St Patrick’s Day Parade Toronto
by Andrew Rivett
Green shirts, hats, and beer everywhere. Snaking lineups outside the pubs. Jolly good cheer on the streets. Shamrocks (NOT four-leaf clovers, thank you) painted on people’s cheeks. Yup, St. Patrick’s Day is upon us! Officially celebrated with a big bang every year on March 17, the entire city goes into party mode for the Irish patron saint’s day.
If you need to know where to go to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, keep reading to find the best places to surround yourself with Irish food, drink, music, and happy people. Also, if you’re looking for family-friendly entertainment or perhaps the opportunity to raise some funds for those in need during this weekend, this guide has got you covered too.
Go EARLY to an Irish Pub
St Patrick’s Day
by Mihnea Stanciu
This year, we’re lucky enough to have St. Patrick’s Day fall on a Saturday. As such, most Irish pubs will be opening at 11am, if not earlier. Lineups are expected an hour or two before that, so if you want to hit any of the following well-loved pubs, go early!
(1301 Queen St. E., by Queen and Jones Ave.)
An authentic Irish pub serving as a hub for Celtic culture in Leslieville, Ceili will throw some big St. Patrick’s Shenanigans for Saturday, including live music by Mere Mortals, a performance by the Gilchrist-Canavan dance team, Irish brews and whiskeys, wild Irish mussels and oysters.
Allen’s Restaurant and Dora Keogh pub
(141 and 143 Danforth Ave., by Danforth and Broadview Ave.)
In the Danforth, Allen’s and Dora Keogh are the places to be at this weekend. The former is modelled after Irish New York saloon-style restaurants, featuring traditional Celtic music and dance, while the latter is known as the most authentic Irish country pub in the city. Needless to say, Celtic bands like the Aideen O’Brien Band and Nisha will be playing live music all day and night at both spots on Saturday. Allen’s menu is specially prepared for the festivities, including Scallops Kilpatrick, mussels steamed in white wine, wood-smoked salmon, glazed corned beef, and traditional Irish stew.
PJ O’Brien Pub by Slava
(39 Colborne St., by Yonge and Wellington)
Head to PJ O’Brien if you want to stay in the downtown core. A classier Irish pub and restaurant, it boasts a great selection of draft beers, Irish whiskeys, traditional pub fare, and live music and dance this Saturday.
(locations on Front St., the Esplanade, University Ave., and Bloor St.)
A chain of Irish eateries across Ontario and Alberta, Fionn MacCool offers a spring menu just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, with Celtic selections such as Cashel and Kilkenny Cheese Dip, Haddock and Shrimp Cake Combo, and Colcannon Pie. Great music and atmosphere are expected as well at all locations this Saturday.
(14 Madison, by Bloor and Spadina)
A favourite spot for university students, the Maddy will throw a huge party over all five of its floors for the celebration, featuring a multitude of bands playing Celtic tunes including Big Fog, the Make Barnes Band, and Dan Kosub Duo.
(255 Bremner Blvd., by CN Tower and Rogers Centre)
The Saturday party at the local brewery kicks off at 2pm, with entertainment by Brogue, Poor Angus, and the Woodgate-Shamrock Irish Dancers. Food will be provided by the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill, and fresh Steam Whistle beer will be waiting for you at the bar. Cover is $15.
If you wanna bring your family along for the Irish party, check out the special brunch at the Gladstone on Saturday. Irish music by the Bellwoods Trinity, a puppet show and a kids menu are sure to make the little ones happy.
Also on Saturday, Montgomery Inn hosts afternoon tea featuring Irish tea-time specialties, classic porter cake, shamrock cookies, freshly-baked bread from the wood fired oven, and of course live music, all for $10.
Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5k Run/Walk
For those of you in a particularly benelovent mood this weekend, or if you’re looking for something to do besides drinking, check out the Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5k Run/Walk. Taking place Sunday, March 18 at the Steam Whistle brewery, this fundraiser benefits Achilles Canada, a non-profit that provides training programs to help the disabled participate in running, whether as a hobby or at the professional athletic level. Last year the run/walk raised over $90,000. For more info and to register for the event, visit official website of the Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5k Run/Walk.