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Rain, flurries don't deter crowds at 2023 P.E.I. levees

Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry had a long lineup of visitors at her levee at Government House in Charlottetown. (Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC - image credit)
Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry had a long lineup of visitors at her levee at Government House in Charlottetown. (Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC - image credit)

Despite rain throughout the day and flurries in the evening, Islanders came out in large crowds to attend levees for New Year's Day 2023.

Stephanie DeWitt and her daughters, Hannah and Madison, attended the Haviland Club's levee in Charlottetown. Dewitt has a tradition to attend levees with her uncle every year, but this is the first time she's brought her kids along.

"My kids have never been [to the Haviland Club] before, so I was hoping that we would get a tour, and we did!"

DeWitt's daughters certainly enjoyed attending their first levees.

"It's been really good," said Hannah. "[I like] spending time with my family and meeting new people."

Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC
Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC

Levees are an annual tradition across Canada that involves travelling from place to place — whether it be local bars, restaurants, town halls or legions — to enjoy refreshments and good company.

Most levees were cancelled for the last two years in P.E.I. due to COVID-19 restrictions.

New and old traditions

Grant Kenny attended a levee hosted by UPEI and the university's alumni association Sunday afternoon.

Kenny said he tries to attend levees every year. He said it was nice to get back into the tradition after the pandemic hiatus.

"I'm a pretty social guy," he said. "It's good to get out and see some people you haven't seen in a while, maybe see a few politicians around."

Kenny said he and his friends are planning to attend more levees at pubs and restaurants in the evening.

Leena Daboo was also at UPEI's levee on Sunday. It was a particularly special occasion as this year marked her first time going out to levees.

Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC
Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC

Daboo said she loved the experience and she wants to continue the tradition in the future.

"I think it's for sure going to be part of my routine, like every new year. Take my sister along, drag her everywhere with me. I think it's going to be a fun time," Daboo said.

Doreen Reid and her sister attended Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry's levee at Government House in Charlottetown.

Reid said she's been attending levees at the lieutenant-governor's residence, known as Fanningbank, since the early '90s when her cousin, Marion Reid, served in the role.

Reid said she hopes more people, especially newcomers to Canada, feel welcome to attend levees in P.E.I.

"I do think more people would enjoy this experience," she said. "I think we had the idea at one time that it wasn't for us. It was for people who were better known," she said.

Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC
Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC