QH History – Mayfair – 1973 – 1989
The forerunner of the Mayfair was the “Penny Carnivals” run from 1969 – 1970 and organized by the Playground Committee. The population then was approx. 1000 (220 homes – 1969) in Q.Heights and the Township population was 6000. The first Penny Carnival was held on July 1st, 1969 in Ravine Park and Archie Smith built a pit toilet for us, as there was no other facility to use at that time. Several successful Carnivals were run in addition to a craft program held several mornings a week in the park by this group.
A successful one day Carnival was held on Victoria Day in 1972, and consisted of a BBQ and fireworks in the evening, organized by the Q.H. Recreation Committee.
The first “MAYFAIR” appeared on the scene in 1973, and from 1973-1975 was only one night and one day. In 1976 it ran all weekend. Fireworks and an outdoor teen dance were presented on the Friday night and activities on Saturday. Since then, the fireworks have been dropped due to difficulties in staging. The population of Q Heights was then 2500 with 700 homes. It’s aim FAMILY FUN and Community involvement….a chance for people to get out and meet each other in a relaxed, fun filled atmosphere. Local groups involved in Mayfair included Guiding, Scouting, Queenswood United and St. Helen’s chuch, (serving “Heavenly Hamburgers”), Service clubs, Pre-school coop, Teen Club, Junior bowling, Hockey, softball, Ladies club, Q.H Community and Recreation Associations and the Mayfair Committee. Many of these provided refreshments at outdoor booths throughout the weekend.
A Parade and Wheels & Costume judging contest led off Mayfair on Friday night followed by a Youth Fun night, an event added to Mayfair in 1984, featuring indoor games, dancing, and a surprise auction at the end of the evening. There was no beer or liquor sold on Friday night as it was basically a Youth Fun night. The evening was split into Pre-teen (ages 12 & under) from 8:30 – 10 p.m. and Teens from 10 – 12 a.m.
A Flea Market, Bingo, Olympic Games, Antique Car show, Outside Pub, Tennis tournament, street slo-pitch tournament and the ever popular “Big John” Dunking Tank all took place on Saturday, ending with a “theme” Dance and Casino, (in 1989 this featured a floor show with Navan’s famous Belly Dancing twins, Francine and France Plante) and for many years a King or Queen of Mayfair was crowned on Saturday evening.
The Sunday Spectacular held in Queenswood Public School 2 – 4 p.m. was introduced in 1987 to raise funds for CHEO.
Tickets for the Dance and Casino, were available from the Info agent, at the Q.H. Community Centre after 1985, before then they were sold by individual members of the committee. The Midway started Friday at 6 p.m. and ran all weekend. St. John’s Ambulance were also in attendance to provide First Aid in the Community centre.
Proceeds from the Mayfair were split, with the Mayfair Committee receiving 25% of the profits and the groups 75% for their own use. The Mayfair Commmittee returned their profits to the community in various ways, ie: donations to Kinsella Field house, trees for Centennial park, the Spray pool in Centennial, and the Mayfair Tot Lot, to name a few.
The late Councillor Ray Friel was always an active participant in Mayfair and in later years a Trust Fund was established by the Mayfair Committee, and a cheque for $13,000 was presented at the Official opening of the Ray Friel Centre to provide furnishings.
Many memorable incidents and events have taken place in 17 years: Fireworks on “Tweddle” hill, Skydivers “dropping” in, a helicopter landing, hail, rain, freezing cold and boiling hot weather, even the tail end of a hurricane one year (fortunately it waited till after the parade!!) Pauline Curran recalls the year the men were waiting with a Fire hose to welcome the Ladies Club float at the end of the parade – they got even at the Saturday night dance, the ladies welcomed them with cream pies in the face! The Ladies Club, in existence for 10 years, 1969-1979, was a vital and active group in the community providing a social as well as fund raising function. They were responsible for many of the furnishings in the Community Centre when it opened in 1975 as well as sponsoring activities and groups in the area.
Anyone that ever sat on the Dunking tank wouldn’t forget the experience – they carried the scrapes and bruises for weeks until John Arnold took over the design and production of “BIG JOHN” in 1978.
In 1980 themes were introduced, adding to the fun of Mayfair, they included: Fabulous “50’s”; Magic; the Circus; Heritage Days; Roaring 20’s; Wild, Wild West; Cartoon Characters and in 1988, the Olympics – complete with the Olympic torch, which was carried from the Official opening of Queenswood Ridge park to open the Olympic “Games” at Centennial Park on Saturday by our own “Torch” carriers, John DeMarco and Anne Lewis among others.
The theme for 1989 “Fairy Tales can come True” provided some interesting spin offs, such as the Arabian Nights Dance and Casino and the stage production written and adapted for Mayfair “Once Upon a Musical”, presented on Sunday afternoon. The Street Slo-pitch tournament was the brain child of Ken Johnson in 1979 and was a prominent part of Mayfair, involving as many as 22 teams. The final tournament was held on Sunday afternoon and the winner got to organize the Tournament the following year!
The Youth fun night was born in 1985 and replaced the outdoor teen dance, always a feature of Mayfair. A Pub night had been held downstairs at the same time and ran into problems (not unexpected) and it was decided to make Friday night strictly a Youth night with no alcoholic beverages available… it was a popular event with everyone, featuring Casino wheels and play money, other indoor games and Music and dancing, finishing with a surprise auction to use up all that play money!
The Dance and Casino on Saturday was always a part of Mayfair with costume judging, Casino wheels, $100,000 play money to start with, and an auction at 11:30 followed by more dancing and music.
The Mayfair was sponsored by the Queenswood Heights Recreation Association and run by the Mayfair Committee, a sub committee of QHRA.
The aim of MAYFAIR was FAMILY FUN!!