Irish Politics on Parade: The Clergy, National Societies, and St. Patrick’s Day Processions in Nineteenth-century Montreal and Toronto

  • Rosalyn Trigger


Comparative methods allow us to explore how the experiences of nineteenth-century Irish communities varied across Canada. Examination of St. Patrick’s Day processions in Montreal and Toronto reveals that those organizing the processions in Montreal were generally more successful at achieving the appearance of community consensus than their counterparts in Toronto. In both cities the parades acted as a catalyst for discussions concerning the balance between lay initiative and clerical authority, the question of loyalty to Canada versus loyalty to Ireland, and the relationship between Protestants and Catholics. Only by exploring the complex interactions of local, national, and international politics in each of the two communities, however, can we understand these different outcomes.