New Westminster names its 149th May Queen

After nearly three decades without having a May Queen, Connaught Heights Elementary has made it two in a row.

Amaris Han was named New Westminster’s 149th May Queen in a draw in council chambers on Monday night, with Michael Ront-Gibson to represent Connaught Heights as its Royal Knight.

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The 2019 Royal Suite also includes: First Maid of Honour Ava Lane and Royal Knight Emilio Locatelli (Richard McBride Elementary); Second Maid of Honour Emma Mastrodonato and Royal Knight Christian Oljaca (Qayqayt Elementary School); Medal Bearer Charlotte Lord and Royal Knight Mathias Fruhm (Herbert Spencer Elementary); Register Bearer Clea Bergeron and Royal Knight Finnegan Bergeron (Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary); First Flower Girl Kieu-Vy Nguyen and Royal Knight Nadir Rishard (Queensborough Middle School); Second Flower Girl Darya Fatyanova and Royal Knight Zhouri Adtoon (Lord Kelvin Elementary); and Third Flower Girl Anni Nichiporik and Royal Knight Keldan Zschoch (F.W. Howay Elementary).

When Betty Sutton was named as New Westminster’ 148th May Queen in 2018, she became the first May Queen from Connaught Heights since 1990.

Mayor Jonathan Cote told a crowd gathered in council chambers for the draw that Great Britain created the colony of New Westminster in 1858 in response to the discovery of gold in the Fraser River, and Queen Victoria named New Westminster its capital.

“By 1870, New Westminster was no longer the capital, the gold rush was over and the Royal City was deeply in debt. The population plunged to just around 500 people and the city’s future didn’t look so bright,” he said Monday night. “It was during this low point in our Royal City’s history that a group of local citizens organized New Westminster’s first May Day to cheer on disheartened citizens. There was a party, games, sports, a free lunch and the city’s first May Pole.”

Lili De Capite, president of the Hyack Festival Association, said May Day is an “amazing legacy” that has evolved along the way to reflect the times, but the core fundamentals and traditional components remain relatively unchanged. She said the key elements of May Day, including the crowning of the May Queen, the honour guard of boys, children dancing around the maypoles, festivities of music and dance, fun and games, teas and banquets, picnics and Royal Lancers dances and a celebration for young and old, all continue to this day.

“Through good times and hard times, and through the Great Depression and two world wars, over almost a century-and-a-half , generation after generation of Royal City citizens have ensured our May Day traditions continue,” she said. “Not many communities can boast this proud history and dedication to its residents.”

May Day 2019 takes place on Wednesday, May 22 at 11 a.m. at Queen’s Park Stadium.


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