The Sport of Kings is coming back to Niagara-on-the-Lake on the historic commons, presented by the NOTL Museum Sept. 10.
It will bring horses and members from the Toronto Polo Club — with its reputation of having the best horses and most skilled players in the country — to town for two four-chukker games.
A traditional divot stomp, wine, beer, food, vendors, entertainment, a silent auction, a classic car parade, the Fife and Drum Corps, and of course a hat competition are all planned to make it a spectacular event.
The museum gathered a small group together Friday to talk about the much-anticipated event, after a four-year absence — it was decided in 2016 that the polo matches would be held every two years, explained Amy Klassen, director of financing and marketing for the museum, but the pandemic cancelled 2020.
“We’re really excited to be back on the commons in 2022.”
While the premium and VIP seating sold out, she says, bring a chair, pick a spot at the side of the field, and prepare to enjoy the day.
Sarah Kaufman, managing director and curator of the museum, explained the history of the event, sharing stories of the early days of polo related to the military presence in town.
Lots of events on the commons included horses, she says, beginning with soldiers who needed to perfect the skill of carrying a weapon while riding a horse, and did so by playing polo, mallet in hand, while at the same time providing entertainment for those who watched them.
Nancy Bailey, broker for Engel & Volker in Oakville, was introduced as the major sponsor of the event. As a local for more than 30 years, and having been involved first in the hospitality industry and now real estate, she says, “I love this community, I love living here, working here and playing here.”
She also loves local history, and seeing it preserved, as it is through the polo matches. And with so many new people moving to NOTL, “I want everyone to learn about the town. I’m happy to be a returning sponsor.”
Funds raised from the event go to operations and programs that present the history of the town, says Klassen, including the storage and exhibits of more than 60,000 artifacts relating to NOTL.
George Dell, who along with Neil Rumble, former manager of the Chamber of Commerce, was the organizer of the early polo events, says he is thrilled to be part of the planning, working with the polo club — he was a polo player and an announcer — to bring the great athletes, four teams of four players, and 64 top polo horses to town.
“It’s a wonderful experience to have that here, and an exciting time.”
Lord Mayor Betty Disero and Regional Coun. Gary Zalepa also attended, speaking of the importance of the museum to the town.
Disero put in a plug for the capital project planned for the museum, saying “anyone who has an extra dollar in their pockets, please contribute to the expansion.”
General admission is $15 in advance, $20 at the gate, and children under 12 get in free. Tickets are available at the museum on Castlereigh Street.