History of The Viennese Winter Ball

The tradition of the Vienna Opera Ball dates back to an 18th century decree by Emperor Joseph II that ballrooms be opened to a wider community. Each year, hundreds of balls are hosted across Austria, but the Vienna Opernball is considered the social highlight of the season. Attended by royalty, dignitaries, socialites, celebrities, the Opernball epitomizes the luxury, elegance and the distinguished culture of Vienna.

Launched in 1996 with the enthusiastic support of the Austrian Embassy and the Austrian-Canadian Council, Ottawa’s Viennese Winter Ball is modeled after Vienna’s Opernball and was officially sanctioned by the Austrian Government. It quickly became a must-attend event on the Ottawa gala calendar.

The evening represents a modern fairytale brought to life for a number of young people who apply and audition months before the Ball for the honour of presenting the opening waltz. Application notices are sent out to all local high schools and dance schools seeking candidates who will be between the ages of 16 and 18 on the night of the ball. After applications are reviewed, one-on-one interviews and a group dance lesson is held. Selections are made for up to 15 debutantes and 15 cavaliers who then rehearse for weeks leading up to the ball. They also enjoy evenings out looking for just the right gown, tuxedo fittings, participating in photo shoots and local media broadcasts. Finally on the evening itself, dressed in floor length white ball gowns and black tuxes, the young participants open the Ball with their presentation of the Polonaise.

In addition to offering a truly magical evening, the Ball has always been dedicated to giving back to the community with over $740,000 raised over the past 19 years. In 2011, the Organizing Committee refined the focus of its charitable donations with proceeds going to arts and cultural programs supporting youth initiatives. Funds raised through the 2017 Ball will support young people’s programming at Music and Beyond, Junior Thirteen Strings and Orkidstra. All three organizations are deeply committed to providing opportunities to ensure that music can be a part of all young people’s lives.

The 20th anniversary of the Viennese Winter Ball will be held on Saturday February 4, 2017 in the stunning Trillium Ballroom at the Shaw Center offering a panoramic view of Ottawa’s downtown winter wonderland as the evening’s backdrop. The 2017 Viennese Winter Ball will also be part of the celebrations for Canada’s 150th birthday and is the 150th anniversary of the premiere of The Blue Danube Waltz! Thirteen Strings – one of North America’s top chamber orchestras – performs for the first three hours of the evening, making it a very rare opportunity to dance to this beautiful Viennese repertoire performed by a first-rate orchestra.

The ball is a unique opportunity for the Debutantes and Cavaliers as well as anyone who enjoys dancing the night away with friends, family or business partners, experiencing an unbelievable creation of food, participating in silent and live auctions all while supporting three incredible local charities.

It is truly one of Canada’s most elegant and magical cultural galas!

To learn more about the beneficiaries, please click here.

Tickets are $450 each with options to purchase tables of 8 and 10 as well as corporate tables.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

 If you are interested in sponsoring the Ball, please click here.