Being Irish O'Quebec - McCord Stewart Museum

Temporary exhibition

March 20, 2009 — September 6, 2010

Burt Covit, Grand Marshall, St. Patrick's Day Parade, Montreal, 1998. Gift of Burt Covit, M2006.80.3, McCord Museum

Being Irish O’Quebec

This exhibition has ended.

Being Irish O’Quebec explores the integration of Irish immigrants and their contribution to the social, cultural, political and economic fabric of Quebec from the era of New France to today. The idea for the exhibition grew from a desire of the Irish community to celebrate its heritage and mark the anniversaries of Montreal’s two major Irish associations, the St. Patrick Society and the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society.

Quebec has always been made up of a wide range of ethnic groups. The Irish are one of the most significant, not only because of their numbers, but also because of the historical impact they have had. The Irish and their descendants helped construct Quebec’s collective identity; this exhibition investigates how — by looking at the people, places, and themes that have marked their history.

Some Features of the Exhibition
Biography Booths: These are dedicated to people whose stories illustrate the history that unites Ireland and Quebec; some are well-known, but some are not. Visitors will meet everyone from a 17th-century fur trapper to Louis-Joseph Papineau’s right-hand man, Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan. You may be familiar with La Bolduc and D’Arcy McGee, but how much do you really know about their lives?

Story Stations: These will unveil the stories of some key sites in the establishment of the Irish population in Quebec. With archival documents, objects from the collections of the McCord and other museums, objects on loan from families, as well as digital access terminals, the history of places like Grosse-Île, Griffintown, and Saint-Colomban comes alive.

No appreciation of Irish heritage would be complete without devoting some space to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a joyful event that each year brings together Montrealers of all stripes. In the same spirit, visitors will be invited to share their own “Irishness,” regardless of their actual roots, by adding a message to the exhibition’s digital guest book.

See Complete Texts of the Exhibition (PDF)

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