New Year’s Levee in Winchester
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 108 opened its doors to the community on New Year’s Day during the annual New Year’s Levee. From the left: Raising a glass of “moose milk” to 2019 are Comrades Tina Asselin, Neil MacIssac and Dale Myers with president Janet Morris. Thompson Goddard photo

For several years the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 370 in Iroquois has held a New Year’s Day Levee. President Darlene Riddell was pleased with the turnout at the event and is shown sharing a “moose milk” toast with Comrade Beverly Poore (right). Thompson Goddard photo

CHESTERVILLE – The traditional Christmas carol “Deck the Halls” reminds of us of the speed at which the old year disappears and a new one takes over. Throughout Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry there were events on Dec. 31, 2019 and Jan. 1 to bid a fond farewell to 2019 and welcomed in 2020.

For many years, the Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum in Williamstown South Glengarry have held a very successful Hogmanay on Dec. 31. The museum and the Williamstown Fire Department worked together to provide community members and visitors with an opportunity to enjoy aspects of a Scottish New Year’s Eve tradition dating back hundreds of years.

Museum volunteer Joyce Lewis explained the free event provided the museum an opportunity to thank the community for their support by inviting them to the heritage building for light Scottish refreshments and entertainment provided by local musicians. Outside the museum building, there were barbecued hotdogs courtesy of the WFD, a chance to warm up around the fire or take a ride around the village in a horse drawn wagon.

When asked about upcoming events, Lewis mentioned a fundraising dinner is planned for April 30 in Williamsburg. This dinner is to celebrate the 250 years which have passed since David Thompson was born on April 25, 1770. Thompson was a fur trader, explorer and surveyor who lived for a time in Williamstown at the Bethune-Thompson House.

Like many communities at home and abroad, Crysler and Moose Creek in North Stormont held community New Year’s Eve parties to welcome 2020. Martine Quesnel from the Crysler Community Centre said in a post-event message: “It was a fun night of dancing with friends and family.” She went on to mention that approximately 140 people attended the event, organized by Kim Lebrun, Chantal Desrosiers, Laurel Lapp and Victoria Middleton; they received very positive comments.

On Jan. 1, local New Year’s Day levees were held at the Royal Can­adian Legion Branch 108 in Winchester as well as RCL Branch 370 in Iroquois. The New Year’s Levee is a time-honoured tradition in government, military and social circles throughout the world, with the first recorded New Year’s Levee in Canada held on Jan. 1, 1646, hosted by the Governor of New France.

The Winchester and Iroquois branches both provided their guests with an opportunity to visit with friends and neighbours while enjoying light refreshments, including “moose milk.” The exact proportions of the ingredients used in creating moose milk are a closely guarded secret at each location but it appears to be quite appreciated at the events.