Canadian Herald Robert Douglas Watt

New York, NY -- The College of Arms Foundation is pleased to inform its friends and supporters that the Committee on Heraldry of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B) will confer its Medal for Heraldic Achievement to Robert Douglas Watt.

Mr. Watt will accept the Medal at a black tie dinner in New York on Wednesday 12 November 2008 at the Racquet and Tennis Club, 370 Park Avenue. For reservations please contact Melanie Ayala at mayala@nygbs.org or call 212.755.8532. This event is open to the public; tickets must be purchased before 28 October 2008.

The medal will be presented at a dinner in New York at the Racquet & Tennis Club, 370 Park Avenue, on Wednesday 12 November. Born in Picton, Ontario in 1945, Robert Watt was the first Chief Herald of Canada, appointed to that office in 1988 upon the establishment of the Canadian Heraldic Authority. He retired in 2007 after nineteen years in office. "During that time," comments John M. Shannon, Chair of the Heraldry Committee, "Canada created a successful national heraldic model that adapted European conventions to the country's unique characteristics and population."

This is especially evident in the use of native emblems. For example, several Canadian First Nation governments and individuals were granted arms on round shields, the tribal shape, rather than on the traditional European "heater." The round shields also bear distinctly native "charges" or objects, such as the coyote and fox supporters on the arms of the Kamloops Indian Band of the Shuswap Nation (Kamloops, British Columbia) or the buffalo on the heraldic badge of the Siksika Nation (Calgary, Alberta).

During his tenure, Watt made about 1,500 grants and registrations of arms to Canadian institutions, corporations and individuals throughout the country. The Canadian Heraldic Authority also instituted and maintained stylistic and design standards with the result that a Canadian coat of arms is readily recognizable as such. In addition to the frequent use of maple leaves and symbols for water (rivers), there is usually something - whether it be a particular charge, the color tones, or simply the way it is rendered, or drawn - that identifies it as Canadian.

New York Genealogical & Biographical Society was founded in 1869. As a non-profit educational institution, its purpose is to collect and make available information on genealogy, biography and history, particularly relevant to the people of New York State. "The Heraldry Committee is one of the most innovative of the NYG&B," notes William P. Johns, President. "It sponsors events that focus on both modern and traditional heraldry, talks, and walking tours throughout the year." Members of the Committee include heraldry professionals as well as enthusiasts and respected authorities on the subject.

The College of Arms Foundation, a New York State non-profit corporation, was established in 1983 at the time of the 500th anniversary of the College of Arms. Its original purpose was to raise funds for the restoration and maintenance the College's headquarters near St. Paul's Cathedral, where it has been based for over four centuries. More recently the Foundation refocused its efforts towards educating American audiences about the many aspects of English heraldry.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What's an AGM?

click to view larger of the same
George Beley's bookplate designed by Gordon R. Macpherson
The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada's Annual Conference and General Meeting has been a long-time Society tradition. This year it is holding its 42nd Conference, hosted by its Laurentian (Montreal) Branch in Montreal, scheduled to run from Friday, October 3 to Sunday, October 5. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) portion of the weekend is to be held on the Saturday morning, but the entire weekend is referred to as a conference, since it provides numerous unique opportunities for members and non-members to gather and discuss, argue, learn and promote the subject of heraldry, and to re-affirm long-time friendships and acquaintances.

Friday evening is highlighted with the Beley Lecture, so named as a tribute and a memorial to George Beley, the Society's second President, an enthusiastic heraldist and energetic supporter of the Society. This lecture is designed to be an interesting, anecdotal, and sometimes irreverent look at heraldry for the amusement and entertainment of the attenders. Examples include a look at heraldic "critters and monsters" by Society member, Dr. Darren George, delivered at the 39th AGM in Edmonton, and an informative lecture by Dr. Claire Boudreau, Chief Herald of Canada, on her vision for the Canadian Heraldic Authority, presented at the 41st AGM in Victoria.

The AGM weekend has something for everyone, including fascinating tours and excursions in the local area of the Conference. These have included a visit to the Parliament Buildings during the Ottawa AGM, one to the Alberta Legislature during the Conference hosted by Edmonton, and the winery tour organized during the 38th AGM hosted by the Toronto Branch in Hamilton.

The highlight of the Conference is the gala reception and dinner, scheduled for the Saturday evening. This black-tie banquet is an elaborate event, with the banners of Society members on display, miniatures worn by those in attendance, and an atmosphere with a combined sense of history, formality and casual conversation. Venues for previous formal dinners have included Government House in Victoria, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton and the Rideau Club in Ottawa. Special guests are the norm, and have included Fergus Gillespie, Chief Herald of Ireland, Henry Paston-Bedingfeld, York Herald, and Elizabeth Roads, Lyon Clerk. This year's AGM will feature as a special guest Kevin MacLeod, Usher of the Black Rod, and one-time acting Canadian secretary to H.M. the Queen.

For more details and/or registration info, please contact:
Peter Hogan
President Laurentian Branch
10928 Henault
Montreal QC, H1G 5S2

Tel: (514) 321-7475.
email: agm@heraldryca

Friday, August 22, 2008

RHSC Member Appointed Order of Canada

photo by Cathie Coward
The Hamilton Spectator
Gordon Macpherson, 81, one of the founding fathers of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada and member since 1967, was appointed Member of the Order of Canada for his decades of effort and work in the field of heraldry. His creations over the past 60 years include the design of bookplates and armorial bearings. Gordon's tireless efforts helped preserve a medieaval tradition, whereby his classically styled arms and bookplates are sought be men and women who wish to honour their own Canadian identities and accomplishments.

Gordon was also acknowledged for his contribution to Canadian heraldry by the past Governor General Romeo LeBlanc, who in 1999 appointed Gordon as Niagara Herald Extraordinary.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hart House, UofT, Great Hall Heraldry Restoration

The Royal Arms which underwent restoration. Click on the image to view before and after restoration images.
Toronto Branch President Ilona Jurkiewicz presents to Caroline Pereira, Senior Development Officer, Hart House, a $1,000 cheque donation at a dinner function at Hart House (April 26, 2008)
Society's President Allan Bird presents to Caroline the Society's donation of $500 at the same dinner function at Hart House (April 26, 2008)
Canada's finest display of heraldry located in the Great Hall in Hart House, University of Toronto, originally created by the legendary Alexander Scott Carter, was partially restored the summer of 2007, thanks to the generosity of individuals and institutions from around the world, in particular, to the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, the Toronto Branch and Society members. The South Wall of the Great Hall boasts the arms of the British Royal Family surrounded by 51 coats of arms representing universities of the British Empire. The display was designed to honour the forces who fought during the First World War. Each of the beautiful works of art were patiently and expertly restored over the summer months by Zograph Studio.

The South wall of the Great Hall had been completed during the latter half of 2007. The University now shifts its focus to restoring the North wall which contains the coats of arms of 74 universities from countries allied with Canada and Britain in the First World War including France, Belgium, the United States, Serbia, Romania, Italy, Russia, Japan, Portugal, Poland, New Zealand, Yugoslavia and Greece. The complete restoration of the coats of arms is approximately $120,000 of which $45,000 has been applied to the restoration of the South wall.

The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, and its Toronto Branch and some of its members (including Professor David Butler, The Hon. Mr Justice Colin Lazier, Mr. John E. Ruch, Mr. David E. Rumball, Dr. Robert B. Salter, Mr. John B. Wilkes) have donated collectively $5,650 towards the restoration of the South wall, or approximately 12.5% being the largest donation to that portion of the project. The first donation of $1,000 was presented to Hart House on Monday, May 28, 2001 by the Society to the Warden of Hart House at that time by the name of Margaret Hancock. This initial donation was to spearhead the fund drive for the restoration of the heraldry in the Great Hall.

Hart House continues to appeal for funds to support the restoration and conservation of this great armorial display. It is vital that the heraldic tradition, and the global fellowship it represents, is maintained for the benefit of future generations.

For further information, or to make a contribution to the restoration of the heraldic display at Hart House, please contact:

Christine Campbell
Director of Public Relations and Development
Hart House, University of Toronto
7 Hart House Circle
Toronto, ON M5S 3H3
tel: 416.978.7076
fax: 416.978.8387

Monday, April 28, 2008

Official Opening of Armorial Bookplates Exhibit

Exhibit Catalogue available for $20
On a very pleasant, sunny and warm Saturday afternoon on April 26, 2008, between 4:30 - 5:30pm, almost 40 people were present to experience the official opening of the bookplate exhibit. The entire Society's Executive Committee was present, as well as other Board members and Society and Toronto Branch members, as well as Dr. Claire Boudreau, Canada's Chief Herald. The display of the bookplates were suspended on the glass enclosing the library immediately on one's left when entering the library, but visible in the foyer of the library, thus not disturbing the students reading within the library's glass walls. The display included glass cases on the floor, depicting relevant and colourful heraldic books and an interesting display depicting the "process" of creating a bookplate from line sketches to the final product.

Ilona Jurkiewicz, Gordon Macpherson, Dr. Claire Boudreau
The MC for the event was Society's member, Neil Fraser who introduced the John M. Kelly Library's Anna St. Onge, Interim Head, Special Collections, who was instrumental in helping setup the dislay. Ilonaj Jurkiewicz, SHA and Toronto Branch President and an heraldic artist as well, received accolades from all who were in attendance. Ilona also organized the publication of the exhibit's excellent bookplate exhibit catalog (depicted on the right). Gordon was happily signing a good number of the catalogs purchased by the attendess (catalogs - $20).

Click here to view Gordon Macpherson's biography distributed at the Official Opening (pdf format).

Further details of the opening and photographs can be view by clicking here.

For additional details and bookplate online presentation uploaded in 2004 of Gordon Macpherson's bookplates under the "ART OF HERALDRY" area of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada's website, click here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Medieval Week at the ROM

The Toronto Branch of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada for the second year, organized a presentation and display of heraldry in Canada during the March Break week (March 10 - 14, 2008) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The ROM has been developing this event over the past 4-5 years, evolving it as a "medieval" week, complete with medieval swordsmanship (AEMMA), calligraphy, medieval dance, brass rubbings, and longbow archery all interactive displays oriented towards the pleasure and engagement of both kids and adults.
Figure 1: The static display depicting the books, images and arms. Sitting is David Skene-Melvin. The photo was taken just prior to the doors opening at the ROM

The Toronto Branch display was comprised of two areas, the first, a static and informative display of heraldic arms, paintings, carvings and books. This was manned by volunteers from the Toronto Branch including Ilona Jurkiewicz, David Skene-Melvin, Thomas Doran, David Birtwistle to name a few. The ROM also provided additional volunteers to help man the display.
Figure 2: A shot of the kids table where they colour their own coats of arms

The second area was a setup which allowed children to create their own coats of arms under the guidance of a Branch member and a good number of volunteers, including Ilona's daughter. The Branch provided a great many copies of line drawings of various shield designs (per pale, per pale, per bend, bend, chief, chevron, etc.) and examples of charges which provided ideas for the children to be added to their shields. The children armed with colour markers rendered some fairly creative arms. This activity will be enhanced next year to include an on-site computer and scanner so that the Branch can collect the "daily best" and host the image on the Society's website. The table typically had between 10 - 12 children at any one time anxious to draw their own personal coats of arms.

The ROM experienced another successful year for the March Break program, with over 10,000 people going through the museum daily. It goes without saying that the medieval displays and presentations were extremely popular over the course of the week.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Armorial Bookplates Exhibit

The Toronto Branch of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada is organizing a fascinating bookplates exhibit presenting armorial bookplates designed by Gordon Macpherson, Niagara Herald Extraordinary and Officer of the Canadian Heraldic Authority in Ottawa.

Gordon Macpherson is Canada's most well known and respected heraldic artist. Fascinated by heraldry since his student days, Macpherson has since designed and painted the coats of arms granted to many prominent Canadians. He was honoured by the Governor General with the title Niagara Herald Extraordinary in 1999. Some of his of bookplates are on display on the Society's website, in addition, many of the coats of arms designed by Gordon can be viewed on the Society's Roll of Arms. Gordon was also one of the founding founders of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada and continues to remain active within the Society.
A flyer conveying details of the exhibit - designed by Robert Grey, one of a number of Canadian heraldic artists who has created numerous arms for Society members

From St. Michael's College, UofT: Apr 21-may 31 Armorial Bookplates Exhibit The Toronto Branch, Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, in collaboration with Department of Special Collections, J. M. Kelly Library, presents Exhibit of Armorial Bookplates by renowned Canadian craftsman, R. Gordon M. MacPherson

Toronto Branch Annual General Meeting Review

The Toronto Branch, the largest Branch of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada had their annual general meeting on April 5, 2008 at the stately Arts and Letters Club.
The heraldic badge for the Toronto Branch
A new executive for 2008 was nominated and accepted at this meeting. The President of the Branch remains Ilona Jurkiewicz for a second term. The position of Vice President was taken by David Steeves, with Directors repeating another term comprised of David Birtwistle, Thomas Doran and in an advisory capacity, Robbie Sprules, Lord of Wrentnall. The editor of the Hogtown Heraldry will now be David Skene-Melvin, taking the place of David E. Rumball, who was editor of the Branch's newsletter for the past 6 years.

Ilona, herself an accomplished heraldic artist, having personally painted numerous coats of arms on behalf of the Canadian Heraldic Authority in Ottawa has personally taken up the task of organizing and coordinating an Armorial Bookplates Exhibit of bookplates designed and created by Gordon Macpherson, Niagara Herald Extraordinary, to be on display at the John M. Kelly Library at the University of St. Michael's College, UofT between April 21 - May 31, 2008.

Activities for 2008 for the Toronto Branch includes organizing the 4th annual Christmas dinner, typically including a special guest of some notoriety, perhaps Sir Conrad Swan, the Branch's Patron. Other special guests of the past included Vanessa Harwood, past ballerina and choreographer for the Canadian National Ballet Company and also recipient of the Order of Canada. Also, plans for the 2009 Royal Heraldry Society of Canada's Annual General Meeting to be hosted by the Toronto Branch are now underway, as well as plans being worked on for next year's heraldry display and presentation at the Royal Ontario Museum's March Break, mid-March in 2009. This will be the third year that the Toronto Branch has participated in this exciting event.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A 14th Century Heraldic Spectacle in the 21st Century

A late 14th century medieaval tournament was organized by David M. Cvet, President and Founder of the Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts (AEMMA) on Saturday, March 15th at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The ROM offered
Figure 1: L-R: David Cvet, David Rumball (Appellants' Herald), Matt Dreger (Defendants' Pursuivant) - photo by Jim Atack
its large Currelly Gallery as the venue for the event. The possibility of holding a tournament had been discussed for a number of years within AEMMA and the last couple of years, with the ROM. The vision remained steadfast with a strong desire to achieve a balance between a mix of pomp, ceremony and martially-oriented armoured bouts. This was achieved
Figure 2: Robbie Sprules and his wife, Lucinda lead the opening procession into the fighting lists - photo by Gail J. Smith
on that day. The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada was represented in this unique event with David E. Rumball (LRHSC) in the role of “Appellants' Herald” (see image on the right). Further representation by the Society was Robbie Sprules, Lord of Wrentnall and his wife, Lady Lucinda. Robbie was the Patron of the tournament in keeping with tournament traditions and who also infused a level of dignity and credibility to the tournament proceedings.

The most notable aspect of the tournament from a heraldic perspective was the opening ceremony, in which the tournament officials including two Heralds and two Pursuivants all wearing exceptional
Figure 3: Dr. Robert Mason and Robbie Sprules reviewing the combatants list - photo by Peter Yu.
heraldic tabards followed by ten fully armoured combatants processed into the lists, each individual being lead by a standard bearer. Most of the combatants also wore jupons depicting their personal coat of arms. The Appellants' Herald's (David Rumball’s) tabard bore the arms of the Ottawa Medieval Sword Guild (OMSG) and the arms of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. The term “Appellants” refers to the “away team”. The Defendants' Pursuivant's tabard, depicted in the image above right worn by AEMMA student Matt Dreger, depicts the arms of the various armoured members of AEMMA Toronto. The reverse of the same tabard bears four other arms, for a total of eight arms. Note that David's jupon bears his personal arms.

Figure 4: Russ Howe wearing his jupon depicting his arms, clearing indicating Austrian origins - photo by Gail J. Smith
The Defendants' Herald's tabard (see image below) bears the arms of AEMMA (its petition is completed, and awaiting the Letters Patent), and the arms of the Friends of the Medieval Studies Society of the ROM, or the FMSS. This was worn by the Curator of the Near East Department, Dr. Robert Mason. The tabard is the same front and rear.

The Appellants' Pursuivant's tabard (not shown) bears the arms of the current armoured combatants who form the OMSG group in Ottawa. There are eight arms on that tabard as well.

Some of the tournament volunteers also wore their jupons, even though they were not participating in the armoured bouts. One such individual was Russ Howe, a member of AEMMA who will be ready for the armoured tournament in 2009, and who is also a member of the Society.

The tabards were created by an AEMMA student by the name of Ralf Siferd and his wife Ruth. They had generously donated all four tabards including their time and materials to AEMMA. These will be used for many years to come.

Figure 5: David Cvet battling Dale Gienow from Muskoka with steel longswords - photo by Jim Atack
Combats were conducted with spear, pollaxe, sword and dagger. The bouts were timed to a maximum of three minutes or until one of the following victory conditions were met:

1. three landed blows with the point within the limbs and neck,
2. unbalanced and cast down,
3. forced from the lists,
4. disarmed of all weapons carried.

In all, twenty combats were conducted throughout the afternoon, each appellant free to choose the weapon or weapons of choice for the bout. At the conclusion of the tournament, the outcome was an equal number of victories for the Appellants and Defendants.

Mathieu Ravignat from the OMSG, and also, a recent member of the Society, was awarded by Lady Lucinda, wife of the Lord of Wrentnall a ceremonial Scottish Great Sword being identified as the "best amongst equals".

Figure 6: Mathieu Ravignat accepting the award from Robbie Sprules and Lady Lucinda for "best amongst equals" - photo by Gail J. Smith

It was remarked by many spectators, who offered their comments after the tournament, that they had never seen anything like this and all were suitably impressed. The ROM was also very happy with the event and expressed a desire to pursue this again next year. The ROM on that Saturday was capacity, with hundreds upon hundreds of people awaiting entry into the ROM, lining eastward on Bloor St. and south on University Ave. It had the appearance of a lineup to a “rock concert”!

1. three landed blows with the point within the limbs and neck,
2. unbalanced and cast down,
3. forced from the lists,
4. disarmed of all weapons carried.

In all, twenty combats were conducted throughout the afternoon, each appellant free to choose the weapon or weapons of choice for the bout. At the conclusion of the tournament, the outcome was an equal number of victories for the Appellants and Defendants.
Figure 7: David Murphy battling Mat Ravignat (OMSG) with poleaxe - photo by Jim Atack

Mathieu Ravignat from the OMSG, and also, a recent member of the Society, was awarded by Lady Lucinda, wife of the Lord of Wrentnall a ceremonial Scottish Great Sword being identified as the "best amongst equals".
Figure 8: One side of the tournament medallion depicting the AEMMA arms, the reverse indicting date and location of the tournament. These were presented to each of the combatants at the banquet. Designed and created by Nicolas Facundo-Rico.

After the tournament, a good number of combatants and other participants, friends and family attended the medieval banquet at AEMMA's salle d'armes. With the salle beautifully decorated with arms of all of the combatants depicted on wooden shields, standards, banners, wrought iron candelabras, a medieval musical ensemble and demonstrations of medieval dancing, the banquet achieved what it may have been like in the medieval period. After some remarks and short speeches, Lady Lucinda awarded to each of the armoured combatants a tournament medallion. The medallions were created by an AEMMA student Nicolas Facundo-Rico.

The ROM and AEMMA will host another tournament mid-March in 2009 once again, with the possibility of turning this into an annual event. Being the first time, some minor adjustments and tuning will be required resulting in an event which will be even more spectacular next year!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Heraldry is alive and well in Canada...

Personal experience gained from comments and questions received while putting on a heraldry display by the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada or RHSC, at the Royal Ontario Museum or ROM this past March during their March Break clearly indicates that most people are quite surprised that heraldry continues to be practiced in Canada. Most people think that heraldry died out with the medieval period and the second common perception noted was that heraldry is only available in the realm of nobles.

It is quite clear, that heraldry did NOT die out, and is quite alive, not only in Canada, but in the USA and most countries in Europe and even Russia and other Eastern European countries. It should also be known that heraldry is available to ALL Canadians, simply by petitioning to the Canadian Heraldic Authority in Ottawa for a personal coat of arms. What is extremely fascinating of this practice is that it has been an integral part of human history for the past 1,000 years. There is no need to put it to bed so to speak, and it is up to people today to continue this practice and ensure that it continues to remain viable into the future.

The Society has a number of Branches including the Toronto Branch which has periodic social events and dinners, including an annual Christmas Dinner. Other activities include a heraldic presentation at the Royal Ontario Museum, and organizing an event displaying bookplates designed and created by Canada's leading and long time heraldic artist Gordon Macpherson.