Legion levee

CONSTANCE BAY – What better way to recover from New Year’s Eve then by spending the afternoon at the Royal Canadian Legion for a hot lunch and camaraderie at the Branch 616 New Year’s Day Levee.

The West Carleton Royal Canadian Legion is one of West Carleton’s best hosts. From welcoming flood victims, Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre residents and Korean veterans, to every-darn-body else in to their branch, nobody does it better and they always strike the right tone.

On New Year’s Day (Jan. 1) Branch 616 hosted their long-running annual New Year’s Day Levee. It’s an afternoon of fun and friendship as the branch provides a hot lunch cooked by its many volunteers, free of charge, to anyone who drops by. The executive greets everyone who comes in the front door and the mood is festive and light.

“Legions and levees go hand-in-hand,” Branch 616 Sergeant-at-Arms Rob Gallant told West Carleton Online from the busy bar.

It’s a tradition for all Royal Canadian Legions across the country that Branch 616 Vice President Bogdan Procyk says dates back to World War Two.

“I think it started shortly around World War Two,” Procyk told West Carleton Online. “It was a way to lift the spirits of those having a tough time.”

Originally, many residents were understocked as supplies were being rationed during the war.

Now, times are still tough, especially for those in Constance Bay still working to recover from last year’s record-breaking spring flooding – several who came to celebrate. But in the Legion on New Year’s Day, the focus is on fun.

West Carleton Online arrived shortly after the doors opened at 1 p.m. In the time we were present, roughly 40 had come in for some food and socialization. The levee was scheduled to run to 6 p.m. and it is assumed a steady stream of community members came by all afternoon long.

“I want to say thank you to all the people who came out to enjoy the New Year with us,” legion secretary Arleen Morrow said.