Happy St. Paddy’s! Yes, that’s right St. Patrick’s Day and St. Paddy’s are the proper ways of referring to the day. According to PaddyNotPatty.com Paddy is derived from the Irish, Pádraig. And for this day there are plenty of ways to celebrate the Irish in Canada.
We started Today talking about the Irish Heritage to be found in Canada and if you are curious the population of Canada includes about 15% Irish Canadians, those being Canadians from Ireland or those tracing their ancestry back to Irish immigrants, with the largest populations by number being in Ontario and by percentage being on P.E.I.
Canadians of Irish descent by province and territory from Wikipedia.
|Province/territory Irish Canadian Pop. % of Pop.|
|Alberta 539,160 16.6%|
|British Columbia 618,120 15.2%|
|Manitoba 151,915 13.4%|
|New Brunswick 150,705 21.0%|
|Northwest Territories 4,860 11.8%|
|Nova Scotia 195,365 21.6%|
|Newfoundland and Labrador 107,390 21.5%|
|Nunavut 1,220 4.2%|
|Ontario 1,988,940 16.5%|
|Prince Edward Island 39,170 29.2%|
|Quebec 406,085 5.5%|
|Saskatchewan 145,480 15.3%|
|Yukon 5,735 19.0%|
|Canada 4,354,155 13.9%|
Of course, on St. Patrick’s Day there are going to be celebrations and no true Irish Celebration would be complete without adding in some music! So for that we turn to the charts to find some of the top Irish Bands and Musicians that you can play to get a truly Irish feel for the day.
Top Irish Musicians from Billboard.com:
The Irish Rovers
Then there are films that you could put on which include a fair bit of brogue; either being set in Ireland or featuring characters who are Irish or of Irish decent. Some are fit for the whole family while others are decidedly not and we’ll separate them into the two categories.
The Quiet Man
Darby O’Gill and the Little People
The Secret of Kells
The Boondock Saints
Gangs of New York
And as an honorable mention are the films which, while not about it include a scene of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, such as The Fugitive.
Speaking of! Another tradition on St. Paddy’s are the parades. There are parades that have been happening for longer than Canada has been a country and if you would like to know where the biggest parties are we can find that out thanks to topeventscanada.com
Biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Canada:
St Patrick’s Day Parade – Montréal, Québec (QC)
Held every year since 1824, 192 years and longest consecutively running parade without interruption, Montréal’s St Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the longest-running Saint Patrick’s Day parades in North America and has come to be recognized as one of North America’s Top 10 Saint Patrick’s Day Parades. With the appearance of a giant replica of St Patrick marking the start of the fun, the three hour parade of floats, over 40 marching bands bands, a score of community and cultural groups, and thousands of appropriately dressed participants in green, the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Montréal draws a crowd of approximately 600,000 fans as it weaves through downtown Montreal.
For more information about the Montréal St Patrick’s Day visit: http://www.montrealirishparade.com/
St Patrick’s Day Parade – Vancouver, British Columbia (BC)
Top Events Canada – St Patrick’s DayRecognized as one of North America’s Top 10 Saint Patrick’s Day Parades, the Saint Patty’s Day Parade in Vancouver features over 2,000 performers and attracts more than 300,000 people each year. Highlights of the parade include award-winning pipe and drum bands, Celtic musicians, civic bands, Scottish and Irish dancers, acrobats, stilt walkers, vintage cars, Irish wolf hounds proudly marching to an Irish beat. the Vancouver police motorcycle drill team and pipe band, fire and police dogs, mounted horse drill teams, multi-cultural organizations and performers, local businesses, and celebrity guests.
For more information about the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Vancouver visit: http://www.celticfestvancouver.com/parade.php
Saint Patrick’s Day Parade – Toronto, Ontario (ON)
One of the world’s biggest (and most raucous) Saint Patrick’s Day Parades, and a popular event in Toronto since 1863 (over 150 years ago), the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Toronto, recognized as one of North America’s Top 10 Saint Patrick’s Day Parades, attracts over 500,000 spectators.
For more information about the Toronto St Patrick’s Day Parade visit: http://www.topatrick.com/
Québec City St-Patrick Parade – Québec City, Québec (QC)
Canada’s first-known celebration of St. Patrick’s Day was held in Québec City in 1765, and while the event was short-lived and not really pursued again until 2010, the Quebec City St-Patrick Parade today is now an increasingly popular event offering everything from music, song and dancing in the street, street artists, horses, and everything Irish in a lively and colorful family atmosphere.
For more information about St. Patrick’s Day in Québec City visit: http://st-patricks-day.com/st_patricks_day_parades_canada_quebec.html
No St. Patrick’s day would celebration can happen without a drink and a bite to eat. But before you enjoy that pint; there are a few things to note. Guinness has been in Ireland since 1759 and thanks to a 9000-year land lease is going to be there for some time to come it might be the most traditional pint to have today. Do not add green dye to try and make your drink more festive, it’s considered an insult to the drink! And when you raise your glass in celebration say Sláinte or slàinte (pronounced: S-lawn-che) is a word literally translating as “health” in several Gaelic languages and is commonly used as a drinking toast in Ireland. Always drink responsibly and do not drink and drive; if you must travel after your libation please remember to arrange safe passage.
As for what you might want to eat for the day? Fish & Chips is pretty standard fare, as is mutton and potatoes. But if you are feeling particularly traditional you might want to try Corned Beef & Cabbage or Shephards Pie.
And of course we cannot forget classic Irish Stew.
Irish Stew Recipe from allrecipes.com
4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.9 ounce) can dark beer (such as Guinness®)
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or as needed to cover
4 cups mashed potatoes (optional)
1. Cook and stir bacon in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until bacon is browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat and transfer bacon into a large stew pot, reserving bacon fat in the skillet.
2. Season beef chuck cubes generously with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Turn heat to high under skillet and sear beef pieces in the hot fat on both sides until browned, about 5 minutes. Place beef in stew pot with bacon, leaving fat in skillet. Turn heat down to medium; cook and stir onions in the retained fat in the skillet until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes; season with a large pinch of salt.
3. Cook garlic with onions until soft, about 1 minute; pour beer into skillet and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up and dissolving any browned bits of food into the liquid. Pour cooking liquid from skillet into the stew pot. Stir in tomato paste, thyme sprigs, carrots, celery, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and enough chicken broth to cover.
4. Bring stew to a gentle simmer, stirring to combine; reduce heat to low and cover pot. Simmer stew until beef is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Stir stew occasionally and skim fat or foam if desired.
5. Remove cover and raise heat to medium-high. Bring stew to a low boil and cook until stew has slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
6. Arrange mashed potatoes in a ring in a serving bowl; ladle stew into the center of the potatoes.
Now as we send you off to enjoy your St. Paddy’s Day there are a few Irish Blessings that you can bestow on those you meet and greet in the spirit of celebration and well wishing;
As you slide down the banisters of life may the splinters never point the wrong way.
May the saddest day of the future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May you live to be a hundred years, with one extra year to repent.
May the Lord keep you in His hand and never close His fist too tight.
May the Good Lord take a liking to you — but, not too soon.
May you be half an hour in Heaven before the Devil knows your dead.
Here’s to your coffin!
May your coffin have six handles of finest silver!
May your coffin be carried by six fair young maids!
And may your coffin be made of finest wood from a 100-year-old tree,
that I’ll go plant tomorrow!
May good luck be your friend
In whatever you do.
And may trouble be always
A stranger to you.
May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true.
May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
All photos in this post by Richard Huskisson