2012 St. Patrick’s Day in Calgary

For men, St. Patrick’s Day has to be the best holiday of the year. No Hallmark sentiments, no last-minute gift shopping, and little chance you’ll forget the actual day marking the annual celebration (and if you do, no one cares). In Calgary, more than 16 percent of our population claims to be Irish, and though we may not have a St. Patrick’s Day parade, each year our city’s Irish and non-Irish pubs alike go full speed to remind us of the green party inside us all.

This Saturday, I’ll be watching the Real McKenzies (Celtic-punk pioneers from Vancouver) at Republik, and I suggest my fellow Calgarians try do something just as memorable. Jamesons Pub is having what it claims is the “Biggest St. Patrick’s Day Party in Calgary,” complete with an Irish breakfast, fiddlers, a limerick contest and Irish dancers. For the truly wild among you, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Club Crawl sends you to four of Calgary’s best Irish pubs, including the local benchmark, Ceili’s. And for those not wanting to deal with a Sunday hangover, the Calgary Roadrunners Club will be hosting its annual 5K/10K Original St. Patrick’s Day Run. Whatever you chose to do, make it count — St. Patrick’s Day falling on a weekend should at least double your reasons to celebrate.

And now, a burning question:

Exactly how Irish are the DailyXY “beat” cities of Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal?

There can only be one city that’s the country’s most Irish, and the result might surprise you.

Aside from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, which has declared St. Patrick’s Day an official holiday, Canada has a rather tepid affinity for March 17th. This is curious because according to the 2006 census, five million Canadians reported their ethnic origin as “Irish” (10 million reported their ethnicity as “Canadian”). So, one of every six people in Canada believe they’re of Irish descent — and likely, a few more million of the “Canadians” have Irish roots. But when it comes right down to it, which Canadian cities best represent these statistics? DailyXY chose ten categories for each of our four “In Your City” beats — Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal — to get some insight as to where, outside of the Maritimes, we should expect to find the best craic on St. Pat’s.

1. Search results for “Irish Pub near City, Province, Canada” in Google Maps (bonus point any pub with “Mc” in name on the first page of results)
SCORES: Calgary – 401 (1 point + 0 bonus), Vancouver – 780 (3 points + 0 bonus), Toronto – 1,142 (4 points + 0 bonus), Montreal – 458 (2 points + 2 bonus)

2. City has an Irish Consulate
SCORES: 1 point for each city

3. Annual per capita beer consumption by province (2009)
SCORES: Alberta (90.07 litres per person – 3 points), BC (75.11 litres – 1 point), Ontario (82.10 litres – 2 points), Quebec (93.81 litres – 4 points)

4. St. Patrick’s Day parade?
SCORES: 0 points for Calgary and Vancouver, 1 point for Montreal and Toronto

5. Irish-Canadian population percentage by Province (2006 Census)
SCORES: Alberta 16.6, British Columbia 15.2, Ontario 16.5, Quebec 5.5; 4 points for Calgary, 3 for Toronto, 2 for Vancouver, 1 for Montreal

6. Province has a 2011 Canadian Brewing Award in “Stout” categories
SCORES: 0 points for Calgary, 1 for Toronto, 2 points for Montreal, 1 for Vancouver

7. Number of “J. Joyce” listed in phonebook (bonus point for full James Joyce)
SCORES: 3 points for Calgary (2 Joyces), 3 points for Vancouver (2 Joyces), 3 for Montreal with 1 bonus (2 Joyces, with 1 “James E. Joyce”), and 4 for Toronto (7 Joyces)

8. Riverdance tour-stop in city this year?
SCORES: 0 points for Calgary and Vancouver, 1 point for Montreal and Toronto

9. Green in the city flag (bonus point for shamrock or Irish representation)
SCORES: 0 points for Calgary and Toronto, 1 point for Vancouver and Montreal (1 bonus for shamrock)

10. St. Patrick’s Church in the city
SCORES: 1 point for Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto.

Pot of Gold: Montreal (21 points)
Pot of Silver: Toronto (18 points)
Pot of Bronze: Tie between Calgary and Vancouver (13 points each)

Image courtesy of roberthuffstutter.

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