It is once again that time of year to see the green (beer) again; St. Patrick’s day! Before getting into the different ways you can celebrate the holiday, here’s a bit of background of the man himself. St Patrick is one of the patron saints of Ireland. He is said to have died on March 17 in or around the year 493 (hence why we commemorate him on the seventeenth of March each year). He grew up in Roman Britain but was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave when he was a young adult. After some years he returned to his family and entered the church, like his father and grandfather before him. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary and worked in the north and west of the country.
According to popular legend, St Patrick rid Ireland of snakes. However, it is thought that there have been no snakes in Ireland since the last ice age. The “snakes” that St Patrick banished from Ireland, may refer to the druids or pagan worshipers of snake or serpent gods. He is said to be buried under Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, Ireland. Ireland’s other patron saints are St Brigid and St Columba.
What makes St. Patrick’s day such a fun holiday for a place like Toronto is that you never run out of new ways to celebrate it. Contrary to popular belief, there is much more you can do on St.Patrick’s besides drinking collectively drinking yourself under the table with your friends. For example, those of a more traditional and/or spiritual bent can celebrate the day it was originally intended; religiously. Specifically, If you observe the Catholic religion and want to honour St. Patrick, you can attend the St. Patrick’s Day Mass at the St. Michael’s Cathedral. It’s a special celebration and one in which the Irish Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Declan Kelly, attends every year.
Of course, St. Patrick’s day can also be celebrated traditionally, at least from the Torontonian perspective, by taking the trip to the annual St. Patrick’s day parade. Every year since 1987, Irish and Torontonians have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a parade full of colours, costumes, music, floats and much more! Starting at Bloor and St. George and finishing at Nathan Phillips Square, this parade is a great way to celebrate this festivity.
If you are looking for a creative twist on the usual ‘drink till you drop’ St.Patrick’s Day celebrations, be sure to check out this year’s edition of the annual Guinness SPD event taking place at 11 Polson Street within the downtown core. This all-day St.Patrick’s bash not only has a huge drinking section afforded by its large bar area, but there will also be free pancakes for early morning partygoers as well. Live bands, fiddlers, and Irish dancers will be accompanying the stage areas of the venue throughout the entirety of the day, and for patrons with younger members, there is also an outdoor patio session where they can get in on the fun too. Specifically, they’ll have tons of interactive games to choose from, and even have the option of getting their face painted leprechaun style as well!
Alternatively, on the other side of the city on St.Patrick’s day, Steam Whistle’s annual St Patrick’s Day Bash at the Roundhouse (255 Bremner Blvd) will be honing in the holiday in a way much more focused on the land that brought it. This particular St.Patty’s celebration will be featuring traditional Irish eats from the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill. You will also get the chance to get your jig on with traditional Irish dancing from Brogue and Scoil Rince Le Cheile. Live performances from several acts, all from the Poor Angus and Fresh Eire, will be featured throughout the day.