Montreal’s Irish Black Rock – On Wednesday June 12th 2019 at 7:00pm, the Irish community is invited to gather for a ceremony to bless the land near what is known as the ‘Black Rock’ – because of work the REM (Réseau express métropolitain) will be doing in close proximity to the site in the coming weeks. It will be a rare and significant opportunity to attest to the rich history of the Irish community in this city. Thousands of Irish people fleeing the Great Famine of 1847 settled in Montreal and it is estimated that 6,000 of them lost their lives on the shores of the St. Lawrence River during the voyage and are buried in a cemetery located near the Black Rock.
It was during the mid-19th century when workers building the Victoria Bridge across the St. Lawrence River discovered a mass grave in the area. Many of the workers were of Irish descent and disturbed by the discovery they wanted to create a memorial to ensure the grave, which held the coffins of 6,000 Irish immigrants, would not be forgotten. The Black Stone was erected on December 1st 1859 and was the first Canadian monument to represent the famine. The inscription on the stone reads: ‘To Preserve from Desecration the Remains of 6000 Immigrants Who died of Ship Fever A.D. 1847-48 / This Stone is erected by the Workmen of Messrs. Peto, Brassey and Betts Employed in the Construction of the Victoria Bridge A.D. 1859’. The ceremony will be taking place at the Loto-Quebec parking lot near the intersection of Des Irlandais and Highway 112, in front of the Black Rock.