The posts have been rather dark and gloomy lately, so I thought that this week would be a good occasion to do a rare break from tradition and tackle a lighter topic for a change! Yesterday's Leap Day inspired me to remember a few tidbits from my time at Elgin County Archives, and I thought it might be interesting to look at how Leap Days have been observed around the area over the years. In doing that, I noticed some other interesting historical facts that I thought would be interesting to add. Without further ado, here's what I found!
A Leap Year Dance was held at Alma College, St. Thomas. Photos show a dance card from the event, indicating with whom the owner shared a step or two.Some of the dances include waltzes, a polka, quadrilles, and a Virginia Reel.
According to a non-digitized item in Elgin County Archives, the people of Wallacetown celebrated February 29, 1904 with a Leap Year party, for which invitations were sent out. Being a Wallacetown native myself, I couldn't help but wonder where in town the party could have been held. I looked into some possible locations from times gone by and was pretty surprised at the options:
1. The Ontario House Hotel, corner of Talbot and Currie Road
|Photo circa 1907|
|Here's an earlier photo from around 1895|
|Photo circa 1950s|
I'm sure these are just two of many Leap Year celebrations in Elgin over the years, but the rest must have been so memorable that no one thought to record them or digitize them. I find it very interesting that February 29th has traditionally been a day for celebrating and excitement, but 2016's was just another cold weekday. I'll close with a list of years that have had Leap Days in the past up to 2000, and if you know of any interesting events that took place then send them my way!
1904, 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000
Facts, photos and info courtesy of Elgin County Archives, and supplementary info thanks to Syracuse University.
Thanks for reading,
Delany Leitch (@DLeitch History on Twitter)