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How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Canada

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Canada

St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated annually on March 17th, marks the death of Ireland’s famed patron saint St. Patrick, but is also one of the liveliest celebrations all year — and not just in Ireland. Canada has plenty of Irish influences throughout the country, and whether you’re of Irish heritage or not, decking yourself out in green and enjoying Irish beer, food, and music is a common way to celebrate.

Here’s a roundup of some great places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Vancouver

Surrounded by sea and snow-capped mountains, Vancouver, BC, is not just picturesque; it’s incredibly livable, too. Year after year it is named to numerous lists as being one of the most livable cities in the world thanks to its thriving economy, sustainable living practices and diverse population.

For all of their diversity, Vancouverites have one thing in common: they love a good celebration. As you might imagine, St. Patrick’s Day is a city-wide favorite holiday.

Canadian gloves holding a green Saint Patrick flag with a parade faded into the background.

CelticFest Vancouver

On top of the numerous Irish pubs throughout the city, Vancouverites have another way of celebrating. Every year for nine days leading up to March 17th, CelticFest takes place, including concerts, a street fair, family-friendly events, and the Vancouver St. Patrick’s Day parade. The biggest Celtic celebration in western Canada, CelticFest offers free and ticketed events. Some of the most popular are the Tom Lee Music workshops downtown, which offers free workshops for musicians and live performances by Irish dancers.

Where to Stay

Visitors attending CelticFest will want to get the full Vancouver experience by staying downtown. The Coast Coal Harbour Vancouver Hotel by APA is ideally situated in the heart of everything, including the famed Stanley Park, the bustling Gastown district, and shopping and dining options galore. Just some of the upscale amenities guests will enjoy at the environmentally-friendly hotel include:

outside view of Coast Coal Harbour by APA

● Floor-to-ceiling windows
● TOTO® Washlet Electric Bidet Seat
Prestons Restaurant + Lounge, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and daily happy hour

Victoria

A small city with a big personality, the capital city of BC has a ton to offer. Victoria is known as the City of Gardens because of its millions of annual flower blooms. If that wasn’t enough, Victoria is also famed for being incredibly bicycle-friendly and as being one of the friendliest cities in the world. Given this insight, it’s no surprise that Victorians also love any reason to celebrate, and St. Patrick’s Day fits the bill perfectly.

In addition to the St. Patrick’s Day celebration featuring world-famous Celtic musicians, here are a few places you can drink, dance, and be merry.

Irish Times Pub: Named — more than once — as one of the best Irish bars in the Americas, the downtown pub celebrates all things Irish with beer, cocktails, authentic food, and live Celtic music and dancing. Get there early, as it’s frequently standing-room only by noon.

Bard & Banker Public House: Technically, this converted bank building is a Scottish pub, but it’s well-known for having an extensive selection of Irish whiskey and beer, as well as throwing a great St. Patty’s Day party with live music and Irish dancing.

exterior of Bard and Banker pub

Photo Courtesy of Tourism Victoria

Yates Street Taphouse: At one time, this lively bar in a historic building constructed in 1862 was the oldest continuously-operating hotel in all of BC. Each St. Patrick’s Day they bring in live fiddle music and Irish dancers.

Where to Stay

See for yourself what the world loves about Victoria when you stay at the Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel & Marina by APA. The oceanfront hotel sits on the outer harbour, enabling guests to enjoy everything downtown Victoria has to offer while taking in spectacular views. Upscale amenities guests are treated to include:

Coast Victoria Hotel room

● A complimentary shuttle that runs throughout the entire downtown area
● The only indoor/outdoor pool in Victoria that overlooks the harbour
Blue Crab Seafood House, named by Frommer’s International Guide as the “best seafood spot in Victoria.”

Edmonton

Though often overshadowed by more well-known cities, Edmonton has much to offer. The fast-growing capital city of Alberta is home to over one million people and is well-known as being a hub for innovative and cutting-edge arts, food, and culture. Edmonton embraces a vibrant food and cocktail scene and is often referred to as “The Festival City.” A young population and year-round entertainment mean there is also a celebration happening somewhere, and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception.

In addition to a number of lively Irish pubs around town, Edmonton has some big St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Edmonton Irish Club

Formally named the Edmonton Irish Sports & Social Society, the club celebrates St. Patty’s Day with a dinner and dance on Friday, March 14th, as well as an all-day celebration on March 17th.

Green beer being poured on a wooden table in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

St. Patrick’s Day Party

This event held at RuminariLive Arts in nearby Beaumont will feature live fiddlers, dancing, games, prizes, and more. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

Where to Stay

Visitors who like to get a true feel for a city will love the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel by APA. Perfectly suited for business and leisure travelers alike, the full-service hotel located in the heart of downtown gets you up close and personal with the city’s best dining, shopping and arts. Enjoy amenities including:

bedroom at Coast Edmonton Plaza by APA

● Fitness centre with whirlpool jacuzzi and saltwater pool
● Complimentary shuttle service downtown
● Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night happy hour in Prestons Restaurant + Lounge

Kelowna

Best known as “Napa North” for all of its lush vineyards, Kelowna, BC, is flanked by the Coast and Cascade Mountains and sits on Lake Okanagan. Needless to say, it is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and a popular weekend destination for Canadians. The town has a serious penchant for food and drink so it’s only natural that St. Patrick’s Day here is kind of a big deal.

To celebrate like a local, here’s what you need to know.

ShamROCK Celebration

Featuring live local fusion music and plenty of lively dancing, plus food and drink, this celebration is one you won’t want to miss!

CRAFT Beer Market

This free event features live Irish music and drink specials on Irish whiskey and, of course, beer. Reservations recommended.

beers lined up

Photo: Tourism Victoria

Where to Stay

Kelowna is a unique location, offering up world-class outdoor activities, scenery, shopping and dining all in one small town. The Coast Capri Hotel puts you in the heart of that, mere steps away from everything. While you’re celebrating all things Irish, be sure to soak in all that Kelowna has to offer. The abundance of special amenities the Coast Capri offers include:

● Complimentary daily breakfast
● Heated pool
● Live jazz and blues music on the enclosed patio on weekends at Vintner’s Grill, as well as nightly specials

coast capri pool in kelowna

Wherever you choose to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy yourself and be safe. As our favorite Irish blessing goes, “May your troubles be less, your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.”