Green beer, shamrocks, and an opportunity to enjoy good times with good friends — St. Patrick’s Day is all of this, and more, for the Irish, Irish-Canadians, and Canadians alike! Whether you’re Irish by birth, of heart, or only just for the day, chances are you want in on some of the action that comes from one of the most joyous days of the year. Well, you’re in the right place.
No matter where you are in Canada we’ve got the best spots to celebrate St. Patrick’s day in 2018 and we’ve ranked the spots based on how many Irish-by-origin make up the city’s population. Can you guess what cities made the list?
(Disclosure: We looked at the census metropolitan areas, or the next largest geographic area, to rank the largest Irish-Canadian populations in Canada.)
1. Peterborough, Ontario – 31.76% Irish
Almost a third of Peterborough’s population is of Irish descent! While Peterborough might be considered a small town in Ontario, what it lacks in size it makes up for in spirit when it comes to St. Patrick’s day celebrations! Their 17th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the community’s can’t-miss events.
2. Saint John, New Brunswick – 29.84% Irish
If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy with friends this year, look no further than O’Leary’s Pub in downtown Saint John. Situated right in the heart of downtown, you can easily let some green beers keep you warm when you’re this close to the water in March.
3. St. John’s, Newfoundland – 29.73% Irish
The best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in St. John’s is to sample all the local culture offers by conducting your very own pub crawl! All you have to do is walk down two streets: Water Street and George Street, and you’ll find some of the coziest, comfortable, and welcoming Irish bars (like O’Reilly’s Pub and Green Sleeves) in the country. The perfect opportunity to make your very own Irish marathon!
4. Kingston, Ontario – 27.55% Irish
One of the hottest tickets of the year will be this St. Patrick’s Day in Kingston, Ontario. This year The Mahones are coming to town. They’ll be bringing their own brand of “Canadian-Irish” punk to Queen’s University campus, and the tunes alone are reason enough to snag tickets.
5. Charlottetown, PEI – 27.11% Irish
For those who want to do a little something different this St. Patrick’s Day, you can make your way all throughout Charlottetown’s beautiful neighbourhoods with their St. Patrick’s Day 5K & 10K. Starting first thing in the morning, there’s no reason why you can’t have a run and then celebrate with a beer (or two) afterwards!
6. Fredericton, New Brunswick – 26.02% Irish
Anyone from Fredericton, New Brunswick will tell you that Dolan’s Pub is one of the places to be any night of the week, but that things are just a bit more special on St. Patty’s Day at this traditional Irish pub. What can you expect? Lots of live music, and lots of Guinness – we wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
7. Halifax, Nova Scotia – 23.57% Irish
Heading right along the water, and ending in a flag-raising ceremony, the Halifax St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the best ways to celebrate being Irish (whether for life or for the day) in the Maritimes. There’s also an after party!
8. Barrie, Ontario – 23.45% Irish
Barrie is known for its nightlife, and St. Patrick’s Day is a day where people really have the opportunity to cut loose. One of the best places to spend the evening is at Donaleigh’s Irish Public House. It helps when you have local Irish band The Flailing Shillelaghs playing from 2:30 in the afternoon, all the way until 1:30 in the morning!
9. North Bay, Ontario – 22.86% Irish
Moose’s Cookhouse is known for three things: their wings, their beer, and their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. This is where all, or at least most, of North Bay will be congregating this year during their St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
10. Sarnia, Ontario – 22.71% Irish
Stoke’s Bay, sitting right on the water, knows how to have fun on St. Patrick’s Day. Not only do they have the staples, like green beer, they have plenty of games, music, and lots of good times. This is Sarnia’s premier location for good times.
11. Oshawa, Ontario – 21.94% Irish
The people of Oshawa like to do things a bit differently, which makes for one of the more unique and exciting events this St. Patrick’s Day. That’s because Oshawa has its very own St. Patrick’s Day Bonspiel. This is where you’ll see lots of curling, lunch, dinner, and even a dance – this is a Canadian twist on the most Irish day of the year, that is for sure.
12. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario – 21.35% Irish
A little-known fact about Sault Ste. Marie is that they have something known as the “BARmuda Triangle” in their downtown. That’s why on St. Patrick’s Day, they absolutely have to have a bar crawl to celebrate all of these fine spots for local libations. That’s what St. Patrick’s Day In The Soo is all about, and why it’s the thing to do this March.
13. Whitehorse, Yukon – 20.35% Irish
It’s easy to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, even up north! Whitehorse is ringing in the most Irish day of the year with their signature St. Patrick’s Day Concert. You can see Delhi 2 Dublin, alongside local favourites the Leesiders headlining the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre for an evening of good times and memorable tunes.
14. Victoria, British Columbia – 19.90% Irish
Victoria’s Irish Times Pub actually has the distinction of being voted North America’s Best Irish Pub, so what better way to celebrate the big than at this stylish public house? Come here and you’re sure to find lots of friends, traditional Celtic music, and plenty of Guinness!
15. London, Ontario – 19.82% Irish
London’s Richmond Street is regarded as one of Canada’s best for bar crawls. That’s why on St. Patrick’s Day they host an all-day bar crawl, complete with a breakfast and a visit to each of the city’s best pubs and bars. Do you have the stamina? This is the perfect way to find out.
16. Greater Sudbury – 18.70% Irish
Who doesn’t love Celtic music, especially on St. Patrick’s Day? Sudbury is ringing in St. Patrick’s Day with musician Duncan Cameron, the folk music icon who specializes in adaptations of French and English songs with a Celtic twist.
17. Ottawa, Ontario – 18.48% Irish
One of the Ottawa area’s best craft brewers will be hosting their very own St. Patrick’s Day party that is going to become a can’t-miss event for many years to come. The Beau’s St. Patrick’s Day Party will feature live music, traditional food, activities, and lots and lots of delicious craft beer.
18. Moncton, New Brunswick – 18.27% Irish
Head on down to the Sunny Brae Legion for Moncton’s St. Patrick’s Day Dance that you will not want to miss. Dancing, prizes, and live country music will round out what is sure to be a jovial evening of celebrating the Irish in all of us.
19. Thunder Bay, Ontario – 18.18% Irish
Looking for something a bit more traditional? Head down to Thunder Bay’s Red Lion Smokehouse in order to see their “Blowin’ A Hooley” show. A traditional Irish music session, you’ll find pipes, fiddles, banjos, and more, all night long.
20. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories – 17.84% Irish
Franklin Avenue is home to some of the best St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Yellowknife this year. First, head to the Black Knight Pub for your first round (or two) of drinks, and then the NWT Brewing Co for even more fun in the evening. Best of all? If you need to end your night early, you can take a growler home as you stroll through Yellowknife’s Old Town.
21. Kelowna, British Columbia – 17.51% Irish
At 11 am, a Kelowna favourite, the Tree Brewing Company, will be tapping a 1,000-litre tank of Irish stout, followed by Irish music, dancing, and a strict no-green-beer policy (for those St. Patrick’s Day purists). If you’re looking for a good time, you’ll find it here.
22. Hamilton, Ontario – 17.42% Irish
For those who call “the Hammer” home, they know that the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the best days to show off your Irish pride. Starting at 1 pm, this is the best way to get your green on and strut your stuff in the city.
23. Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario – 17.10% Irish
Need another reason to shop local in the KW area? This St. Patrick’s Day, the Kitchener Market is hosting their very own celebration of Irish culture. You can sample food, enjoy some traditional Irish dancing, and marvel at the creations of local artisans all at the same time.
24. Chilliwack, British Columbia – 16.85% Irish
The perfect place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the area is perfect for both young and old: the St. Patrick’s Day Gold Loonie Skates. All it takes is one dollar, and you can hit the ice while sporting your favourite green ensemble.
25. Regina, Saskatchewan – 15.39% Irish
If you’re in Regina this year for St. Patty’s Day, the Bushwakker Brewpub is, hands down, the place to be for all of your celebrations. Featuring Guinness, shamrock lagers, traditional Irish food, dancing, and live music. Need more reason? Head Brewer Michael Gaetz will also be tapping a “firkin” of their ever-popular Irish stout.
26. Medicine Hat, Alberta – 15.29% Irish
The best place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Medicine Hat is also one of the newest! All you have to do is head to the Lucky Goat, where they will be having their official grand opening party on, you guessed it, St. Patrick’s Day. Drinks, food, and apparently you could even win a trip to Las Vegas, too!
27. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – 14.75% Irish
An iconic pub right in the heart of Saskatoon, O’Shea’s Irish Pub has always been one of the best places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the Prairies. You can feast on shepherd’s pie and fish and chips, alongside a crowd of locals who make this a non-stop party on one of the biggest days of the year.
28. Lethbridge, Alberta – 14.42% Irish
This has to be one of the most interesting ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In Lethbridge, Alberta, you can enjoy their 2018 Moonlight Run decked out in green as they celebrate the big day with a 5K and 10K run.
29. Calgary, Alberta – 14.16% Irish
You can head straight to the source to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Calgary! Head on down to the Teeling Distillery Company for a full tasting or Irish whiskeys, not only to taste some of Canada’s fastest-growing premium spirits, but to learn something while you’re at it.
30. Edmonton, Alberta – 14.08% Irish
If you’re in Edmonton, hit the trails this St. Patrick’s Day for the St. Patrick’s Day Trail Run/Walk. After working up an appetite, you can hit Duggan’s Boundary Irish Pub for all the libations you can handle (and to celebrate with your fellow runners, because a little team spirit can go a long way).
31. Abbotsford, British Columbia – 12.77% Irish
The hottest ticket in Abbotsford for St. Patrick’s Day has to be their annual concert, featuring Scottish-Canadian tenor John McDermott. An excellent way to appreciate traditional Irish music, this is a fantastic way to get back to your Irish roots (even if you’re only Irish for the day).
32. Winnipeg, Manitoba – 12.52% Irish
Winnipeg’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is considered one of the best in the country, and for good reason! Lots of folks come out, embark across downtown, and even get to enjoy discounts at local pubs afterwards. Now that’s a winning combination!
33. Vancouver, British Columbia – 11.18% Irish
One of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parties in Canada happens right in the heart of Vancouver! CelticFest is a celebration amongst all nations of Celtic descent, and St. Patty’s Day is the day where they really have the chance to cut loose. This is one of the area’s biggest festivals, with live music, dancing, and lots of craic (a term for a specifically Irish form of fun).
34. Toronto, Ontario – 9.18% Irish
As it happens, Canada’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade just so happens to occur in Canada’s largest city. There’s block after block of fun, with pubs to nip into for a quick drink in between floats, a “Grand Marshal’s Ball,” and even a food drive – because St. Patrick’s Day should also be about giving back to your community.
35. Montreal, Quebec – 5.84% Irish
The epicentre of St. Patrick’s Day fun occurs in one of Montreal’s most iconic bars. The Sir Winston Churchill Pub is three floors of fun, housed in a magnificent building, where you can find the St. Patrick’s Day party at the “scene” that suits you best (because each floor is effectively a different bar). Play explorer without ever having to go outside, and always with a fresh drink in hand!
36. Sherbrooke, Quebec – 5.66%
The Richmond St. Patrick’s Society hosts their annual parade which turns one of Quebec’s most charming cities into an Irish enclave all its own. They even have “After The Parade” celebrations the next day, so that those who are immune to hangovers can keep the party alive.
37. Quebec City, Quebec – 4.92% Irish
The best part of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Quebec City is both the jovial atmosphere of this time of year, but the age-old streets that help bring a little bit more European ambiance to the festivities. Stroll the cobblestone streets and feel like you’re in Dublin, all while watching how “Quebec goes green” in 2018.
38. Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – 3.76% Irish
There are two iconic destinations to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day in Trois-Rivieres: Le Trefle and Le Nord-Ouest. Located only moments away from one another, you could spend the entire day bouncing between the two, with good beer, food, and times this St. Patty’s Day.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the Canadian way!
These are just some of the best places to kiss the proverbially Blarney stone this year. No matter if you’re on the coast of the Pacific, down by the Great Lakes, or way up north – we hope you have a fun, responsible, and (safely) rambunctious St. Patrick’s Day this year! Compliments of those of us at Zolo.