“Thank you for respecting your neighbours during your celebrations.”
Maybe it was the damp weather, maybe it was just that serious partiers were out to have a good time without any associated disruptions.
Whatever the reason, what was regarded by many as the first “post-pandemic” celebration in the national capital went off with any major hitches Friday.
Nevertheless, the Ottawa Police Service and the City of Ottawa bylaw department planned another night of “increased presence” Saturday, just in case.
“Thank you for respecting your neighbours during your (St. Patrick’s Day) celebrations,” Ottawa By-law tweeted Saturday morning.
“We will continue to have an increased presence in the areas of Sandy Hill/Carleton throughout the weekend.”
New Rideau-Vanier ward Coun. Stéphanie Plante said her first St. Patrick’s Day in municipal office was a quiet event.
“I patrolled the area both in the ByWard and Sandy Hill on foot … I did not have any notifications about excessive parties or Bylaw having to visit anyone,” Plante wrote in an email.
“From my observations in the ByWard, the Heart and Crown was really busy and people were generally in a good mood. It was nice seeing people out and about.”
Down at “St. Patty’s Central,” the Heart and Crown pub in the ByWard Market, staff reported a busy, but happy Friday.
“Business as usual,” said a day manager identified as Jacob, which, on St. Patrick’s Day, meant wall-to-wall patrons from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
“Keg after keg and keg …” he joked. “It was just a happy crowd.”
Any roughhousing was limited to Irish dancing and bellowing along with the band.
A few blocks away, another pleasant surprise was what one tweet described as the “resurrection” of the Brigid’s Well pub and event space in the basement of the deconsecrated St. Brigid’s Church on Cumberland Street near St. Patrick Street.
The Lowertown church with some of the deepest Irish cultural connections in the city was closed through most of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, it was at the centre of controversy when the so-called United People of Canada group signed a deal to purchase the property, only to be evicted by a court for non-payment of rent before the purchase could be finalized.
All that was ancient history on Friday, when hundreds (“at least”) of friends new and old popped by for meals, liquid refreshment and hours of traditional Irish and East Coast music from opening to closing.
“It was a great, great crowd. It was so exciting to see the familiar faces coming back” spokesperson (and bartender) Aoife McDonald said.
“Of course, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, so anything could happen, but it was all good.”
Once the St. Patrick’s celebrations wind down, McDonald said, the pub will be renewing musical and cultural programs for the Well as well as the National Irish Canadian Cultural Centre.
Visit the National Irish Canadian Cultural Centre’s (https://saintbrigidscentre.com/brigids-well/ ) website for details
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