January 1 - New
Year's Levée. The Levee is an old tradition by which Officers and Non
Commissioned Members are welcomed to visit the various messes throughout the
Calgary Garrison, including the Mewata Garrison, North East Armoury, and HMCS
Tecumseh. The venue for this event changes from year to year, sometimes being
held in a single Mess.
The history of the New Year's Day
Levée goes back many years; currently separate Levées are held each year by the
Governor General, the Lieutenant-Governor, military establishments,
municipalities and other institutions. The word Levée itself is derived from the
French verb lever - to rise (specifically from one's bed) - and has its
origins in the Levée du Soleil (Rising of the Sun) instituted by King
Louis XIV (1643-1715) who received male subjects in the Royal bedchamber just
after arising, a practice which subsequently spread throughout Europe, reaching
Great Britain during the 18th Century where it became a formal Court assembly
(reception) given by the Sovereign or his/her representative in the forenoon or
early afternoon, at which only men were received.
In the colonies of the New world, the Levée was held by the Monarch's official
representatives and attendance by village leaders and public dignitaries was
compulsory; in Canada the Levée became associated with New Year's Day,
perpetuating an ancient custom of
this country, dating from the days of the fur trade. The people of the trade
traditionally paid their respects to their representative of government - the
Master of the Fort - on New Year's Day.
During the Second World War, when women were recruited directly into the armed
forces in large numbers, Levées were attended by female officers and thus ceased
to be a male only tradition.
More information available in an article by
J. Michael Roberts, Secretary to the
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Government House Victoria, British
Robbie Burns Night
- sponsored by the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess, tickets for this event
must be purchased in advance.
Ball - Held in the spring annually in conjunction with other community
partners, the Grand Highland Ball is a unit tradition of many years. (Historical
photos via The Calgary Highlanders Regimental Museum and Archives, click to
The Calgary Highlanders commemorate the birth of the Regiment on the Wednesday
night closest to April 1st, the Regimental Birthday. This parade, held at
Mewata Armoury, is generally open to the public. Annual awards are presented at
St. Julien's Day
The Calgary Highlanders commemorate the Battle of St. Julien, and in
particular the attack on Kitcheners' Wood (22 April 1915) on the third or fourth
weekend in April. A dinner is hosted by the Officers' Mess on the Friday
evening (attendance by invitation only), and a public parade is held on the
Saturday, followed by a church service at the Cathedral of the Redeemer and
finally a dinner for the Tenth Battalion Calgary Highlanders Association, which
is open to any former or currently serving Calgary Highlander. All association
members will receive an invite in the mail prior to the event and are asked to
RSVP in advance. Dinner tickets are available at the door for those whose
current address is not on file with the Association.
The Regiment's traditional place of worship in years past
has been the Cathedral of the Redeemer in downtown Calgary. Photos above
are from the 1990s; families and friends are welcome to attend the church
service. At right, above, the old King's and Regimental Colours of The
Calgary Highlanders can be seen where they were deposited after their
retirement in 1967.
and Stampede - the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth begins on the first Friday
of July (unless that Friday is also Canada Day) with a parade in downtown
Calgary. The Regimental Pipes and Drums have appeared in almost every Stampede
Parade since the first parade in 1912. During the Stampede, the Regiment
maintains a weapons display as part of the Canadian Armed Forces stands at the
Stampede Grounds. The public is invited to come talk to the soldiers of the
Regiment and safely handle the weapons the Regiment trains with.
- the Battle of Walcheren Causeway (31 Oct - 2 Nov 1944) is commemorated
annually by the Regiment on the weekend closest to 31 October. A parade and
drumhead church service are held, and the local Dutch community participates in
the event. In past years this has included a choir in traditional Dutch
national costume, buffet lunch with Dutch cuisine, and inspection of the Guard
by the Dutch Consul General. The public is welcome to attend this event.
- the Regiment traditionally participates in the main service at the Jubilee
Auditorium on 11 November, providing soldiers for the cenotaph and taking part
in the March Past outside the auditorium after the service. Other services are
supported by the Regiment also, at the Memorial Park cenotaph (across from the
Colonel Belcher Hospital), the Museum of the Regiments, and in other locations
across southern Alberta, honouring those communities who also contributed men to
the Tenth Battalion and Calgary Highlanders in time of war.
Dinner - for serving soldiers only, in traditional style the Officers and
Senior NCOs of the Regiment thank the junior soldiers for another year of hard
work and training by serving Christmas Dinner to the troops. The youngest
soldier in the Regiment enjoys the privilege of becoming Commanding Officer for
a day. Presentations and awards are also part of the festivities.