Quebec City celebrates St. Patrick’s Day throughout March

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Photo: Cassandra Kerwin

Although the parade has been cancelled for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Défilé de la Saint-Patrick de Québec and the Ville de Québec have organized Irish festivities until March 23. These photos are from the 2019 parade.

Spring is in the air, and with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, the organizers of the Défilé de la Saint-Patrick de Québec (DSPQ) are determined to keep the season festive and green despite the pandemic.

Normally, they would be preparing for the annual parade, but it has been cancelled due to public health measures for the second year in a row. Despite this, residents will still be able to celebrat eall things Irish until March 23.

“Last year, we were very busy at parade time and we were organizing until the very last minute. We were forced to cancel the parade maybe four days before it was supposed to happen, and cancelling anything of that magnitude is labour- intensive,” said DSPQ president Robert Dinan. “After cancelling the 2020 edition last spring, I was absolutely sure that we would not have the 2021 edition. Since then, we have been working hard with the City on Plan B, a wink at past défilés.”

To compensate for the cancelled parade, the Ville de Québec has decided to honour Irish traditions throughout the month of March. The main commercial arteries of Quebec City – Avenue Cartier, Rue Saint-Jean, Rue Saint-Joseph, 3ième Avenue and the Petit-Champlain district – will be decorated in green, white and orange.

The city has collaborated with participating restaurants and Québec Table Gourmande to offer people the opportunity to order from Irish-inspired menus from March 11 to 20. Food can be paired with Irish beer or whiskey.

These meals can be enjoyed on St. Patrick’s Day, as people settle in to watch a documentary prepared by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications. On March 17, the virtual commemorative show De l’Irlande à Québec, part of the Québec se souvient series, will be streamed on the Ville de Québec website at ville.quebec.qc.ca/saintpatrick. Under the artistic direction of Cyrille-Gauvin Francoeur and Josée La Roche, the documentary will include interviews with a descendant of an Irish family and an Irish immigrant. It will include a special presentation by the Pipes and Drums of the Emerald Society of the New York Police Department, who are regularly hosted by the Ville de Québec for the Défile de la Saint-Patrick, along with pipe and drum bands from Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Toronto. The documentary will remain available on the website after March 17.

After two straight years without a parade, Dinan is looking forward to 2022 and beyond. “To better prepare for future défilés, I would like to get funding to create a parade handbook,” said Dinan. “Many of the board members are volunteers who serve their time before moving on. Only a few people have been there since the beginning. We do it because we love our city and our Irish heritage.”

 

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The Pipes and Drums of the Emerald Society of the New York Police Department will be a part of De l’Irlande à Québec, a documentary about the history of the Défilé de la Saint-Patrick de Québec.  (Photo by Cassandra Kerwin)