The St. Patrick's Day Parade takes a new route

Kevin Murphy

Montréal has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day — and everything Irish — for nearly two centuries years. The annual parade has been organized for 195 consecutive years, and with that much history you are guaranteed entertaining activities around St. Patrick’s Day.

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St. Patrick’s Day is a vital time for the Irish community, a period that it is celebrated not only on March 17 and not only with a Parade, but with celebrations that last nearly two months and comprise many events! The community calls it the “Irish Season,” which runs from early February to early April.

Each year, the Irish community chooses a “Queen” and her “Court.” Like a May Queen, she is the personification of the Irish community, and is selected through a public speaking contest. Upwards of two dozen young women get up in front of the community, speak of their heritage and are tested for their ability to think and speak on their feet. This year’s Queen of the St. Patrick’s Parade is Kathleen Brown-Vandecruys. A graduate from McGill University, Kathleen is currently employed by the City of Dorval, but will soon be joining the Canadian Armed Forces. You’ll be able to see Kathleen — and her court — at the Parade!

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Another of the Irish Season’s most popular event’s is the Erin Sports Association Irishman of the Year Breakfast. Each year the association selects someone who has spent a lifetime giving back to their community and celebrates them in front of over 700 of their best friends. This event attracts speakers that are the who’s who of Montréal’s sport and business communities. A must-attend event!

The biggest event is the Parade. Because of Montréal’s ongoing urban improvements, the traditional route for the Parade is partially closed and has encouraged organizers to be creative. Montréal’s 195th consecutive St. Patrick’s Parade is moving a block north to De Maisonneuve Boulevard. The Parade will still start at 12 p.m., running from east to west starting at City Councillors Street, taking a left on Mackay Street and finishing at René-Lévesque Boulevard. The dignitary and judge’s reviewing stand will be found on the corner of Mackay and Sainte-Catherine streets.

Want to scout out new spot in advance? Visit the website www.montrealirishparade.com

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To celebrate the Irish Season — and to take part in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative — many buildings will be illuminated in green. After sunset on St. Patrick’s Day look to the sky and you will see it shining Emerald Green with the following buildings:

Montréal City Hall

Verdun Borough Hall

Tour McGill College

Place Ville Marie

Olympic Stadium

Complexe Desjardins (they’ll dedicate their already-green lights to this project)

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No matter what you do or how you spend your time during the Irish Season, you might want to start or end at one of Montréal’s many Irish pubs or public house. Stop in and sip a pint of the black stuff (Guinness) while enjoying the Irish hospitality.

Here are a few popular pubs:

Hurley’s Irish pub 1225 Crescent St

Irish Embassy pub 1234 Bishop

MckIbbins Irish pub 1426 Bishop (or 3 other locations)

The Olde Dublin pub 636 Cathcart

Ye Olde Orchard pub 1136 Mountain St

McCarold’s pub 5400 Cote des Neiges

Honey Martin’s pub 5916 Sherbrooke st W

Cunnigham’s pub 75 St Anne’s, St Anne de Bellevue

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Cheat Sheet

Event: Irish Season

Dates: February - April

Location: Around the city

Website: www.montrealirishparade.com

For tickets to the Erin Sports Association Irishman of the Year Breakfast, contact President Tim Furlong