27 November 2016

Candlelight Christmas...

...at Commissariat House was a hoot! I think they had way more people show up for the guided tours than they were expecting. Even tho I got there about a half hour after the start time I had to wait over an hour for my group tour. But in the meantime there were carols to be sung, stick bundles to be made, mummers running round and acting the fool, a British soldier occasionally firing off his musket, and a fire pit to try and huddle round (the crowd around that was sometimes three people deep). Oh yeah, and there were large urns of hot chocolate and apple cider that disappeared as soon as they appeared. Every time I finally got access to one it was empty. Sign of a very successful event, I'm sure!

Once your tour group is called (by a tireless young woman wandering round ringing a bell) you gather at the back door. The door opens and you are all quickly ushered into the kitchen by a maid who wants to show you, her friends, how pretty the house looks all done up for Christmas. You're introduced to various historical characters in several beautifully decorated Georgian rooms and given a short performance. Each performance gives you a sense of what was happening in and around Commissariat House and St. John's during the season. Although truth be told I was too busy looking around the rooms to follow the narratives very closely!

The Dining Room

"The Commissariat was built between 1818-1820 as the home and offices of the Assistant Commissary General - the supply officer for British forces in Newfoundland...a volatile period in 19th-century St. John's: British naval rule is ending and a power struggle is at hand..."

The final room features a button accordion player who you sing a few carols with before you're ushered out the door and into the night. Only to be met again by those rascally mummers!

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