On today’s date in 1864, a grand ball attended by 800 people was held for the delegates at the Québec Conference.
Prince Edward Island (PEI) delegate Edward Whelan, who was also a journalist and advocate for responsible government, said: “On the evening of the 14th a very brilliant Ball was given in the Parliament Buildings, under the auspices of the Canadian Ministry. It was attended by the same classes – the same distinguished persons and society as attended the “Drawing Room” on the 11th. His Excellency the Governor General [Lord Monck], His Excellency the Lieut. Governor of Nova Scotia and Lady, the Members of the Canadian Government, the Delegates from the Eastern Provinces, and about 800 others, formed a large and most agreeable party, by whom the pleasures of the dance were kept up without interruption and without an incident to mar the harmony of the occasion, until nearly 3 o’clock on the morning of the 15th.”
The Québec Conference was the second meeting held in 1864 to discuss Canadian Confederation, which would eventually take place three years later, in 1867. It was moderately successful in that it produced the Québec Resolutions: these 72 proposals laid the framework for the Canadian Constitution. Of the 23 delegates, seven represented PEI, which was one of only two delegations (Newfoundland being the second) to reject the resolutions. The Province of Canada (part of present-day Ontario and Québec), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia also began securing some autonomy from Britain. This culminated in a third and final conference—known as the London Conference of 1866—before the British North America Act created Canada the following year.
In 1964, Canada’s Post Office Department marked the 100th anniversary of the historic conference at Québec with a five-cent stamp (Scott #432). Designed by Philip Weiss, of Ottawa, and printed by the steel intaglio process in two colours by the Canadian Bank Note Co., the stamp had a print run of 28,510,000.