Every year on the weekend of March 16th, thousands of Montrealers brave cold temperatures to cheer on the annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade as it marches its way down Ste-Catherine Street. It is estimated that approximately 40% of Quebecers can claim Irish heritage and with the turnout at the parade, visitors to Montreal may well think that the whole town has gone mad with Celtic fever!
Now in its 179th edition, the parade is the oldest and longest running Saint Patrick's Day Parade in North America, even rivaling the parade held in Dublin, Ireland. The first Saint Patrick's Day Parade ever held in Montreal took place in 1824 to the delight of the city's thriving Irish community. One hundred and seventy-eight years later, the parade is still going strong, attracting thousands of elated onlookers dressed up in green for the occasion. A few things have changed since then, with the Queen of the Parade presiding over the event in the very last float, in a tradition that began in 1956.
Organized by the United Irish Societies of Montreal and led by the Grand Marshall, the parade begins at the corner of Fort and Ste-Catherine Streets and runs around two hours as it winds east down to Ste-Catherine and St-Urbain. With dozens of floats carrying flag-waving patriots and Irish dancers among other things, Montreal's Saint Patrick's Day Parade is a guaranteed afternoon o'fun for the whole family!
Tian Guo Marching Band was invited first time to celebrate the St. Patrick Day with Montrealers in participating the parade. Most of the members of Tian Guo Marching Band came from Montreal locally. Some of them came from Ottawa, Kingston, Quebec City and Toronto also.