The Irish in Montreal have been organizing celebrations since as far back as 1824, when Michael O’Sullivan and the members of the Hibernian Society took it upon themselves to organize, for the very first time, a public celebration in memory of Saint Patrick. Michael O’Sullivan is an oft forgotten important character in Quebec society. A search of the Internet will net you some very interesting information about O’Sullivan including his commission in the Beauharnois battalion of militia in 1812, cited in dispatches in 1813 for bravery related to the Battle of Chateauguay, and much more. At the time of his death on 7 March 1839, O’Sullivan was a leading member of the legal profession in Lower Canada, having been rewarded with the post of chief justice of the Court of King’s Bench, Montreal District.
The foundations laid by O’Sullivan in 1824 were further reinforced by the creation of the St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal in 1834, of which O’Sullivan is listed as a Vice President. The Society was a non political, non sectarian organization, charitable in nature, that was then given the responsibility of organizing the annual parade. This responsibility continued until the 1890s, when the Ancient Order of Hibernians assumed responsibility for the parade. They maintained this responsibility through the 1928 parade, after which the newly created United Irish Societies of Montreal grabbed the baton and have been running with it ever since.
In the City of Montreal many official activities take place – the Parade, the Charity Ball, the Annual Luncheon, the Irishman of the Year Breakfast. The pubs will fill with revelers in the weeks leading up to the festivities.
Whether you’re Irish, or Irish for a day, be sure to participate in the activities surrounding the St. Patrick’s Parade, which takes place on Sunday March 22nd.