New Westminster celebrates its 154th MayDay

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New Westminster celebrates its 154th MayDay

On May 25th of this year, New Westminster celebrated its 154th Mayday. Citizens are proud that New Westminster has the longest running Mayday in the world.  Britain, and most countries of the Commonwealth no longer celebrate, likely for obvious reasons.

 For the latter countries, its demise is related to the 'odour'of colonialism that comes with it. Also it doesn't fit well with modern ideas of women's rights, multiculturalism, and equity, among other things.

But New Westminster's Mayday celebrations have evolved over the years. Particularly the multicultural aspects of our community shine through. As MP Peter Julian says at the event, his constituency of New Westminster-Burnaby is the most culturally diverse place in Canada, if not the world.

New Westminster is very proud of its heritage. The Royal Engineers, or Sappers as they are colloquially known, had come to this area, at the behest of Queen Victoria to lay out a city in 1860 or so – it to be the capital of British Columbia. (New Westminster was not the capital for long. It was soon moved to Victoria.)

The Sappers had just been retired by 1870 and they were longing for traditions that reminded them of home... hence the beginnings of Mayday in NewWest.

It is definitely not the main event here as it once was. But all the dignitaries come out to be seen as do the families and friends of the “stars” of the show. They are the Royal Suite made up of young girls and boys. The crowning of the Mayday Queen is the highlight of the event.


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