Canadian Irish giving it loads at the Montreal St Patrick's Day Parade

It just gets earlier and earlier!

It is only October but the first Grand Marshal for 2014 has now been announced for St Patrick’s Day.

It is from the good folks at the United Irish Societies of Montreal, who in typical Canadian fashion are all organized and prepped up well in advance of their American cousins.

There it was, the announcement  in my inbox on Wednesday, October 16th.

“On October 6th President Beverly Murphy announced the dignitaries for the 2014 parade:

 - Grand Marshal: Mr William O'Donnell
 - Chief Reviewing Officer: Mr. Brian MacKenzie
 - Simon McDonaugh Humanitarian Award: Mr Francis Baddeley
 - Liam Daly Heritage Award: John Gilroy

Congrats to all.

They also inform me that this November 2 the United Irish Societies of Montreal will be celebrating its 85th anniversary as organizers of the Montreal St Patrick's parade. Details can be found on their Facebook page.

There are 500,000 Quebeckers with Irish heritage.

I spent some time up in Montreal a few years back and spoke to the major Irish society there. They have had nothing like the level of emigration that other parts of North America have, but they have a wonderful Irish community nonetheless. Who can ever forget the kindness of Canadians, who adopted thousands of Irish orphans off the Famine ships? Or those who died at the Grosse Isle quarantine station on the St Laurence river helping those same desperate Irish?

There is a great Canadian School of Irish Studies at Concordia University headed by Professor Michael Kenneally.

Michael was at the Global Diaspora Forum recently in Dublin and talked eloquently about the enormous Irish contribution to Canada, something often overlooked because of the focus on the United States.

Doesn’t it seem like stuff is getting announced earlier than ever? There is a house in my neighborhood that has its Christmas lights up as of last week. I kid you not.

What next, July 4th on New Year’s Eve?