Sláinte! Thousands show up for 194th St. Patrick's Day Parade
Not everyone was Irish but all were green at the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday.
The festivities kicked off at the corner of Fort St. and Ste. Catherine at noon, with the floats, marching bands, dancers and other participants making their way to Phillips Square. Among those who took part were our very own team from CTV Montreal, winning the trophy for "Best Media Entry".
"It's great. The weather is awesome," said Kevin Murphy, Vice President of Public Relations for the United Irish Societies of Montreal, which organized the parade. "I only have one pair of socks on, it's a good year for the parade."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in attendance, as was Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who was this year's Grand Marshall, as well as Chief Reviewing Officer Sister Dianna Lieffers from St. Gabriel's Church in Point St. Charles.
The event was presided over by this year's Parade Queen, Mary Lynne Loftus.
Among the changes to this year's edition were newer, small floats. Murphy said the change was due to safety concerns as well as better visibility.
Some revellers were there just to enjoy the beautiful weather. Others said they came to experience a different culture. And for still others, it was about tradition.
"Our grandma passed away five years ago and we wore it to her funeral," said one parade-goer of her shamrock scarf. "Now, we wear it every St. Patrick's Day and everyone has one. She was proud, she made them all, so we get excited and we wear them for her."
Murphy said this year's parade was especially poignant due to the city's 375th anniversary celebrations. With so much history in the city, there was a focus on including cultures other than the Irish in the event.
"In North America, there's not many other towns or cities that are as old as Montreal and we're here to celebrate it," he said. "We're doing a section of the parade at the beginning celebrating Montreal's 375. Some of the founding nations including the French