New Year levees seem to have come back into favour. Gould holding hers on the 6th; McKenna chose the 12th.

background 100By Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2019



Levees were once a large part of the way the social side of Ontario worked.

The Lt Governor held a New Year’s Day Levee at Queen’s Park every year; it was a command performance for anyone that mattered.

They were not partisan events – politicians of almost every political stripe were welcome. In the 40’s, 50’s and 50’s the Communist Party members weren’t exactly welcome but other than that – it was the community getting together at its very best.

Levee Gould welcoming a new Canadian

Karina Gould at one of her New Year’s Day Levees, congratulating a couple who recently became Canadian citizens

Burlington MP Karina Gould teamed up with then Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon to hold a Levee at the Art Gallery. At the time the then Mayor didn’t take part in the event.

The military types showed up in their blue blazers with medals on their chests.

Some of the Guilds that work out of the Art Gallery were in the room doing their hooking or their carving.

The event reminded us of a note we got several months ago from a Terry Wilson who used to deliver the Spectator on Delaware Street.

Wilson was commenting on the way Delaware Street gets closed down on Halloween saying:

“I collected many Halloween treats up and down this street, 60 years ago. My paper route ran all the way from the Lakeshore to New Street. 35 Cents a week as I remember for the Spec delivered to your door. I had about 40 customers who would all pay me in coins.

“One day, while collecting from Mrs. Jupp, at 391, my weighed down pants fell down! She giggled, and got me some binder twine to use as a belt, so I could continue on my way.

“Burlington was such a wonderful town then, you knew mostly every one, if not by name, by seeing them about town. It was another time.

It certainly was.

Municipalities across the province held a levee and any community that had an Armoury was certain to have a well-attended event where the toasts were frequent.

The idea of a New Year’s Day Levee fell out of favour.

McKenna at her AGM

Jane McKenna, Burlington MPP

This year Karina Gould is holding her Levee on January 6th at the Art Gallery between 1 and 4 pm  – she isn’t being joined by our MPP, Jane McKenna, which is unfortunate.

McKenna is holding her own Levee on January 12th at her Constituency office on Brock Street. Takes place from 1-4 pm on the Saturday.

We asked Mayor Meed Ward if she had any plans for a Levee and she said she wasn’t able to get that on to her schedule this year but expected to do something in 2020.  She did add that Burlington has  held an annual New Years event at Tansley Woods for a number of years.

Levee crowd 2018

The more recent levees have been packed events – and the speeches, with an exception or two, were fun and mercifully short.

Burlington happens to be a city where every political leadership level, except for the Region, is led by a woman.

There was an opportunity for the three woman to join forces and put on a single event that would have all the political stripes in the one room to share, celebrate and toast what has been achieved in the past and what can be done in the future.

Perhaps 2020 will see a different form of cooperation between the political leadership.  Something to look forward to – let’s not miss another opportunity to show who we really are

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1 comment to New Year levees seem to have come back into favour. Gould holding hers on the 6th; McKenna chose the 12th.

  • steven craig gardner

    For those of us in Oakville North-Burlington riding MP Pam Damoff has a levee too Wedneday January 9th 6 – 8 Pm at st. Luke’s Community Centre Oakville. The Oakville North-Burlingtn MPP effie triantafilopoulos does not seem to have a levee and it also seems she still does not have a constituency office 5+ months post election. Remember a lot of us live north of QEW in Burlington and we have 2 ridings not just the downtown riding.