Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Exhibition Place clock tower and fairy tale figures

Exhibition Place in Toronto is a place that most Torontonians are familiar with. You grow up going to the annual Canadian National Exhibition knowing that summer will soon be over, or you come to the large City property to check out the Beer Festival or some other event in the many conference centres. I have been many times and just noticed that the clock tower, or Carillon Tower, which holds 50 bells which used to play, first manually, then automatically bang out some tunes also contains a compartment that has moving figures depicting a fairy tale.
The tower is near the Princess Margaret Fountain and in Bandshell Park
About a third of the way up is a large metal rectangular box with a doorway that opens upward at the top of the hour with a scene depicting characters from a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale called "The Young Swineherd" as the figures move counterclockwise along a track before disappearing and the door coming down on the performance. The tale doesn't last long so be ready to watch the short show before the door closes, waiting for the next hour.

It's a terrible tale of a Princess abandoned because she traded kisses for a musical pot and a musical rattle, suffering abandonment by the poor Prince kissing her and her father, the Emperor. The Prince had disguised himself as a swineherd to get close to the Princess and after the kisses said good riddance to the girl. The scene in the clocktower is of the Prince as the swineherd and the Princess lean together for a kiss, followed by a tiny pig, while behind a fence the Emperor watches the two.

If you don't remember the bells or the fairy tale it's probably because the clocktower was broken in the late 1990s and only recently been refurbished and placed in working order. The bells ring often during the day.

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