Butler Society Gathering 2023

In Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada

A Big Success

Site of Butler Homestead, Niagara-On-The-Lake

Butler Society Dinner – Lord Dunboyne’
Musket demonstration, Fort George
Lord Mayor of NOTL with the Committee

An Amazing Weekend

It was a privilege to partner with our cousins in Canada in jump-starting our events calendar following the global pandemic with the Butler Society Gathering in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada in August 2023. The day by day activities are included below. And here’s an overview of the whole event.

Don’t miss the next Butler Society Gathering at Kilkenny Castle, Ireland 28th August – 1st September 2024

Click here to find out more.

Butler Gathering Canada / USA
“Stronger Together”


Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

Friday 25th- Sunday 27th August 2023

After several years of pandemic and lock-downs, the Butler Society is delighted to invite you to a very special celebration weekend in “the most beautiful town in Canada”, Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL), nestling on the shore of Lake Ontario where it meets the mighty Niagara River. Founded by Col. John Butler, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a thriving community set amidst breath-taking scenery, in the heart of Ontario’s wine country.

With just 80 tickets available, this is a very rare opportunity to attend this thrilling event.

From stunning world class venues, you will hear from expert speakers as they share more of your Butler family history and how our Canadian and American experiences as Butlers in the bigger picture have shaped our countries and the world. You may meet with old friends and family, or, you’ll have opportunity to connect with Butlers’ whom you’ve not met before – from Canada or the USA and globally. Find out how you may be related through the genealogical resources of The Butler Society and more … the cost is just $495 Canadian per person for the whole event, excluding travel and accommodation, travel insurance and any other costs incurred in attending the event. We hope you’ll agree this is superb value as you’ll read below. We’re grateful to our community partners and volunteers who have tried to make the event affordable for as many folks as possible. More details in the event resource section.

Remember, only 80 people can attend, and you must be a current, paid-up member of the Society to book your place and to attend this amazing event. If you are not yet a member or want to renew your membership, you can do so here. We recommend you book your tickets now to avoid disappointment.

Event Itinerary:

Note: May be subject to change as there are a lot of moving parts to this. Dates and venues are confirmed.

Dress – summer casual.

The whole day is being hosted at the superb Peller Estates Winery on the outskirts of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

We’ll meet in the upstairs Founder’s Room where an expert in Butler history will set the scene for us and help us to understand what we may learn from our experiences over the weekend. A fine cuisine lunch in the Estate Dining Room can be accompanied by a wine that you can purchase separately. After lunch, Craig Foster, V/P (USA) will take a light-hearted gallop through Butler family connections in history and contemporary society. The Peller Family have very kindly provided a complimentary vine-to-cellar winery tour that will immerse you in everything the world-class winery has to offer, including a visit to their renowned ice room. You’ll learn all about the unique growing region that is the Niagara Escarpment and you’ll see how the grapes are grown to create the superb wines for which Niagara is famous. Following the tour, you will be free to explore the Estate further and the Estate shop where you will find a range of items to choose something to take home to remind you of this very special day. The day’s program ends and we make our own way back to our accommodations.

Following a busy first day, there is no formal program for the evening. Among many options, you may want to consider making your way to Niagara Falls for the Fireworks display at 10 pm. There is public transport and local taxis as well as Uber services are readily available.

Dress – summer casual

This morning we will assemble in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and will be bussed to several venues – Butler’s Barracks; Butler’s Homestead; Butlers’ Burial Ground and The Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum. We’ll learn from local experts of the historical significance of these venues and will have an opportunity to understand the broader context.

A light buffet lunch will be enjoyed at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club – the oldest golf course in Canada and the USA, established in 1875. Beautifully situated at the confluence of the mighty Niagara River and Lake Ontario with a distant view on the opposite shore of the historic Old Fort Niagara, USA which you will hear about over the weekend.

The buses will then take us to historic Fort George which sits on the outskirts of NOTL. Expert tour guides will set the context and introduce us to the key role of Fort George in history.  We’ll then have some free time to explore the Fort and then return to the Town where we’ll make our way to our accommodations.

Dress – smart attire with jacket and tie.

The Butler Society Dinner at the world class Prince of Wales Hotel. Fine cuisine dining with cash bar for folks who may wish to have wine or something stronger. An evening of celebration, connecting, reconnecting and finding out more about the work of The Butler Society in Canada and the USA; our work back over in Ireland and around the world. Our speakers will include His Worship The Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake Gary Zalepa; Chair of the Butler Society from Ireland Suzanna Crampton; V/P of the Butler Society for Canada, Ruaraidh Butler; V/P of the Butler Society for the USA, Craig Foster; Chair of the Friends of Fort George, NOTL, Tony Chisholm; CEO of the NOTL Museum, Sarah Kaufman; a senior representative from Old Fort Niagara, NY, USA. Subject to availability, a couple of politicians/ civic leaders from Canada and NY. USA. Video messages of goodwill from around the world. And possibly a surprise or two. The plans for the evening continue to evolve. Our community partners will also share their own special messages, and it is just possible that we may have a surprise speaker or two. This will be an evening to remember!

We then make our way to our accommodations and a restful night’s sleep.

Dress – smart, casual.

The morning kicks off with a historic walk around NOTL for those of us feeling energetic. For others, this may be an opportunity for a lazy start to the day.

Following the walk, we’ll meet at the Queen’s Landing Hotel.

Prior to lunch there may be a brief Special Meeting of the Butler Society to recognize the event officially. A short presentation will follow announcing the Society Triennial Rally at Kilkenny Castle, Ireland in August 2024.

A fine lunch will follow with cash bar for anyone wishing to have wine or something stronger.

The weekend will wrap up with a talk from an expert speaker who will bring together the experiences of the weekend and encourage us all as we head homewards, until next time.

With a brief farewell message from our Society Chair.

Slán go foil!      

(Irish Gaelic meaning “goodbye for now!”).

Book Now To Avoid Disappointment

Sponsor The Joint Canada/ USA Gathering

We are grateful to the Committee of The Butler Society based at Kilkenny Castle, Ireland for their financial support to help facilitate this exciting event. We would welcome donations and sponsorship to help ensure we cover our costs.

We are pleased to offer the following levels of sponsorship:
Bronze – $2,500
Silver – $5,000
Gold – $10,000

Sponsors will be recognized in our website and in associated event ads and officially at the Society Dinner on Saturday 26th August 2023.
Please email us at ruaraidhbutler@gmail.com to discuss

Event Resources:

Note: All the information included here is provided in good faith. We do not warrant any information, prices, claims or offers made by third party service providers.

Health and Safety

Please follow all travel advice about your stay in Canada.

The Butler Society does not take any responsibility for any injury, loss or damage to any member, their family or possessions during the Rally. Please make sure you have appropriate travel insurance to cover all eventualities.

Parents are at all times responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their children as appropriate.

Please note that the whole municipal area of Niagara-on-the-Lake is referred to as Niagara-on-the-Lake . This may seem a bit confusing as there is the actual town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Township of Niagara-on-the-Lake . So it is possible that in your search for accommodation that you may need to look further outside the actual town of Niagara-on-the-Lake into the Township area of Niagara-on-the-Lake. No matter what, your stay will be worth it! People who visit simply want to come back again and again.

Niagara-on-the-Lake – where is it?

Travel:

If you live outside Canada you will need to ensure that you have the needed travel documentation to ensure entry to Canada. Find out more at the official Canadian Government website

The national emergency number in Canada is the same as in the USA – 911.

There are 2 excellent hospitals equidistant from Niagara-on-the-Lake – one in Niagara Falls and the other in St. Catharines’.

Travel insurance:

Always ensure that you have adequate health and personal property coverage for the whole of your stay. Here’s a helpful guide.

Currency:

We have the Canadian dollar. In ball park terms (early Feb 2023) the Canadian dollar is worth around 75 cents US which means that our American cousins’ dollar goes a lot further in Canada! Another great reason to book now

Here is a handy currency converter.

Canada

Hamilton International Airport

This is the closest to NOTL with services to a number of USA destinations and some other places. It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes drive to NOTL.

Toronto Pearson International Airport

It’s about 2 hours drive in normal traffic. At peak times, it can take 3 hours

Niagara Falls Airport.

USA

Buffalo Niagara International Airport, NY.

With the Canada/USA border, travel times can vary from 2-3 hours +. The actual travel time is about an hour.

Travel from door to door is possible via www.niagaraairbus.com  Niagara Airbus serves all the airports listed above. For individual inquiries email airsales@niagaraairbus.com – this will be the quickest way to get a response – ensure to mention the Butler Society Rally in NOTL August 2023

https://www.flixbus.ca/

https://www.ridebooker.com/transfers/yyz/niagara-falls-on/bus-scheduled

https://buffaloairportshuttle.com/ 

https://www.buffalo-airporttaxi.com/

https://buffaloexpresstaxi.com/

https://www.buffalotaxicabservice.com/

and more…

Another helpful resource is https://www.rome2rio.com/ where you can key in your travel needs and a variety of options will be presented.

The usual car rental companies are well represented at the airports.

Tourism Information:

Contact:

1craigfoster@comcast.net

Please bear in mind the Society is facilitated by volunteers. All our efforts are carried out beyond our own day-to-day work and commitments. Your patience in waiting for a response from us is appreciated.

A WhatsApp group will be established for attendees to communicate with the organizers and with other attendees. This will be set up a month or two before the event initiates.

Updates will be emailed to paid up members registered on the butlersociety.org website.

Q&A:

Why has the name changed from ‘Rally’ to ‘Gathering’?
A few folks have asked what a Butler Rally is all about. We realize the word ‘Rally’ can mean different things nowadays. A Butler Rally is simply a Gathering of the Butler family, kith & kin from around the world. The word ‘Gathering’ better describes what it’s all about. We learn more about our history; we reconnect with family and friends. We also make new family links and create new bonds. And much more. It’s a great thing. And, for folks who want to learn more, they can feel encouraged to take a deep dive into their genealogy through Society connections and associated resources. This continues in the footsteps of the great tradition of the Butler Society.
Is there a family rate or discount rate?
Unfortunately, no. The cost per individual has been calculated to offer the best possible value.
Can I attend part of the Gathering and pay less?

The costs have been equalized across the event to seek to ensure costs are covered. However, you can book for just the 25th or the 26th with an option to attend the dinner event only on the 26th. Details are on the booking form. With respect to attending the event on the 27th only,  please email us.

I don't live in Canada or the USA, can I attend the event?

Yes! The event is open to all current, paid-up members of the Butler Society worldwide.

Is this event for children too?

Niagara Falls and the general area is a playground geared for children. However, it has not been possible to provide for children with this event. Our goal is indeed to engage the next generations of our families to perpetuate the Butler Society. But, as we emerge from this extraordinary time of pandemic and lock down(s), the NOTL Rally is essentially for adults to jumpstart everyone with the aim of strengthening our family ties and paving the way towards more child friendly events in future.

What is the refund policy on tickets for the event?

We are unable to issue refunds but will be maintaining a reserve list for people who lost out on booking their place for the Rally. If we are able to sell your ticket(s) to someone else we will refund to you the amount we receive, less a $75 Canadian administration fee.

Is an external event company organizing this event?

No, this a Butler Society organized event by the members, for the members.

My spouse/partner is not a member of the Society – can they attend the Gathering with me?
Yes, the individual costs of the ticket(s) will apply.
I’d like to make a donation to help towards the covering the cost of this whole event. How do I do this?

Thank you. You can make a donation directly to us via the Booking form. Or, you can email us at ruaraidhbutler@gmail.com

My ticket has already been issued including the event name ‘Butler Rally” – do I need a new ticket?
No – your ticket, as already issued, is valid.

Our community partners to the Butler Society Gathering in Niagara-on-the-Lake

We’re honoured to include:

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake

Friends of Fort George

Niagara Air Bus

Old Fort Niagara, USA

Col. John Butler Society

Government of Canada

Peller Estates

Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Course

Vintage Hotels

Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

The event Advisory Group includes:

The Committee of the Butler Society, Ireland

The Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake, His Worship Gary Zalepa.

Richard Butler, the Lord Dunboyne, VP., The Butler Society.

Tony Chisholm, Chair, Friends of Fort George

 

Sarah Kaufman, CEO, Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum together with Amy Klassen & Shawna Butts.

Elizabeth Oliver-Malone, the Colonel John Butler Society.

Ron Dale, Historian, Author & Researcher

We thank each and all for their steadfast commitment and help through troubled times. This event will be a celebration of you all as we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us.

To the future!
Butler Aboo!

The Butler Society.

Photography Credits
Tulips Early Spring by Tony Chisholm
Yachts At Niagara On The Lake by Tony Chisholm

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