St.Patrick’s Cadets and the March 17th parade

Interviews with former members of Saint Patrick's High School Cadets have revealed that the various accounts of the "Last St. Patrick's Day Parade" are greatly exaggerated. Was it 1921? Was it 1926? The answers depend on who was the organizing body! Saint Patrick's High School Cadet Corps (No. 208 RCAC) kept alive the tradition of a parade on St. Patrick's Day until the year of last Mass in the old church on McMahon Street (1969).

In its last years, the parade comprised the excellent cadet bugle band, and a company of uniformed cadets. They marched from the school on de Salaberry to Grande Allee (then called Grand Alley in everyday speech), thence to St. Louis Street, past the Chateau (never mind its full name - there was only one Chateau!), down to Buade, thence to the Basilica, where the Cardinal's limousine awaited the parade and joined it. They proceeded thence to Palace Hill (so-called), then onto McMahon street. There, in front of the church, the band and company halted, and the Cardinal performed a military inspection of the corps. Once in church the smartly garbed cadets formed a guard of honour throughout the Mass. Let us not dismiss these smaller parades that followed the larger and more elaborate ones of the 1920s. The young men of the cadet corps over the years proved their loyalty to the Irish traditions of the school, and in WWII filled a role of gallantry unsurpassed for a school its size.

Marianna O'Gallagher
September 28, 2009