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A New Year’s Levee like no other: Celebrating 2022 with moosemilk & clam chowder at the Alliston Legion

January 7, 2022   ·   0 Comments

Members of the Alliston Legion Branch #171 welcomed 2022 in style – with “moosemilk” and clam chowder. How else?

On Saturday, January 1, the Alliston Legion hosted its annual Levee, a celebration in honour of the New Year with Alliston Legion president Marryann Edwards and the executive in attendance, feasting on moosemilk and clam chowder.

The Levee, part of Canada’s military heritage, is held at Legion branches across Canada on New Year’s Day. The tradition calls for “moosemilk” (a boozy, creamy drink loved by members of the Royal Canadian Armed Forces) and clam chowder (an old navy tradition, especially on the east coast) with the recipes guarded closely.

“Moosemilk basics are eggs (no yolks), heavy cream, sugar and different types of alcohol – usually rum,” said Scott Cooke, Alliston Legion representative. “You need to make it as though you’re serving a hundred people or so!”

The Royal Canadian Legion’s mission is to serve veterans, including military and RCMP members and their families, while serving the community and the country.

“All members have the same goals – to help veterans and support Remembrance,” said Cooke. “In Alliston, our branch formed in 1930, with its first official home at the corner of McDonald and Victoria in 1945 then our new home and hall in its present location in 1973. Our Legion members come from different parts of society, with different types of memberships available, depending upon their classification.”

Cooke reminds the community that anyone can join the Legion, provided they agree to the provisions provided in their swearing in and signing of oath. Yearly membership costs $55 dollars and members must be willing to support all Legion activities especially canvassing at Remembrance Day.

“Membership privileges give Legion members access to activities and ‘sports’ teams as well as many discounts through our national programs,” said Cooke. “The most important part of membership is adding a voice to the 248,000 member-strong Legion family to help get Veterans the support they need and to help get more programs for Veterans.”

Cooke also wishes to point out that any Veteran, regardless of Legion membership status, can ask for help.

“They don’t have to be a member,” he said. “There are many services for Veterans available through the branch, as well as provincially and nationally as well. We can help with pensions, housing, medical care, and more.”

Due to the COVID–19 pandemic, Cooke says the Alliston legion Branch #171 has not held many events over the past few years.

“We still have our Friday lunches and monthly dinners, and a fun dart league on Thursday evenings this past summer and fall,” said Cooke. “We would normally have dances, music events, card tournaments, dart tournaments, and BINGO – all of which we hope to be allowed to start up again soon.” 

All Legion events are open to the public, and funds collected from bar sales, hall rentals, lunches, donations, lotteries, and ticket sales help with building repairs.

“However, all Poppy funds received go to Veterans and Veteran’s families, as well as bursaries for Veteran’s children. These funds also help homeless Veterans, help pay medical bills, help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder dogs, hospitals and hospices which Veterans use,” said Cooke. “No funds raised from Poppy sales can be used for the branch.”

As for what’s upcoming at the Alliston Legion in 2022, Cooke says, “We can only hope that restrictions are eased off and we can restart all of the fun events we would normally host.”

On behalf of president Edwards, and the Alliston Legion Branch #171 executive, Cooke also said, “We wish our members and guests a safe and prosperous New Year, and we look forward to seeing everyone hopefully soon!”

The Alliston Legion is located at 111 Dufferin Street South. Although new restrictions due to the COVID–19 pandemic may be imposed, branch hours are: Thursday 4–10 p.m., and Friday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. with lunch served from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – with a varied menu of hamburgers, western omelettes, soups, steak on a bun, caesar salad and more.

For more information about Legion membership visit

By Wendy Gabrek

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