For New Years Eve we went down the street to the Haviland Club which is an old Club in Charlottetown, at the corner of Water and Haviland street with views of the Hillsborough river, once a grand private residence built in 1866 by Mrs Esther Lowden in the Italianate style. She was a widow, her husband had been a prominent ship builder. At her death in 1896 her family leased the house to the USA Consulate, the American Consul was Delmer J. Vail. At the time of the closing of the US Consulate around 1917 all the expensive mahogany furniture and carpets were sold at auction. For a few years the house was rented out to various tenants. Then in 1932 it became an Officers Mess, being across the street from the PEI Regiment HQ was ideal, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force also had its mess on the premises. Finally in 1997 it became a private Club. The Club has an ornate decor of the period with marble fireplaces and grand views, wood paneling and ornate ceilings.
Quite a few members were present and we spent the night drinking and eating, we also decided to become members on the spot.
This morning, New Year’s Day I had to be up early, I was on duty at Fanningbank, the Residence of the Lieutenant Governor for the New Year’s day Levee, the 40th, the first one open to the public was in 1978. My first station was as greeter at the door, though I was near one of the fireplaces, it was a cold spot, the door opening and closing and the temperature outside with the wind chill was -25C. Some 800 people came through that door in 90 minutes. Amongst the general public, quite a few dignitaries, politicians, the Premier wearing is clan kilt, Leader of the other political parties, the commanders of the army, navy and air force, the Archbishop, the President of the University, the CEO of the Art Centre, etc.
I got to shake hands with about 500 people as they came in and greeted them before they proceeded into the receiving room to shake hands with the Lieutenant Governor. I was asked how do you address the L.G., a few men were told to remove their hats out of respect for the Sovereign’s representative. Two people asked me to take pictures of them, which I politely declined, too busy with the crowd. We had also a 15 member string orchestra playing which gave a very nice atmosphere to the event. Once past the L.G. people would then proceed into the dining room of the residence for cake and refreshments and out they went. It all went very well considering the numbers, many were making their first visit to the residence and were impressed by the surroundings. Lots of comments on the Christmas decorations and the house.
On my way home other levees were taking place, at City Hall, at the Legislature, at the PEI Regiment HQ, I was too tired to go to any other, pretty sure I would have met the same crowd making the rounds. Everyone comes first to Fanningbank to see the L.G.
I got lunch out of it, the cook made Fricot, which is a clear broth of carrots, potatoes, onion and celery with big pieces of shredded chicken, it was quite good and hit the spot. It was served to all of us volunteers and Aide de Camp in the private dining room of the L.G. in the meantime Her Honour was gone to another function, today for public officials it is a very busy day, I would not want to be in their shoes, even if you are chauffeured around.
Tonight a quiet night at home, Salmon steaks for dinner.