A home for many settlers in the 19th century, Canada is rich with Irish history. As the Irish came over to Canada in search of work, refuge and new beginnings, they settled across the country from the shores of Newfoundland all the way to British Columbia.
Whether you’re of Irish descent, or Irish for the day, OK Tire has put together the top destinations for celebrating the Luck O’ The Irish here in Canada. Check out a Celtic festival in BC and step into a piece of history in Quebec. No matter where you are, there’s good craic to be had.
Before heading out, don’t forget to book an appointment with an OK Tire Certified Technician to change over your tires for the spring as well as a full check-up so you’re in tip-top shape to hit the road.
Grosse Île – Gulf of St. Lawrence, QC
Situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a string of 21 islands, among which is Grosse Île. A home for Irish immigrants escaping the Great Famine in the mid-1800s, Grosse Isle represents new beginnings and hope. Hop on a ferry to the island and immerse yourself in the lives of the Irish settlers. Visitors can look for their ancestors on the memorial wall, check out the only surviving hospital from the settler days and hop on-board the Tourist Trolley for a full tour of the island’s history.
The Irish Loop – NL
Grab your car and take a trip to Newfoundland, the other Emerald Isle. Claiming the only unique Irish name outside Europe, Talamh an Éisc or “Land of the Fish”, Newfoundland is about as close as Canadians can get to Ireland without crossing the ocean. Start your journey in St. John’s where you can stroll the streets and get a first-hand look at the historic buildings built by Irish immigrants. Make sure you stop by George Street, where the annual George Street Festival happens every year in a roaring celebration of music, dancing and more. Then, drive south where you’ll pass through old European settlements like Ferryland and Cape Race. As you loop back up toward St. John’s, be sure to look out for whales off-shore. The entire loop is 312 kilometres, and you’ll be sure to get your fill of the Irish way of life along the way.
Celtic Fest – Vancouver, BC
Head to the West Coast and you’ll stumble across Western Canada’s biggest annual Celtic festival. Celebrating all things Irish, this festival runs throughout February and March, culminating in the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and parade on March 17th. Embrace the green, white and gold, and make your way to Vancouver for the ultimate in Irish culture. Who knows, you may even spot a leprechaun!
Ireland Park – Toronto, ON
For a change of scenery on a busy Toronto trip, slow down and make a stop at Ireland Park. At the foot of Bathurst Street on Éireann Quay, passers-by will notice several structures at the water. The five bronze statues were created by Irish sculptor Rowan Gillespie and depict both the struggle and hope of Irish settlers escaping the Great Famine for a better life in Toronto. Included with a visit to the park is a stunning view of the Toronto skyline, so this is a must-see for anyone in the city.
Happy travels, and as the Irish would say, Go n-éirí an bóthar leat (May the road rise up to meet you)!