Thought I'd give a little shout out for Toronto's St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday, March 15th, 2015. This year, the parade begins at 12:00 noon from Bloor and St. George (near the old U of T Varsity Stadium) and finishes at Nathan Philips Square on Queen Street.
Notably, only the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has declared St. Patrick's Day a public holiday (on the Monday closest to March 17th). Toronto doesn't, we have to work hungover. Manitoba hosts a 3-day festival, but it's not deemed a public holiday there either.
Montreal hosts one of the longest-running St. Patrick's Day parades in North America (which began in 1824). Prior to the parade, it was celebrated as early as 1759 by Irish soldiers in Quebec. Hey, I feel a little ripped off.
A bit about Saint Patrick
Neither the date of Saint Patrick's birth nor his death are agreed upon by historians and scholars. What we know: he was born in the UK around AD 373 - 390 and was enslaved at the age of 16 by Irish pirates. After 6 years, he escaped to return home.
During his enslavement, he became rooted in Christianity and later felt the need to return to Ireland after finding his way back home. He worked as a missionary in Ireland (along with Chief Aodhan) and played a pivotal role in converting pagans and druids to Christianity.
We celebrate the day he died which is thought to be March 17th on or about AD 461 - 493 (unlike the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day).
Since most of us have to work Monday, March 16th
I don't want to bore you with the details of St. Patrick's Day (there are tons of pages about it on the internet), I thought you might enjoy an Irish comedian or two.
Recently, a reader told me about Danny Bhoy(I know, not an Irish name). His background is Indian and Scottish (which must mean he's unbiased). Since comedians are the most harshly judged (of any professionals I know), perhaps we should hear what they think of us.
His interview with George Stroumboulopoulos (next) sums up how many comedians view audiences worldwide (only 2:13):
Comedian Danny Bhoy on the differences between British, American, and Canadian audiences
Tommy Tiernan (ay, a good Irish name at last)
A few things fascinate me about Tommy Tiernan. First of all, he has 6 children. How on earth does he manage to tour so much? Or could that be the motivating factor? Second, in 1998 he won the Best Stand Up Award at the British Comedy Awards (the Brits are the toughest critics, I hear). And get this . . he holds the Guinness World Record for the longest stand-up performance of 36 hours and 15 minutes.
I'm guessing here that his wife's labor with 6 children might have been part of some wager. Of course, the word Guinness in the title might have driven the fighting Irish man in him too.
In Canada, his touring dates sold out. Following his performances, he was met with standing ovations (yeah, we love him here). Other ventures of his include hosting his own radio show and producing a TV show. A sitcom and documentary are also in the works.
Enjoy the short (1:32 second) clip of Tommy Tiernan speaking with George Stroumboulopoulos who I keep hoping will lose the earrings. Hockey fans everywhere will enjoy this one:
Tommy Tiernan on Don Cherry
Conan O'Brien visits the Irish American Heritage Center (includes incredible river dancing)
I laughed until I cried viewing this clip (a must-see):
Sure, you can buy all kinds of Irish mementos
But I bet you just want to eat some Taaaytos now
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(price as of Feb 9, 2016)