Tuesday 24 April 2018

Eleanor McGrath: Syngeing the praises of Irish stereotypes for Patrick’s Day in green

SETTLING into my seat on the plane back to Toronto knowing I will be home just in time for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. In my colonial city, there is a gathering brewing. Gone is the memory of why Canada’s largest city, once divided along religious lines, has a St. Patrick’s Parade that is only 26 years old.

The answer if found on a tombstone in the local St. Michael’s Cemetery: “Matthew Sheedy killed by pitchfork, March 17th 1858”.   Those who keep marching will celebrate the 193rd Orange Parade this July.  A raggle-taggle gathering of Lodge members kept on that same marching route by a small bored group of Toronto police watched by an equally raggle-taggle group of spectators. 

Welcome, Willkommen, Bienvenue … the list goes on in subway platforms. Here in 21st century Toronto over 170 languages are spoken daily.  I am becoming a visible minority as more come and make their new life in Canada just as my Irish ancestors did in 1847.

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