Once a year, the Muskoka Escapades of Town Crying Competition is held for modern-day town criers to be given the opportunity to compete for the highest honour in the business. This event is the longest annual Town Crier competition held in the world!
In July 2017, the contest was held in Bracebridge, Ontario, where 15 criers from Ontario and the USA gathered to compare their skills. The town crier gathering coincided with Bracebridge's annual Santafest celebration.
According to John, ...competition was fierce as there were so many extra red suits to go around!
Contestants were judged using the same criteria that was demanded of town criers several hundred years ago before literacy was common and news traveled within earshot. A town crier was to get people's attention, be precise in their wording, stay on topic, sustain a loud volume in their speech, and have a dignified entrance and exit.
When the winner was declared, it was John Webster, official town crier for Markham, Ontario.
John describes the win as "a battle between horse and reindeer... I was saved by the bell!"