Martin C. Barry
Although there may not be as many people of Irish origin living in Laval as there were forty or fifty years ago, the least that can be said is that on one day each year everybody in Laval is Irish – regardless of their ancestry.
So it was at the Agape English-speaking Seniors’ Wellness Center on March 15, when up to 60 seniors filled every chair in the room (with a few more standing) a few days before St. Patrick’s Day to commemorate the feast of Ireland’s patron.
A wee bit of ‘Irish’
In keeping with longstanding tradition, there was coffee laced with a “wee drop” to liven it a bit for this most hallowed occasion. And the tables were laden heavily indeed with a great many dishes prepared by diligent volunteers.
Among those who were “Irish for the day” were Laval-Les Îles Liberal MP Fayçal El-Khoury. “On this special day, I wish Happy Saint Patrick’s to all Canadians, particularly to all Irish,” he told the Laval News, while adding that “Agape is doing a great job with the seniors.”
Agape executive-director Kevin McLeod traces his Irish ancestry back to Ireland itself. “My grandfather was born in Dublin,” he explained in an interview with the Laval News. “If my grandfather had never come here, I wouldn’t be here today.”
According to McLeod, the inspiration for the gathering came from Gail Campbell along with some other seniors. “Word of mouth spread, e-mails went out and the next thing we knew sixty seniors were showing up for a party for St. Paddy’s Day which is wonderful,” he said.