The 196th St. Patrick's Day parade will run along Ste. Catherine St. this year, although the route is shorter than in previous editions.

Sunday's event is scheduled to begin at noon at Fort St. and make its way east to Metcalfe St. and Place du Canada.

Thousands of people are expected to watch the 110 groups, with 17 bands and dozens of floats.

This year's Irishman of the year is Father John Walsh, and he says the parade represents the best parts of the city.

"The Irish parade, St. Patrick's Day Parade, is a parade that welcomes spring. No matter what the temperature is, or if we've had snow or cold weather, it's still spring is around the corner," said Father Walsh.

"When you walk down Ste. Catherine St. and you see these people of different languages, different cultures, and you see strollers and you see old people with canes, and you say to yourself, this is Montreal."