What is a LEVEE
1 : a reception held by a
person of distinction
on rising from bed
2 : an afternoon assembly at which the British
sovereign or his or her representative
receives only men
3 : a reception usually in honor of a
The Levee in Petrolia has
become a decade
long tradition. The Mayor and council are on
hand to greet the public.
Please come to the Levee and meet our
Council and Mayor.
The New Year’s Levee: An Evolving
Tradition in Petrolia
The first recorded levee in what is now Canada was
hosted by the Governor
of New France,
Charles Huault de Montmagny, in 1646. This custom
originated in Europe, where
morning assemblies were held by princes or persons
of distinction. The word
levée derives from
French and means rising (as from bed).
In Canada, levees are traditionally hosted by
representatives of the Crown.
During the French
regime, governors greeted citizens at their
residence, the Château
Saint-Louis in Quebec City,
to wish them a happy new year. This custom of
hosting levees at vice-regal
continued by British governors, and later by
Canada’s Governor General and
lieutenant governors. In recent years, many mayors
and military commanders
levees, on or after January 1st.
The first vice-regal levee to be held outside a
capital was hosted by then
Roland Michener in Charlottetown in 1973.
Subsequent governors general have
at Quebec City and in cities such as St John’s and
Winnipeg. The past Governor
Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson) hosted levees across
the country on various occasions.
lieutenant governors are now moving their levees
outside their provincial
capitals as well.
In keeping with this trend, the Hon. James K.
Bartleman holds his New Year’s
Levee in regional
centres outside of Toronto in alternating years.
In 2003 he held the levee
in Barrie and in 2005
in Thunder Bay. His predecessor, the Hon. Hilary
M. Weston, held the 2001
levee in London,
and the 1999 levee in Kingston.
For many years levees were only for invited
gentlemen and members of the
uniformed services. In Ontario, the Hon. John
Keiller MacKay (Lieutenant
invited the public for the first time. The Hon.
Pauline McGibbon (Lieutenant
the first female representative of The Queen in
the Commonwealth, began the
inviting women in 1976, at the same time as then
Governor General Jules Léger.
Over the years the traditional levee has evolved
into a popular public event,
attended by men,
women and children from many backgrounds and
locales. Yet its essence has
unchanged. For over 350 years, the New Year’s
Levee has offered people a
to meet Canada’s vice-regal representatives in a
festive setting to welcome
in the new year.
OFFICE OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF ONTARIO /
TEL. 416-325-7780 / FAX 416-325-7787
Governor General’s Levee to take place Sunday,
December 8, 2003
OTTAWA – Her Excellency the Right Honourable
Adrienne Clarkson, Governor
General of Canada, and His Excellency John Ralston
Saul invite everyone to
come to Rideau Hall and join them for a special
afternoon of holiday cheer
with family and friends at the annual Governor
General's Levee, on Sunday,
December 14 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The whole family will enjoy seasonal activities
and entertainment. Guests
will be able to visit the historic residence to
the sound of holiday music
and learn how to care for poinsettias and other
seasonal plants. Children
can decorate gingerbread cookies and everyone can
enjoy light refreshments.
Visitors will be invited to send their holiday
greetings to the men and women
of the Canadian Forces serving abroad. Guests can
write or video-record their
messages, while children can create Christmas
cards for our troops at arts
and crafts tables.
"The holiday season is a particularly difficult
time for the women and men
of the Canadian Forces who are deployed overseas
to be away from their families,"
said the Governor General. "I hope everyone will
come and help us send a
message of support to our troops."