Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Holiday: St. Patrick's Day Parade 2010

The Toronto Police Colour Guard carried the first flags in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Toronto, Ontario on 14-March-2010

TORONTO, ONTARIO - The streets lining the route of Toronto's St. Patrick's Day Parade are never as packed as for the Santa Claus Parade, but there are usually certain locations along Bloor Street, the corner of Yonge and Queen, and near the judging stand that are packed. However, this year stormy weather ceased only a couple hours before the start of the parade, and I was surprised to arrive just ahead of the parade and find the prime photo location where the parade turns from Yonge to Queen not at all crowded this year, affording my best chance to photograph the parade yet.

French football star Thierry Henry was portrayed playing against the Republic of Cork in the World Cup, with the referee in the background about to give him a red card on 14-March-2010

The hallmark of the St. Patrick's Day Parade is the representation from the various counties of Ireland. Some contribute floats, some contribute bands, some contribute dancers, some just contribute their colours--and then there's the County of Cork. Every year, they introduce some humorous gag. This year, venting Irish anger at the controversial elimination of Ireland from the World Cup qualifiers by France, they presented a match between France and the Republic of Cork in which a referee gave a red card to French star Thierry Henry every block of the parade. The spectator response was huge!

The Optimists Alumni Drum Corps were dressed in bright green in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Toronto, Ontario on 14-March-2010

Parades always have bands, and bagpipes dominate the bands seen on St. Patrick's Day. Yet, no Toronto parade would be complete without the Philippine Heritage Band or the Falun Dafa Band, and they joined other more traditional marching bands like the Optimists Alumni Drum Corps seen above.

An Irish wolfhound was dressed for the day as it walked in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Toronto, Ontario on 14-March-2010

People always find ways to express themselves during parades that they wouldn't in most other contexts, whether it be bizarre clothing or accessories, face paint, or behavior. Yet, it's always the dogs that I find are probably most embarrassed by what their owners make them do on St. Patrick's Day. Did this wolfhound really want to wear bright green?

The County Kerry float may have best symbolized the St. Patrick's day experience for many, complete with dancing and a bar right on the float on 14-March-2010

Of course, I've left out a main theme of the day--drinking. More than one county this year included a bar right on their float, as in the County Kerry example above. I had to wonder as I walked home if I was the only person not bound for a bar.

More coverage of the St. Patrick's Day Parade will be in a future update to my photo site.

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