Thousands of people line the streets in Toronto for St. Patrick’s Day parade

Members of the public enjoy the St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Toronto on March 20, 2022. Frazer Snowdon / Global News

Large crowds gathered in downtown Toronto on Sunday to watch the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade since 2019.

Members of the public dressed in green clapped as elaborate floats and musicians playing bagpipes marched in the parade.

“It’s like home from home ya know,” said Peter Pettigrew, who was celebrating with his family.

“Exciting here, just out with the kids and they are all excited you know.”

Thousands gathered along the parade route, along Bloor Street and down Yonge, as it winded down the streets. A surreal feeling for everyone there, as it was the first time a crowd had been together since 2020.

“After a very long time, I’m seeing so many people and that is exciting,” says Tharini Arunan, who was celebrating with her friends.

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It’s been a long wait for people here as well. The large scale event, was one of the first things cancelled, back in 2020.

Read more: St. Patrick’s Day parade in Toronto cancelled over coronavirus concerns

This was after a state-of-emergency was declared by the province, shutting down businesses, and cancelling St. Patrick’s Day. But at the time, Toronto Mayor, John Tory did promise a do-over.

“We will pick a day,” he said during a zoom conference. “And we will proclaim it, St. Paddy’s Day 2.”

And that time has come on the first official day of spring. Mayor John Tory says he’s hopeful this is a green sign of things to come.

“I think with all the misery that people had to go through. One of the things they missed is these great fun events,” said Tory.

“It brings the community together on St. Patrick’s Day 1 or 2, everybody’s Irish.”

It’s event that is exciting for people of all ages, but for John Connelly who was there with his family, it’s been a hard two years, not being able to celebrate his heritage.

“It’s very difficult not to celebrate,” he says. “It’s great to see now that we’re getting back together. and the whole world is getting back together and start celebrating all the different events.”

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Read more: Toronto announces major public events, festivals to proceed for spring and summer 2022

Organizers have been counting down to finally hitting the streets. but another benefit — the charities that depend on donations at these types of events. Shawna Taylor with the Daily Bread Food Bank says the support even today has been overwhelming.

“It’s actually very surreal, but it’s really great. But a lot of people are coming out and supporting daily bread food bank, which is such a great cause.”


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