Ontario Provincial Town Crier Championships come to Perth next month!


Let the Crying Begin!

While we don’t usually encourage crying in public spaces, we’re going to set that preference aside for the Ontario Provincial Town Crier Championships! Taking place in downtown Perth from May 21-22, 2016, we’ll welcome town criers from across the region for the 2016 Ontario Guild of Town Crier Championships. It’s a free event, and we encourage you to come check out the three cries that will happen over the two-day period!

‘Wait, can you explain what a Town Crier does?’

O’yez! You’re in for a little history lesson, my friend.

Bellman or Town Crier could well be described as the original “historical news broadcaster“. In many early settlements and towns, such as Perth, they were the travelling anchorman for the nightly news: a source of daily information and entertainment. Another traditional term, “Beadle“, was also a bellman and crier, but usually attached to a parish, to a court, or to a specific judge. Here in Perth we actually had “Criers of the Court” who were “Criers of the Council” (later called “Messengers of the Council”) and who also served as Public Criers.

As the saying goes, Don’t Shoot the Messenger!

(from perthtowncrier.com files)

The Town of Perth’s Town Crier, Brent McLaren, will welcome these criers to his hometown. He’ll play host for the weekend, and as such, he won’t be competing.


SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2016

Criers’ Walk
Time: 9:45 AM
Location: Best Western Plus Parkside Inn and Spa
The event officially launches when the Town Criers and their escorts gather at the Best Western Plus Parkside Inn and Spa on Peter Street. They’ll make their way to Crystal Palace with a short walk, and ultimately launching the weekend’s festivities!

The First Cry – a Home Town CryTown of Perth 200th anniversary town crier
Time: 10:30 AM
Location: Crystal Palace
The Town Criers’ task will be to bring greetings from their home town or organization to the “The Military Settlement at Perth”. The Town Criers have been challenged to include our area’s interesting elements in their cry, including agriculture, the Rideau Canal and historic components. Humour is always appreciated, too!

Throughout the morning and especially during the first cry a team of judges will be observing and adjudicating the Escorts and how they assist the Crier and interact with the public. The criteria for the “Best Escort” award goes far beyond simply “best dressed” and will be determined by the judges, whose decision shall be final. The award will be presented at the end of this round.

The cries will occur as the Perth Farmers’ Market will be buzzing with business. Local producers and crafters will set up that morning to sell their wares. From fresh produce to home-baked goods to gorgeous flower arrangements, the Perth Farmers’ Market is a hub of activity on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn more about the Perth Farmers’ Market.

Saturday Lunch
Criers and their Escorts will hit the town for lunch. There are numerous excellent pub-style restaurants, coffee and tea shops, and other varieties of food available just feet away from the Basin area. If you’re out and about that afternoon and spot a Town Crier in dress, don’t be shy – go over and say hello!

Second Cry – Promotional Cry
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Stewart Park
The Second Cry will take place in Stewart Park. The public is encouraged to bring a lawn chair and enjoy the shade and trees which are part of this beautiful, expansive park, located just behind the Town Hall. Chairs will be available for the Criers and Escorts.

About six weeks before the Championships, a special draw will pair each Crier with a local business or organization. The Crier will be provided with contact information and some basic background. The objective of this cry is to promote the business or group proving that Perth is truly Aged to Perfection. Criers will be encouraged to use a prop associated with that business or organization.

This cry is also being watched by a special judge(s) who is adjudicating the Crier’s use of wit and humour in their cry. No pressure, Criers.

Bring your lawn chair for this one, as the criers will provide entertaining profiles of our local businesses and organizations!

Criers’ Dinner
Time: 6:30 PM
The Perth Legion will host a dinner for the Town Criers, their escorts and special guests. It will be a private function, where the criers will have the opportunity to socialize after a busy day!

SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2016

Ontario Guild of Town Criers’ AGM
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Crystal Palace

The Annual Meeting of the Ontario Guild of Town Criers takes place in the Crystal Palace on the Basin. It is a private function.

The Third Cry – an Historic Cry
Time: 1:30 PM
Location: Crystal Palace
The Town Criers will have had to complete their research for this one!

They’ve been handed a range of resources documenting our area’s vast history. They’ll then need to take that history and turn it into a cry.

Their task will be to bring some element of the past to light. It could be an event, tell a story or re-enact as if they were at an event that occurred over these past two hundred years! We’re envisioning cries about last duels, cheese, whiskey and more. It will be interesting to see where their interest lies in our history. Let’s be honest: we’re probably going to learn something about our community after hearing these cries!

Following the third and final cry, the scoring will be added up to determine the winners’ from the weekend. The judges will consist of a range of local community members ranging from theatre producers to historians to artists. They’ll use their expertise and good judgement to mark up the score sheets that weekend.

In case of inclement weather …

Should the weather look poor, we have the option of moving the activities inside of the Crystal Palace on the Tay Basin. (We also have the Legion available if things get really bad!) This decision will be made should poor weather arrive.


The weekend is expected to be filled with entertainment, laughter, skill and a demonstration of how our 200-year-old community once got its news. Join us in downtown Perth for the two-day Championships. The weekend will also include a host of historically themed events, including the Settlers’ Trek and William Morris Plaque Dedication.

Become a part of the Perth 200th Anniversary celebrations as a sponsor! Find out more about the Perth 200th Sponsorship Opportunities.


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