Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry found herself at one of the largest New Year’s Day levees she had ever seen on Monday.
And she was the host.
Perry, who was sworn in as P.E.I.’s lieutenant-governor in October, greeted more than 750 Islanders during the traditional levee held at Fanningbank on Monday.
In the past, Perry has usually attended levees in her home community of Tignish.
While she knew what to expect during her first levee as lieutenant-governor, Perry hadn’t considered just how many Islanders would stop in to share a toast to the new year.
“It was basically what I expected, except not that many people because I have not gone to a levee with that many people,” said Perry, who described the event as a “very positive” new experience. “It just felt right to start the year off wishing everyone a happy new year. The atmosphere was nothing but joyful, it was all positive energy.”
The Fanningbank event and a levee hosted by Premier Wade MacLauchlan at the Confederation Centre of the Arts were likely the most well-attended celebrations held in the province Monday.
Smaller levees were held in legions, town halls and other community centres across the province.
While the celebrations spanned from tip-to-tip, some West Prince Islanders like Alberton resident Christine Batten and her daughter Olivia decided to head into Charlottetown for the Fanningbank levee.
“We’ve known Antoinette for years from when she would do the West Prince Music Festival,” said Christine, referring to the festival Perry helped establish.
The two also praised Perry’s commitment to her community and showed some pride in seeing an Islander from the West Prince area serving in the prestigious role.
“It’s a really great feeling to know someone from up west, especially someone like Antoinette who really cares about her community, can get into such a role as lieutenant-governor,” said Olivia.
Perry said it was heart-warming to see so many old friends while also meeting new acquaintances.
She also praised the Singing Strings Youth Orchestra for providing music at the event, with this being the group’s 40th year performing at the levee.
As for the new year, Perry said she does not have any goals or resolutions per say other than to enjoy the moment and perform her role.
“My main aim is to be present in the moment and to try and enjoy whatever I’m doing right then,” said Perry. “I look forward to each event and try to get the most out of it that I can, that’s my big thing.”