The drought is over for Connaught Heights Elementary School.
Betty Sutton was named as New Westminster’ 148th May Queen in a draw in city council chambers Monday night, becoming the first May Queen from Connaught Heights since Kimberley Dawn Bosnic was crowned the Queen of May in 1990. Liam Banziger will represent the school as its Royal Consort.
“It’s been a very long time,” said Principal Jen Richter. “We are extremely excited. We are looking forward to having Betty and Liam represent us on May 23. Congratulations to them both.”
Also represented in the 2018 Royal Suite are: First Maid of Honour Maddie MacLeod and Royal Knight Greyson Young (Richard McBride Elementary); Second Maid of Honour Isabel Fulop and Royal Knight Lachlan MacKay (F.W. Howay Elementary); Medal Bearer Rebecca Vander Zalm and Royal Knight Everett Dean (Herbert Spencer Elementary); Register Bearer Nevaeh Mori and Royal Knight Daijel Bachra (Queensborough Middle School); First Flower Girl Irene Dolzhikov and Royal Knight Juno Furey (Qayqayt Elementary School); Second Flower Girl Belle Lajeunesse and Royal Knight Connor Leung (Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary School); and Third Flower Girl Georgia Binns and Royal Knight Jailan Pagtakhan (Lord Kelvin Elementary).
Royal Suite coordinator Karen Baker-MacGrotty said generations of Royal City citizens have ensured New Westminster’s May Day tradition continued through good times and hard times, including the Great Depression and two world wars.
“This annual celebration has been enjoyed, we calculate, by hundreds of thousands of participants and spectators throughout those years,” she said. “May Day has evolved along the way and new things introduced, changes of venue and various activities to reflect the times, yet, when you look back, the essence of the day, the core fundamentals and the traditional components remain relatively unchanged.”
Baker-MacGrotty said key elements of May Day continue today, including the crowning of the May Queen, maypole dances, an honour guard of boys, and festivities of music and dance.
Mayor Jonathan Cote said May Day began in 1870, when the city was no longer the capital, the gold rush was over and the city was deeply in debt.
“The population plunged to only 500 people, and the city’s future wasn’t looking so bright at that point in time,” he said of the impetus for the celebration. “It was during this low point in the city’s history that a group of local citizens organized New Westminster’s first May Day to cheer the city’s disheartened residents up. There was a parade, games, sports, a free lunch and, of course, the city’s first maypole dance. That was almost 148 years ago to this day and we continue to celebrate May Day here in the city of New Westminster.”