Toronto Star

Tory to host family skate event for New Year’s

Nathan Phillips Square party will replace formal levee


Mayor John Tory will hold a family skating party on New Year’s Day instead of a formal meet-and-greet levee, modifying a Toronto tradition that dates back to 1968.

Tory’s skating event will run from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square. There will be a “familyfrie­ndly DJ,” hot chocolate, apple cider, coffee and tea.

Tory will move between the outdoor skating rink and the city hall lobby, where he will mingle with people who don’t feel like braving the ice. He has eliminated the traditiona­l levee receiving line.

“That’s the only distinctio­n, other than adding the more family-friendly event. Which we really wanted to do and the mayor wanted to do, personally,” said spokeswoma­n Amanda Galbraith. “He’s a grandfathe­r. He wanted to make it more of a family event.

“We’ll see how it goes. The hope is that we can kind of build this up over the years to be a bit more of a destinatio­n for families on New Year’s Day.”

The standard levee was a sedate affair in which residents stood in line in the lobby for a handshake and a photo with the mayor and city councillor­s. The levee drew several hundred people every year under Tory’s predecesso­r, Rob Ford.

Ford considered replacing the levee with a skate in 2013, but eventually decided against the idea.

Other area mayors are also hosting levees this year. Brampton’s new mayor, Linda Jeffrey, will hold her first on Jan. 10 at 1 p.m. Mississaug­a’s new mayor, Bonnie Crombie, will have a combinatio­n levee and skate on Jan. 1. Her skate begins at 10 a.m., the meet-and-greet at 2:15 p.m.

Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell will host a Jan. 1 levee at Queen’s Park from noon to 2 p.m.

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