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Hamilton Irish well represented in Toronto St Patrick’s Parade

Story and pictures By DENIS GIBBONS

Burlington's Barry Quinn sporting a stogie in memory of brother Pat Quinn

For more than 40 years Barry Quinn has been serving up his own brand of corned beef and cabbage to guests on St. Patrick’s Day, most recently at St. Elizabeth’s Village.

Sunday, for the third time, the former Burlington city councillor and younger brother of the late Pat Quinn, of hockey fame, marched in Toronto’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Rockin’ his green Irish bowler and big cigar, he marched with Hamilton Irish Arts, an organization that meets every Tuesday night at the Corktown Pub.  

The stogie was in memory of Pat, who played in the NHL, once coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and guided Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

“Pat kept a pillow at his home,” Quinn said. “The inscription on it read, ‘if they don’t allow cigar-smoking in heaven, I don’t’ wanna go,!”

Son John created a bicycle built for two and decorated it in green for his dad and mom Louise to ride in.

Barry and Louise Quinn riding in style

Quinn grew up playing hockey on a homemade rink in Mahoney Park. Glennie Avenue, where he grew up, has since been renamed Pat Quinn Way.

The McMaster University marching band added more Hamilton flavor to the event, making another appearance in the parade. The Mac musicians formerly have taken part in St. Patrick’s Day parades in Montreal and Buffalo. In 2018 they won the Friends of McGill Trophy for the best university unit at Montreal.

McMaster Marching Band at Bloor and Yonge Streets in Toronto

This year’s grand marshal was Jack Armstrong, sports broadcaster for the Toronto Raptors and TSN.

More than 5,000 participants march the parade route each year and thousands more line Bloor, Yonge and Queen streets to watch.

Hamilton Celtic culture on display in Toronto

In a multicultural twist, this year’s participants included a Philippine heritage marching band, a Ukrainian band, and Mexican, San Patricios and Japanese precision dancers.

Hamilton Irish Arts was established in 2008 to bring back the Irish culture to Hamilton.

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