Over 1,000 people in Saskatchewan started the new year by engaging in a very old tradition, one that dates back more than a century.
Many stood in line waiting to shake hands with Saskatchewan’s lieutenant-governor.
“I can’t think of a nicer and better way to kick off a New Year,” Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Solomon Schofield said.
“It allows people to come in and see the house, first of all, and it allows me to meet a lot more Saskatchewan people, which I love to do,” she said.
The New Year’s Day levee at Government House dates back to 1884, and each year it draws more than 1,000 people.
Some are experiencing it for the first time, including one family from Beijing.
“In China we don’t celebrate Christmas, so you know we actually wanted to find something fun to do,” Tuo Xiao said.
Organizers say they strive to make the event as inclusive as possible and it’s quite the party atmosphere.
There’s live music, snacks and refreshments, even a visit from Keeper, a service dog.
“He’s here to welcome all the new people, all the new Canadians and Canadians who come out to the levee and celebrate the New Year with us,” David Reed, paramedic and volunteer aide-de-camp for the lieutenant-governor said.
For the woman at the centre of it all, it’s likely to be her last levee as her term finished on Sunday. But Schofield says the event holds many memories and is a nice balance of pageantry and the personal.
“Getting to meet the people who live in this wonderful province and seeing the volunteers and stuff, to me that was the highlight,” she said. “I’d put that right on par with meeting the Queen and members of the royal family.”