New Year’s Day Levee a long-standing tradition

Port Elgin Legion Branch 340 held its annual New Year’s Day levee, a long tradition in Canada affiliated with the Armed Services.

The Legion welcomed members and non-members alike for an afternoon of music and camaraderie.

It was in Canada that the levee became associated with New Year’s Day. The fur traders had the tradition of paying their respects to the master of the fort (their government representative) on New Year’s Day. This custom was adopted by the governor general and lieutenant governors for their levees.

The first recorded levee in Canada was held on January 1, 1646, in the Chateau St. Louis by Charles Huault de Montmagny, Governor of New France from 1636 to 1648.

The levee tradition was continued by British colonial governors in Canada and subsequently by both the governor general and lieutenant governors. It continues to the present day.

The levĂ©e has a long tradition in the Canadian Forces as one of the activities associated with New Year’s Day. Military commanders garrisoned throughout Canada have held local levĂ©es because, as commissioned officers, they were expected to act on behalf of the Crown on such occasions.

Today, members of the various Canadian Forces units and headquarters across Canada in addition to Royal Canadian Legion branches, receive and greet visiting military and civilian guests on the first day of the new year.