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LSSR levee a longstanding military tradition

Toast to the Queen highlights annual ceremony, held at the O'Kelly Armoury.
David Ratz Levee
Lt.-Col. David Ratz of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment (right) toasts the Queen with regimental Captain George Romick on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 at the O'Kelly VC Armoury. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – The Lake Superior Scottish Regiment welcomed the new year on Tuesday in traditional fashion, toasting the Queen at their annual levee.

It’s a ceremony that dates back to the mid-17th century in New France, when the governor of the newly formed colony invited the public to learn a little about what had transpired over the course of the previous year and share in some of the plans for the coming one.

Things are a little less formal in modern times, but the levee is still an important way to kick off 2019, said Lt.-Col. David Ratz, the regiment’s commanding officer.

“This is a tradition that’s been here in Thunder Bay and been going on for quite some time,” Ratz said, moments before raising a glass of scotch in honour of Queen Elizabeth II, who will celebrate her 67th year on the throne, this year.

“It’s a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. Every year the governor of the colony would gather the important officers and officials and make plans and preparations for the new year. We’re not going to be quite that formal this year. It’s much more of a social occasion. We’re going to toast the queen and the success of the units.”

Ratz said it was a busy training year in 2018 for the LSSR.

“We’ve had the opportunity for all the soldiers to update their qualifications, particularly their marksmanship. We’ve also had a number of Indigenous initiatives. We were one of the main organizers behind the Eagles Nest program that was run this summer for local and regional Indigenous youth,” Ratz said.

“We look forward to continuing to build that relationship here in town.”

Looking ahead, Ratz said the LSSR must always maintain its readiness, never knowing when the Canadian military might come calling.

“The armed forces doesn’t know exactly what missions are going to happen in the future, but they’re going to be looking for reservists to volunteer for some of these missions and some of the soldiers from Thunder Bay are eager to participate in whatever that mission may be,” he said.

“We could expect several dozen soldiers from Thunder Bay deploying overseas, potentially, with one of these missions.”

A second levee will be held on Tuesday afternoon at HMCS Griffon, with the toast to the Queen scheduled for approximately 12:45 p.m.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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