Newcomers' Information Session:
@ Hastings, Vancouver (contact the Chatelaine for
When: The first Friday of each month, at 7PM
Welcome to the SCA!
The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) and the Barony of Lions Gates welcome you to the Middle Ages. The SCA is a non-profit worldwide organization with over 60,000 people who re-create the Middle Ages from 600 to 1600 AD through songs, dance, clothing, weaving, combat, archery, metalworking and much more. Honour, chivalry and courtly love are valued highly in our society. We bring our knowledge, skills and love of history together in a safe and fun environment for all to enjoy. For more information about the SCA as a whole click here.
We have the honour to live in the Barony of Lions Gate which covers Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, Langley, White Rock, and Delta areas. The Barony of Lions Gate is part of the Principality of Tir Righ, which covers all the lands of British Columbia and the northern part of Washington. Throughout the Principality, there are many Baronies, Shires and Cantons — people participating in the SCA via their regional group. These groups are classified differently by sizes. There are three Principalities in The Kingdom of An Tir. They are Tir Righ, Avacal, and The Summits. For more information on the History of Lions Gate, click here.
To find a local group near you, go to the Branches tab on the Principality's webpage.
How Do I Begin?
There are many
ways that you may have found the SCA. You may have stumbled across us
practicing our hobby in a public park, or heard about us from a friend,
or found us on the web. We have many people who have found us as they
go about their daily business and stop and ask questions about what we
do and who we are. We're happy to tell you! We hope that seeing us will
spark an interest in joining our society. This leads to the first question:How
Do I Begin?
Contact our Chatelaine at email@example.com. to find out more information about upcoming events and classes, locations and times of practices, helpful information on how to make armour, what you need for your first SCA event, how to begin creating a persona and more. Our Chatelaine is here to help answer your questions.
Events and Practices
The second question is: Do I Go to An Event First or a Practice?
Events are a large part of what we do in the society. There are many different types of events. For example we have wars, tournaments, coronations, feast, arts and science, defenders, bardic, archery, and camping events just to name a few. Every weekend throughout the year (and major events can last weeks!), we have an event going on somewhere in BC or in one of the neighbouring Principalities (Alberta & the USA) that we can go to. Unlike the Renaissance Faires, our events are not for the entertainment of the paying public. We do however encourage newcomers who are interested in the Middle Ages and want to participate to come out, dress up and take part in our events and enjoy the medieval world in which we take pride in creating.
If you are going to your first event, contact the Event Stewards (people in charge) and let them know that you are new and ask if you can help with something at the event. This is a great way to get started in the SCA. We need volunteers to do water bearing (give water to fighters when they come off the field), help with setup and takedown at events, just to name a few. Everyone in the society is a volunteer. No one is paid to do anything and we are not actors for hire. Everything at the events, practices, meetings etc. are done by volunteers. All you have to do is ask and someone will be happy to put you to work, whether it is chopping veggies to pitching tents, to making pouches for largesse. Largesse are gifts that have been donated to the Barony, Principality or Kingdom and are given to people in other regions, as a sign of goodwill. Your help is greatly appreciated and will be noticed.
You should also contact the local Chatelaine for the area and talk to them about what you need to bring to the event. Garb? Feast gear? Tents? What is considered period and not period to bring? (ex. pop cans - not period, camping chairs - accepted, wooden chairs, tables and bowls - totally period). You will hear the term "period" used frequently in the SCA — it refers to items, behaviour and styles of dress that are considered to be historically appropriate.
You may attend an event whether you are a member of the SCA or not. For some events there is a Non-Member Surcharge of $5.00 that is in addition to the cost of the event. (ex. Adults $15 for event plus $5 NMS. Totally cost for the event $20). If you wish to become a member of SCA Inc. it is $37.00 US for a one year membership. A link to the SCA Inc. membership forms can be found here.
Practices are what we do each week in order to get ready for an event. We have many different practices which include Heavy Combat (sword fighting), Rapier (fencing), Archery, Dance and Arts and Science (making, learning, etc.). All of our practices are located in the lower mainland areas of Cloverdale, New Westminster, and Burnaby (Archery in the summer and Newcomers' Information Session all year round). If you would like to attend one of our practices click on the Events Calendar to find where and when the practices are. Contact the Officer in charge and let them know that you are coming and for heavy combat and rapier, ask if there is loaner gear available to use.
Please note that for Youth Combat, the starting age is 16. For more information contact the Master of Stables at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where Do I Get Garb?
The third question is: Where Do I Get Garb? "Garb" is what we call medieval clothing and can range, for example, from a 10th Century Viking Apron Dress to a 14th Century Sideless Surcoat. There are many ways to get ideas for garb. One way is to look around at an event and see what people are wearing. Be polite and ask them what the style of garb is called. What century and country it is from? Books and other resources are another way to get you started. All we ask is that you make an attempt to be period and arrive in garb for event. For more ideas on where to look for garb click here.
There is a fourth question that may actually be answered anywhere in the process. Most people make decisions about this question after they've have some experience with the SCA. The fourth question is: What is my persona?
A "Persona" is an SCA term for the character you are portraying. A Persona represents your attempt to make a historically believable character, and then to play that character within the SCA. Some people change Personas over time; some people maintain the same Persona for years or even decades!
Figuring out your Persona is a rewarding and rich task, involving elements of all of the questions listed above. Your Persona is a combination of your interests (How Do I Get Started?), your choice of career path and events you like to attend (Do I Go to An Event or Practice?), and your garb (Where Do I Get Garb?). Your Persona is representative of your particular interests, and evolves over your time in the SCA. Simply put: it's the fun bit!
You may note our use of the term "career path," above. The SCA has a structure of growth for players in the organization. You may achieve Awards as you progress through a given career path. Some people become fighters, progressing through Knighthood and sometimes to Royalty; some people become Pelicans, by volunteering extensively in service of the SCA; some people become Laurels, by demonstrating exceptional skill in a given historical art or science.
There are many career paths in the SCA, far more than can be listed here with any justice. Exploring a career path for your Persona is something best done within the SCA, itself, by asking questions and trying things out.
That said, many people enjoy playing their Personas without any particular career path in mind — it's not a requirement, just something that may enrich your experience.
Your Chatelaine is a great person to ask about Personas!
We have many people who are royalty in the society. To become a royal you must win a heavy combat tournament and by winning you gain various titles and positions in the society. We all start off as untitled nobility (referred to as Milord/Milady) but through service, honour and chivalry, we can work towards becoming someone greater.
Each Kingdom has a King and Queen (refered to as Your Majesty) and when they step down they become Count and Countess. If they have been King or Queen before, they take the title of Duke and Duchess (Your Grace). The people who are next in line to be King and Queen are called the Crown Prince and Princess (Highnesses).
In a Principality, the reigning couple are known as the Prince and Princess (Highnesses) and when they step down they are called Viscount and Viscountess. In Tir Righ, the upcoming reigning couple are referred to as the Tanist and Ban-Tanist.
Baronies are run by a Baron and Baroness (Your Excellency) and are appointed by the King and Queen after the members of the Barony are polled.
Lord and Lady (Milord or Milady) titles are given to those who have received an Award Of Arms or a quivalent or higher reward. Lordship or Ladyship titles are given to those who are talented or dedicated in some way and are honoured by it. Exceptional talent or service are given the title of Master or Mistress or, if they excel in armoured combat, Sir. All of these titles are granted solely by the King and Queen.
The SCA brings the Middle Ages to life through a variety of demonstrations to the public. There are three types of demonstrations: Educational, Recuitment, and Entertainment.
Educational demos coincide with the subject matter being taught in the class room. So if the class is studying 14th Century Knights, then we would provide, to the best of our historical knowledge, a more in-depth presentation of that topic. Through these demonstrations children can get a sense of how a "Knight" or a "Lady" would act, speak, what they would wear, etc. This would provide them with a representation of what life was like back then.
Recruitment demos are designed to encourage people to join the SCA. These are publicly announced events where people are invited to attend in order to encourage interested parties to join the SCA.
Entertainment demos are done for the entertainment and enjoyment of SCA members and their audience, but are performed infrequently, as we are not hired actors for private and public functions. However, some people in the Society may act as hired actors, outside of the auspices of the SCA, but bringing to bear their knowledge and experience from the SCA.
If you are interested in setting up a demo, please contact the Chatelaine in your area. Not every request for a demo will be accepted, as matters of interest, timing, and other logistics may interfere — and, as noted, we are strictly a volunteer organization.
Mailing Lists and Newsletter
We have many email lists, which you can join to be kept abreast of current events in the area. The full list is here. The main list that is used by our Barony is the general Lions Gate mailing list. We also have a monthly newsletter called The North Wind. You may find these lists and newsletter very useful for learning more about who we are and what we do.