Montreal’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade to Highlight Founding Nations
St. Patrick’s Day Parade – The United Irish Societies of Montreal held a press conference on March 7 at Montreal City Hall to announce the details of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 18. Mayor Valérie Plante was seated in the centre at the head table flanked by Paul Loftus, President of UIS; Patty McCann, Vice-President of Organization; 2018 Grand Marshal Elizabeth Quinn; and other dignitaries. The newly-minted mayor was clearly delighted to be there and spoke at some length in English as well as French, a departure for many Quebec politicians who make no more than a few perfunctory remarks in English for the benefit of English media. “There might be a little snow outside but inside it is really warm,” she said as a few snowflakes fell softly on the steps of l’Hôtel de ville.
On the eve of International Woman’s Day “Madame la mairesse” greeted St. Patrick’s Parade Queen Kathleen Browne-Vandercruys and Princesses Lauren Tracey, Olivia O’Keeffe, and Taylor Pogue to Montreal City Hall, referring to the storied institution as a house. “It is a great honour for me as the first woman mayor of Montreal to welcome you to the house of Montrealers,” she said. She drew underlined the gains women have made and the time it has taken. “Women are patient, but we are there.” She congratulated Elizabeth Quinn for being only the second woman in the history of the Montreal St. Patrick’s Parade to assume the mantle of Grand Marshal as well as Alan Jones, the recipient of the 2018 Liam Daly Heritage Award for his contributions to traditional Irish music and culture. Pointing to Montreal’s reputation as a festival city and tour
ist destination Plante emphasized the economic benefits of the St. Patrick’s Parade to the city before presenting a sizable cheque to President Paul Loftus. “I salute United Irish Societies,” she said. “I hope the weather will be beautiful and not too cold and everyone will come to the parade.”
Rain or shine, sleet or snow, McCann said the 2018 parade will highlight diversity. “We will be representing our founding nations of Montreal as never before starting with the Aboriginals,” she said. “We, the Irish of Montreal, take great pride in hosting the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and hope everyone becomes Irish for a day.” She urged people not to come late if they want to take in the full scope of the event beginning at noon and expected to last about 3 hours. She said that in previous years different cultural groups had participated, drawing attention to the Caribbean music band that has become a crowd favorite: “If you have never heard steel drums playing “O Danny Boy” you don’t know what you’re missing. It is fantastic!” McCann noted there would be changes to the parade route this year. After a special meeting with the Montreal police (SPVM), organizers agreed not to cross Guy Street at De Maisonneuve Blvd. West which the parade will run along because of concerns about people trying to get to the Montreal General Hospital just up the hill. “We are in fact following the green line this year, ” she said – a jesting reference to the overhead trajectory of the green métro line.
A few city councillors were spotted in the audience. Projet Montréal city councillor Sterling Downey who represents the Desmarchais-Crawford district of Verdun had a front-row seat with wife Melissa and their newborn son who slept soundly through the whole thing oblivious to the flashing lights and buzz all around him. Another Projet Montréal city councillor Christian Arsenault of Loyola district in NDG also attended the hour-long press conference followed by a light reception and photo-ops with the mayor. For more information about changes to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade route please consult UIS’s website at: