November 19 @ 6:00 pm$150.00
Countdown To The Ball
Our Charity Ball is a highlight of the annual calendar and a tremendous opportunity to experience Scottish hospitality and revel in Scotland’s rich history and traditions
The Ball is co-hosted by the St. Andrew’s Society of Toronto and the 48th Highlanders of Canada in support of the charitable activities they both serve
Tickets for the Ball are now on sale!
We are delighted to support CP24 CHUM’s Christmas Wish appeal. Please bring an unwrapped gift for a child to any of the four practices or to the Ball itself.
Please note that the Ball is being held on November 19th, 2016 and not the last Saturday of November, as per previous years
The Pipes and Drums of the 48th Highlanders will play stirring jigs and reels for an amazing night of ceilidh dancing
Champion Highland Dancers from the McDonnell School of Highland Dance will perform for us during the intermission
As a fitting climax to a spectacular evening, the Ball will end with a stirring display of pipes and drums by the full band of the 48th Highlanders of Canada
Tickets for the Ball are $150 per person except for members of the St Andrew’s Society, members of the 48th Highlanders and members of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society for whom the price is $125. Join the Society and save money on your tickets!
A tax receipt will be issued to non-members for a portion of the proceeds
Photos from the 2015 Ball are available to view at Had-A-Ball and all other years can be viewed here. Take a look at how much fun we have!
Thanks to the money raised at the Ball, many smaller charitable organizations in Toronto are receiving the support that they need
I would love to go to the Ball but I’ve never ceilidh danced. Are the dances quite easy to pick up?
Yes, the dances are relatively easy to pick up but even easier when you come to the free ceilidh dancing practices before the Ball! The earlier date of the Ball has also affected the dates of the practices, which this year will be the 3 Tuesdays before the Ball: the 1st, 8th and 15th. The normal Friday practice would have fallen on November 11th, Remembrance Day, and the 48th Highlanders are not available that day. An extra practice has been arranged for Saturday November 12 at Glenview Presbyterian Church, 2-4 pm.
Where can my husband hire a kilt for the evening of the Ball?
William Glen & Son at 1825 Avenue Road and The Scottish Company at 2001 Leslie Street are two great Scottish shops in Toronto where you can hire kilts for the Ball.
Will there be a photographer at the Ball this year?
Two photographers from Had-A-Ball will be there to photograph us in all our finery! After the Ball you can go to their website and download your photo for free. Please visit Had-A-Ball to view last year’s photos.
Does the Royal York Hotel offer special room rate for guests of the Ball? ?
Yes, there is a discount price for guest rooms. These must be reserved no later than October 29th by calling 1-800-441-1414 or 416-368-2511. Click here to book your room at the special discounted rate for this event!
What do ladies wear to the Ball?
The Ball is a formal event so usually long ball gowns or cocktail dresses are worn.
Just a tip – we’ve seen lots of ladies change from their high heels into flat shoes before the dancing begins!
I have food allergies. Can these be accommodated at the dinner?
Yes, any special dietary requests must be sent directly to the Catering Manager, Carole Milic, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. You can call her at 416-860-4541 or email her at Carole.Milic@nullFairmont.com.
Because of this earlier date, the practices will be on the 3 Tuesdays before the Ball: November 1st, 8th, and 15th. There will be no Friday practice due to Remembrance Day. An extra practice has been arranged for Saturday November 12 at Glenview Presbyterian Church, 2-4 pm.
Click here for a pdf of the dance programme from last year which indicates the order of the dances at the Ball.
Be sure to check out the Ceilidh Dancing Cribs and their accompanying videos so you know how to do the dances ahead of time. To see a You Tube video of most dances, click on the dance title.
To see a You Tube video of most dances, click on the dance title.
The Borrowdale Exchange – Reel (D. Haynes)
Round the Room Dance. Circles of three couples arranged randomly around the room.
Men with their partners, always on their Right.
1 – 8 All circle 6 hands Round and Back.
9 -16 With hands joined in a circle, All Advance (2) & Retire (2).
All dance Back to Back with Partner (4)
17-24 Men join RH with Woman directly opposite. All dance RH Across (4)
Woman with hand at bottom of “hub” dances under, and Promenades off with new partner (2)
Next Woman repeats movement and Promenades off with her new partner (2)
25-32 All continue to Promenade with new partner around the room to meet with 2 new couples – ready to repeat the dance.
Highland Schottische (1855)
Couples in a circle around the room in ballroom hold. Men with their backs to the centre of circle.
1-2 Men with left foot, Women with right. Point toe to the side then bring foot up behind calf of supporting leg. Point toe to the side then bring foot up in front of shin of supporting leg. (Bouncing on the supporting foot on each movement of the working foot)
3-4 Men with left foot, Women with right. Step to the side, close other foot behind, step to the side then lift other foot up behind calf.
5-8 Men with right foot, Women with left.
Repeat Bars 1-4.
9-10 Men with left foot, Women with right Step to the side, close other foot behind, step to the side then lift other foot up behind calf.
11-12 Men with right foot, Women with left
Repeat Bars 9 – 10
13-16 Men beginning with left foot, Women with right – Polka! (Step, hop, step, hop).
Couples turning (right shoulder back) on each “hop” as they move counter clockwise along the line of dance.
Couples facing counter-clockwise, around the room, woman on man’s right. Allemande hold (i.e. join left hand in left in front [waist level], join right hand in right above woman’s right shoulder]. Begin with outside foot.
1-4 March forward 4 steps, maintaining Allemande hold, pull RS back on the fourth step [Drop RHs in front, raise LHs above woman’s left shoulder]. March backwards for 4 steps in the line of dance.
5-8 March forward 4 steps, maintaining Allemande hold pull LS back on the fourth step [Drop LHs in front, raise RHs above woman’s right shoulder]. March backwards for 4 steps against the line of dance.
9-12 Drop LHs and face partner. As men walk forward in the line of dance, woman turns under his raised right arm.
13-16 In ballroom hold, polka round and open out ready to begin again.
Polka step: Man steps and hops on LH, then steps and hops on RF [Woman RF then LF]
Danced in fours around the room. Couple facing couple, man with woman on his right.
1-2 All set to the dancers facing them, moving forward and back.
3-4 All change places with the dancers to whom they have set, passing by the right, ladies doing a “polite” turn.
5-8 Repeat as above, setting 1st to partner.
9-16 Repeat, back to original places.
17-18 All take hands and balance forward and back.
19-20 Men, dancing on the spot, turn lady on their left, to place on their right.
21-32 Repeat bars 17-20 three times.
33-40 Couples waltz to meet next couple, moving in the direction they originally faced
Danced in a four couple set.
1-16 1st couple dance in a diamond formation, each moving to their right and turning right about with 2 pas-de-basque steps to each point, where they face each other and set. Continue round to original places.
17-24 1st couple dance down the middle and up again.
25-32 1st and 2nd couples dance Poussette. Repeat with the next two couples.
A new top couple begins with every 3rd repetition.
Long Live the Queen – Reel
Danced in a four couple set.
1-8 The 4 men join hands and the 4 ladies join hands. They all advance  towards partner and retire , then giving right hands, they turn partners  and return to place, 8 skip change of steps.
9-16 All repeat bars 1 to 8
17-24 4th couple leading, all dance down the middle, turn inwards and with 1st couple leading dance up again. 1st and 2nd couples remain in the middle facing each other. Bottom two couples return to original places
25-32 1st and 2nd couples advance  towards each other and retire , then change places with 4 skip change of step, 1st couple dance under the arch made by the 2nd couple. 2s finish in top place. 1s finish in 2nd place
The dance is repeated with 1st couple in 2nd place. A new top couple begins on the 3rd repetition
Note: When 1st couple repeats the dance from 2nd place, top and bottom couples return to place on bar 24. 1st & 3rd couples [middle couples] dance bars 25 – 32. 1st couple dance to the bottom of set as 4th couple step up on last two bars.
The new top couple repeats the dance.
Danced by four couples in a square, women on man’s right.
1-8 Join hands and dance 8 slip steps round to the left, then back to original places.
9-16 Women, retain hold of partners RH, dance RH across ½ way around to the left . Men change places with partner and dance LH across back to place 
17-24 All set to partners twice and turn them. Finish facing partner.
25-40 Grand Chain, to finish in original places.
1-8 1st woman dances in the centre, while others dance 8 slip steps round to the left and back to place.
9-16 1st woman sets to partner and turns him, then sets to opposite man and turns him.
17-24 1st woman dances a reel of three across the set with 1st & 3rd men , left shoulder to partner to begin. 1st woman finishes in the centre facing 4th man [one place CCW]
25-32 All repeat bars 1 -8. 1st woman finishes facing 4th man.
33-48 1st woman, 4th and 2nd men repeat bars 9 – 24. 1st woman finishes in place as 2nd woman dances into the centre. The three remaining women and four men, in turn, repeat PART B.
All repeat PART A bars 1 -40
Couples in ballroom hold in a large circle around the room, men with their back to the centre.
1-4 In ballroom hold, take three steps sideways towards the lady’s right, man’s left, then stamp both feet.
5-6 Take two steps sideways in the opposite direction.
7-8 Take two steps towards the centre of the room (lady beginning with right foot, man with left foot).
9-10 Take two steps back out (same feet). 11-12 Man drops right hand and lady turns under his raised left arm.
13-16 Waltz onwards round the room.
Danced in a four couple set.
1-4 1st lady and 2nd man advance and retire.
5-8 1st lady and 2nd man dance back to back passing right shoulders.
9-16 2nd lady and 1st man
repeat bars 1-8.
17-24 1st couple lead down the middle and up again. 2’s step in.
25-32 1st and 2nd couples dance Poussette. Repeat from 2nd & 3rd places.
A new top couple starts every 3rd repetition.
Dance round the room one line of three, facing another line of three.
1-8 6 hands round to the left and back again.
9-16 Person in the centre of line, sets to and turns the person on their right, then sets to and turns the person on their left.
17-24 Reels of three, the person in the centre giving left shoulder to the person on the right to begin.
25-32 With hands joined in lines of three, all advance  and retire .
Each line of three then advances through the opposite line of three, passing the opposite person by the right shoulder, to meet the next line of dancers.
(Scottish Reform starts at 2.22 minutes into the clip.) Danced in a four couple set.
1-4 1st couple ½ turn with right hand to finish between 2nd couple. Join hands, men facing down and ladies facing up, and set in a line. 5-8 1st man ½ turn 2nd lady, 1st lady ½ turn 2nd man, bringing 2nd couple into the middle. All set in line.
9-12 1st couple ½ turn into the middle again and all set in line.
13-16 1st couple slow right hand turn back to place.
17-24 1st couple dance down the middle and up again. 2’s step in.
25-32 1st and 2nd couples dance Poussette. Repeat with next two couples.
A new couple starts every 3rd repetition.
Partners stand side by side, facing another couple. Man with woman on his right.
1-8 Ladies enter the centre and set.
9-16 Ladies link right arms in Tulloch hold and swing for 8 pivot steps, link left arms and swing again to finish opposite man.
17-32 All set and swing as above, to finish men in the middle facing each other.
Repeat until partners meet and finish side by side in original places.
Danced in a four couple set.
1-8 1st couple turn each other 1 ½ times, with running steps to face 2nd couple.
9-24 1st lady turns 2nd man with left hand, and partner in the middle with right hand. 1st lady repeats until she’s turned all the men, and at the last turning of her partner, they finish with 1st man facing the last lady in the set.
25-40 1st man turns each lady, in turn, with left hand and partner with right. At the top of the dance, he turns his partner with the right hand to finish with 1st lady facing 2nd man and 1st man facing 2nd lady.
41-52 1st couple turn the man and lady they are facing left hand, meet in the centre and turn each other right hand. They continue to the bottom of the set.
53-56 1st couple turn each other 1 ½ times to own sides. The 2nd couple begin to turn as the 1st couple are completing their last turn.
Danced in a four couple set.
1-8 1st lady casts off behind 2nd and 3rd ladies, crosses over below 3rd couple, dances up behind 2nd and 3rd men to finish in partner’s place. At the same time, 1st man follows his partner, but dances up the middle to finish in 1st lady’s place. 1st couple set to one another on bars 7 & 8.
9-16 1st man casts off behind 2nd and 3rd ladies, crosses over below 3rd couple, dances up behind 2nd and 3rd men to finish in his own place. At the same time, 1st lady follows her partner but dances up the middle to finish in her own place. 1st couple set to one another on bars 15 & 16.
17-24 1st couple lead down the middle and up. 2’s step in. 25-32 1st and 2nd couples dance Poussette. 1st couple repeats the dance from 2nd place then steps to bottom as 4th couple steps up.
A new top couple begins every 3rd repetition.
Click here for a pdf of the dance programme which indicates the order of the dances at the Ball.
Turning Restrictions & Road Closures around the Royal York Hotel
IMPORTANT: The City of Toronto is completing major roadwork in the area. Our main entrance for pedestrians and drop-offs is now located on York Street. Access to the Fairmont Royal York’s Valet Parking, via Front Street going East from York Street, is still at the east side of the Hotel. Please allow yourself an additional 15 minutes for traffic delays. Click on the link below for detailed map and directions, as the situation may change. Map and Directions to the Royal York Hotel
Valet Parking is available at the east doors of the hotel, off Front Street. In-and-out privileges are included. Valet parking will be charged to your room account unless otherwise specified. Please refer to below parking rates for more information.
- Overnight rate for Registered Guests: $53
- Evening function rate (5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.): $35
All of the above rates include tax.
Green P Parking
40 York Street
- $7 maximum per 12-hour period.
Arriving by Transit
Union Station is situated directly across from the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
In 1843, a motion was placed before the members and carried, that “The Day” be celebrated by a “Ball and Supper.” This was repeated in 1844. This appears to be the first Ball 169 years ago! In 1857, because of the Indian Mutiny, it was resolved not to celebrate the Day at all. The Ball appears to have been an irregular function, dependent on the state of the economy and other factors. It was certainly a regular event through the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s (except probably for WW2). From the 1950′s until the late 1990′s the name of the ball alternated between the “The St.Andrew’s Ball” and the “48th Highlanders Ball”. Since that time, the event has been jointly organized by the Society and the 48th Highlanders and the name simplified to “The St.Andrew’s Ball”. The Ball is now called “The St Andrew’s Charity Ball”. The pageantry and camaraderie of the Ball makes it the preeminent Scottish social event in Canada. The photograph is of the parents of one of our Past Presidents, John Catto, at a St. Andrew’s Ball in the early 1920′s.