PoCo May Days, royalty and Red Velvet Cake (King’s Coronation Quiche too!)

photos supplied Tara McIntosh

It was a dream come true when I finally got to meet royalty: Nine-year-old Natalie and 10-year-old Maryam, the newly crowned Queen and first Princess of Port Coquitlam’s 100th May Days.

To be honest, I hadn’t realized May Days were still around locally. However, it’s a divine, centuries old spring festival celebrated around the world and from May 5 to 13 in Port Cocoquitlam there’ll be a parade, maypole dancing, food trucks, music and more.

For the record, we reached out to the boys who are also in the Royal Party but did not hear back.


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“Perhaps,” my husband yells from the kitchen, “their parents haven’t told them they’re in the Royal Party yet.”

As a mom of two sons, I realize this could be possible.

To be clear, becoming a Queen or a Princess in Port Coquitlam is not a birthright, so the first question I asked the regal duo was: “How does one become a member of the Royal Party?

Queen Natalie along with sister/First Lady Lilianne

Turns out names are drawn from a box by the outgoing Queen who gives a farewell speech before the next Queen is crowned along with the rest of her Royal Party.

Do you get to wear a crown I ask?

The Queen looks to her mom. “Yes, you’ll be wearing nice shoes, a nice dress and a crown.”

And how about a royal wave, I inquire?

The first Princess tells me she plans to wave, but just normal.

First Princess Maryam

I then ask, why did you want to be in the Royal Party?

Queen Natalie tells me that she really loves springtime and the outdoors. Princess Maryam, who’s been in the Royal Party twice, tells me she loves to dance and meet people – but also, she says, they get to ride on a float during the parade where “people will throw candy at them.”

Or maybe it’ll be the other way around. Doesn’t matter, having candy thrown at you as you float through Port Coquitlam is incredible.

For my final question, I ask the young royals about Britain’s upcoming coronation: where would they take the royal couple sightseeing and what would they make them for dinner if they could?

Queen Natalie would go to all the beautiful trails and then her local library to introduce them to their beloved Scooby-Doo collection. For dinner: halibut with a nice vanilla or lemon cake. First Princess Maryam to the Aquatic Centre, Claire’s at Coquitlam Centre – then to KFC.

As our interview concludes, I’m intrigued by the longevity of this beautiful event, which made it to 100 through the Great Depression and the Second World War. Most mystifying though is how this magical-crowns-and-floats affair slipped through the back door and passed the magnifying glass of 2023, possibly the most Debbie and Donny downer era in history?

Walt Disney gave some advice about happiness as did Albert Einstein and our grandparents too: pomp, pageantry, parades. and all things magical are life affirming. For many, the grandeur – be it architecture or a painting – can spark optimism and for others, some light at the end of the tunnel. Traditions and continuity bring comfort, hope, and an enchanted interlude from the heavier issues of the day. Cynicism, criticism, and politicism do not.

This year, my family including my adult sons will be joining me to celebrate May Days with some Red Velvet Cake and the King’s Coronation Quiche.

“Ha!” my husband teases me as he reads through my column, “Do our sons even know they’re coming to your Royal Party?”

“No, not yet,” I reply, but I will certainly let them know when they get here.”

For more information on a truly spectacular May Days week in Port Coquitlam go to

Red Velvet Cake

Put oven to 325 degrees


2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 tsp. vanilla, 1-2 ounces red food colouring – you decide how dark red you want it, I went very dark, all two ounces! 1 tsp. white vinegar, 1/2 cup black freshly brewed HOT coffee.

Show Time!

Mix oil and sugar with a whisk or put into mixer and mix well. Then add the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food colouring and blend.

Stir in the hot coffee and white vinegar and continue mixing.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add to the wet mixture and combine (batter can be thin so do not worry).

If making a double layer cake, spray two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

If making in a Bundt cake pan (like I did), once again, spray with cooking spray but bake for 1 hour. Do keep an eye on it though since all ovens are different.

Pour batter into your chosen pans, put on the middle rack in the oven and bake.

When cake is done and you take it out of the oven, let it cool completely.

If you bake in a Bundt pan, run your knife around the edges first and then gently tip over onto a plate. Get creative! Oh you will love this cake!

For the King’s Coronation Quiche, you can go to,

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