New Year’s levees centuries-old tradition

Eric Sparling
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Mayor Robert Small will welcome revelers to the town’s levee – this year held in the new town hall on Victoria Street, in the old Dominion Building.

AMHERST – If the Internet is to be trusted, New Year’s levees have been held in Canada since the days of New France. Amherst will be doing its part Jan. 1 to uphold the tradition, with at least five of the afternoon celebrations taking place around town tomorrow.

Junior Reid can remember attending them back in the 1970s, when he was in the militia. As president of the Nova Scotia Highlanders Association, the police constable was involved in running the levee at the Amherst Armoury for a number of years.

“(It’s to) celebrate the incoming new year,” said Reid.

Depending on the levee, a bar might be open and sandwiches might be served. One tradition that seems to be universal is ‘moose milk’.

“It is delicious…quite a treat,” said the policeman of the spiked concoction.

The recipe includes large amounts of rum, egg nog and ice cream.

Moose milk will be served at Amherst Town Hall on Victoria Street – a contribution from the military arm of a town-Highlanders coalition that’s hosting two levees this year: town hall and the armoury.

“First time in the new town hall,” said Mayor Robert Small.

First time in the town hall in Amherst for a number of years, actually, according to the mayor. The Dominion Building event runs from noon to 4 p.m. Small said it’s a tradition for people to hop from one levee to another. Mark Radner will be providing entertainment.

The Highlanders levee follows the same timeline, but at the armoury.

“We just got the museum reopened,” said organizer Scott Moore.

Attendance of the event is weather dependent. Reid said as many as a couple hundred people might stop by over four hours.

Other levees taking place in town include the Legion, 105 Cumberland Wing and Christchurch Anglican. The Legion’s event starts at 1 p.m., while the church’s runs from noon to 1. Cumberland Wing’s schedule was unconfirmed.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Highlanders Association, Town-Highlanders coalition, Dominion Building

Geographic location: AMHERST, Canada, Victoria Street

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Recent comments

  • tracy Ott
    December 29, 2012 - 11:29

    Double checking that all the Levee's take place on New Years Day. And there is no costs spoken of, is this all free?