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Linking past and present at Armoury

Lieutenant Governor took part in special event in New Westminster this month

The Royal Westminster Regiment celebrated the New Year in style.

B.C.'s Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon attended The Royal Westminster Regiment's special New Year's Day levee at the Armoury. In addition to celebrating the New Year, the event also served as the kickoff to the regiment's 150th anniversary year.

"It was a momentous day for The Royal Westminster Regiment as everyone came together to welcome in the New Year and to celebrate the start of the Westies' 150th year in such grand style," said Col. Karen Baker-MacGrotty, honorary colonel of the regiment. "What an incredible way to celebrate this special occasion by linking the past to the present."

Community members and civic and military dignitaries lined up to meet Guichon, who inspected the 14-man honour guard, greeted guests in a receiving line and delivered New Year's Day greetings and congratulatory remarks.

"With so many community and military visitors joining the Westies for this special day, the regal atmosphere was filled with good wishes and camaraderie," Baker-MacGrotty said in a press release. "It was truly a festive day enjoyed by all; one which we shall all remember for many years to come."

The event also featured entertainment by the Band of The Royal Westminster Regiment, visits to the Regimental Museum, and displays including the Royal Engineering re-enactors and the Seymour Artillery Battery. Six members of the unit's Cadet Corp wore historic uniforms from the Second World War.

The New Year's Day levee also included a special ceremony to light the Armoury for the regiment's 150th year. A drum roll and a countdown preceded the lieutenant governor's pressing of the switch to light the building.

"This was something special we did for our 150th," said Baker-MacGrotty. "It was really spectacular."

The building will remain lit at night for the remainder of The Royal Westminster Regiment's 150th celebrations.

The levee also served as the launch of The Royal Westminster Regiment's book, For King and Country: 150 Years of The Royal Westminster Regiment.

The book can be ordered online at The pictorial history book costs $100.

The book is also available at the Armoury, which is located at 530 Queens Ave.

According to the regiment, James Douglas, governor of the Colony of British Columbia, granted authority to establish the New Westminster Volunteer Rifle Company in 1863.

"It was very meaningful visit for the regiment to have the Queen's representative for British Columbia accept our invitation to kick off the regiment's year of celebration," said Baker-MacGrotty.

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