Steeped in decades of history and tradition, the annual BC Army Gala will be held on Saturday, May 7 at the Pan Pacific Hotel in downtown Vancouver.
In its 71st year, the gala carries on the tradition of the military ball. The first military ball took place in 1945 at the end of the Second World War.
“Essentially there were a number of soldiers who had gone away to war for five years and had come back and had young families, they barely met the children. So, it actually started as a debutante ball where you bring your daughters out to the ball, that you had last seen when you were ten, and introduce them into society,” said Paul Ursich, chairman of the BC Army Gala committee.
Though the debutante portion is no longer part of the gala, a number of traditions continue to give the evening a formal and elegant feel.
Each year has a specific theme that typically correlates with a significant military event. Last year the gala commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the year before commemorated the end of the Afghanistan War.
This year, however, the theme is inspiration, and various vignettes will be on display to bring the theme to life.
BC’s Lieutenant Governor, Judith Guichon, is expected to make an appliance and give a speech relating to the theme. The night will be emceed by a Global News personality.
“It’s a good chance to get out in your finery and dress up and have a nice evening out. We try to take you through a bit of an experience and have that nice formal piece but try to keep it light, so you’re entertained. We want to make you laugh, so there’s a bit of fun in the evening. We want to make you reflect, which is where things like the toast to the fallen come in, and we want to get you up moving and dancing,” added Ursich.
Ursich explains that the gala plays three important roles in the community. The BC Army Gala brings the military community together; the community at large together, including business leaders, community leaders, and politicians; and the gala raises funds for the Mainland BC MFRC.
The BC Army Gala is open to military members, veterans, their families and community members.
For more information about the BC Army Gala or to purchase tickets visit the event’s website.