Celebrate And Get Lucky Like The Irish While In Montreal During March!
In this edition of the Furnished Apartments Montreal Blog, we look at what happens if you’re lucky enough to stop by in time for St. Patrick’s Day! So many Canadians have Irish ancestry that Irish culture remains hugely influential in Montreal, and across Canada. As such, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the liveliest city events. The associated celebrations take over a weekend and often last for the whole week. The United Irish Societies of Montreal organize the parade. The Montreal parade is the oldest in Canada, starting in 1824. So a weekend of fun and Guinness is definitely on the cards. Here’s what to look forward to.
THE GREAT PARADE
The centerpiece of the celebrations is a colorful, cheerful, and noisy parade. The parade usually goes along St. Catherine’s St, but sometimes alternates onto de Maisonneuve, which is right above St. Catherine’s. The change is often because of heavy road construction work. Be sure to check out the website to better understand the trajectory that’ll be used.
Catholic and Protestant communities march alongside each other, with cheerleaders, dancers, and marching bands surrounding the floats. Different churches, community groups, and schools sponsor floats. So there is a cavalcade of different flags, costumes, and sounds to be seen.
People wear traditional green hats, wave flags, and cheer the parade on its way. Some people go to town with shamrock sunglasses, green tinsel, green feather boas, green glitter, and face paint. Others are more historical in their homage, with girls in traditional dresses and tiaras and others in period costumes. Watching the spectators is almost as much fun as watching the actual parade itself! The parade starts at midday and usually lasts two to three hours.
DRINKING LIKE THE IRISH
St. Patrick’s Day is a greatly valid excuse to start drinking early. Downtown Montreal has plenty of Irish pubs and bars to choose from. Most have plenty of live music, decent food, and of course, a good selection of stouts and whiskeys.
Many bars get into the spirit by offering a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. A lot of parade watchers like to warm up with an Irish coffee. By lunchtime all the pubs and bars are full. So, if you want to be sure of a seat, it is a good idea to arrive before midday.
McKibbins have a few pubs across Montreal, with the one on Bishop St. being the most central. Despite being a large and jovial pub over three floors, it is often very crowded. There are six Ye Olde Orchard pubs, with one Downtown. Found in a heritage building and offering home-cooked food, it offers a classic Irish pub experience.
L’Escalier is a little out of Downtown, near Berri-Uqam. Known for live music, it hosts Irish folk sessions on Monday evenings.
Even if you arrive late and don’t want to wait in line for a seat, you can still have a great day wandering around. The streets fill with thousands of revellers so the whole of Downtown starts to feel like one enormous Irish pub.
LUNCHEON & THE CHARITY BALL
The St Patrick’s Society of Montreal hosts an upscale Luncheon and Charity Ball. This year it is on March 16 and tickets cost $95 for non-members. The Honorable Jean Charest PC, former Premier of Quebec and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada in 1993, was the guest speaker for 2018. A central event in the Irish communities’ calendar, it is perhaps a more genteel way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
We hope this piece has given you some interesting insights on what to expect on St. Patrick’s Day during your stay in Montreal!