The sun came out from behind the clouds and the snow flurries subsided for the 198th United Irish Societies of Montreal (UISM) St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Thousands lined the streets clad in green for the first time since 2019.

There was a smaller walking parade in 2022.

"I think I can speak for most of Montreal to say we're really excited to be here," said vice-president of public relations for the UISM Lauren Tracey. "We're going to have a nice long parade."

St. Patrick's Day Parade returns to Montreal

More than 80 floats travelled up Ste. Catherine Street in the downtown core to the sound of around 20 bands from Quebec and Ontario. 

Tracey said that the parade is always a year in the making and that it takes dozens of volunteers to make it go smoothly.

"I think the misconception is that March is a busy month and then otherwise, you're just kind of sitting pretty and waiting for it to happen," she said. "It's not."

Puppies at the parade

For the downtown establishments that have been hard hit by the pandemic restrictions and migration of workers to remote work, the return of the event couldn't come soon enough.

"Finally back to normal!" said managing partner at Brutopia Bru Pub on Crescent Street Jeff Picard. 

With files from CTV News reporter Olivia O'Malley.