St. Patrick's Day in Canada

St Patrick's Day is a public holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador on the nearest Monday to March 17 each year.

This event commemorates the life of St Patrick, a missionary who worked in Ireland and is said to have died on March 17 in the fifth century. He played an important role in converting the inhabitants of Ireland to Christianity. Now, his feast day is an opportunity to celebrate Irish culture.

In some cities, notably Toronto and Montreal,  St Patrick's Day parades have been held over the years, often on the Sunday closest to March 17. The parade in Montreal has been held every year since 1824.  In some places there are Irish cultural events. For instance, the Irish Association of Manitoba organizes a three-day festival of Irish culture in the week of St Patrick's Day.

The Early Canadiana Online collection and the Canadiana Discovery Portal have a great deal of information about Irish immigrants in Canada and many references are made about St. Patrick's Day.

Below is a sampling of such information.

Written Material

The Cross, a Catholic publication of the mid-19th century has an account from the Toronto Mirror of the Toronto St. Patrick's Day parade:

"... It was a proud sight to see Protestant and Catholic, Tory and Liberal, Repealer and Orangeman, walking side-by side in generous rivalry to honour the common land of their fathers and the common home of their hearts; and we devoutly bless the Mighty Ruler of Nations for such a sight ..." (April 26, 1846)

From The Month, a New Westminster, B.C. Irish-Canadian publication, comes some St.Patrick's Day poetry as well as a detailed account of the story of St. Patrick and the Irish conversion to Christianity in "The Apostle of Ireland". (March 1892)

The Irish Literary Revival, a publication of the Catholic Young Ladies Literary Association of Toronto, contains a transcript of a wide-ranging lecture on Irish matters by the Countess of Aberdeen, including a detailed story about St. Patrick. (May 1895)

"The Irishman in Canada", by Nicholas Flood Davin, a huge treatise on the Irish in Canada. (1877)


St. Patrick's Day Souvenir Issue of The True Witness, March 1896

St. Patrick's Day parade, Montreal 1924




For additional information about St. Patrick's Day or the Irish in Canada, please search on both of those terms in Early Canadiana Online and the Canadiana Discovery Portal.