Levees have a long and rich history in Canada. They provide opportunities for local military, appointed and elected officials to engage with their constituents and neighbours. Photo Credit: Niagara-on-the-Lake Local.
With the dawn of another year upon us, Canadians across the country are enjoying the return of more annual traditions. One notable example can be found as several cities and townships throughout the Niagara region are once again holding New Year’s levees.
Levees have a long and rich history in Canada. They provide opportunities for local military, appointed and elected officials to engage with their constituents and neighbours. Since the changing of the calendar is a time for reflection, levees are commonly held during the early days and weeks of January.
Annual New Year’s levees were put on hold over the past few holiday seasons because of the pandemic. However, as restrictions have eased and people have returned to their favourite activities, levees have been making a big comeback.
St. Catharines Mayor Matt Siscoe took part in a levee on New Year’s Day.
“The New Year’s levee is one of my favourite annual traditions because it brings people from all walks of life together to share our goals for the upcoming year, celebrate new beginnings, and establish meaningful connections within the community,” Siscoe said. “It is always a pleasure to collaborate with The Lincoln and Welland Regiment for this occasion.”
Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa of Niagara-on-the-Lake also participated in his local levee.
“Niagara-on-the-Lake residents gathered for the New Year’s levee, where they collectively reminisced about the past year’s accomplishments and anticipated the year ahead,” Zalepa said. “Thanks to the volunteers, particularly the Friends of Fort George and Legion Branch 124, for hosting these events,” he added.
“The town’s volunteer community deserves special recognition for its integral role in making Niagara-on-the-Lake such a welcoming and vibrant community for all,” Zalepa continued. “It never ceases to amaze me how residents come together to orchestrate memorable events and moments for the community to enjoy. I am honoured to be a part of this.”
The Niagara Independent reached out to the Friends of Fort George for comment.
“After a three-year hiatus, the Friends of Fort George, in partnership with Parks Canada, were pleased to welcome back the annual New Year’s Day levee at Navy Hall on Jan. 1, 2024,” Executive Director Amanda Gamble stated. “This community celebration carries on an old tradition of citizens gathering to pledge allegiance to the Sovereign, to renew old acquaintances and raise a toast to the continued prosperity of our nation. Events like this help bring the community together.”
While some major levees have already occurred, others are still in the pipeline.
The Niagara municipalities of West Lincoln and Grimsby will hold levees this weekend.
West Lincoln: Saturday, January 6th (2pm-4pm) at the West Lincoln Community Centre AND at the Fleming Centre.
Grimsby: Sunday, January 7th (3:10pm-4:30pm) at Grimsby’s Peach King Centre.
Nick Redekop completed his Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Labour Studies at Brock University. He has previously served in municipal and federal politics. In his free time, Nick enjoys following sports, taking part in outdoor activities, and reading biographies. Nick resides in Niagara Falls