By Paul Rebar
This year’s St. Patrick’s Day was quieter than most. It was freezing cold outside and it fell on a Sunday.
Like many Canadians, Haligonians have a tradition of celebrating the day by heading downtown for a pub crawl.
The drinking establishments are always well-stocked for the event.
“St. Patrick’s Day is our biggest sales day of the year,” Old Triangle co-owner Cheryl Doherty told Metro on March 14.
“We do have a big breakfast, and we have our food menu, but it is really a drinking day for the most part.”
While there was no shortage of leprechaun hats, shamrock tattoos and idling police wagons, downtown stayed relatively quiet. Only a few bars like Durty Nelly’s, The Triangle and The Lower Deck had lines out front.
“We compared St. Patrick’s day to a busy Friday,” said Const. Pierre Bourdages in a phone interview.
“There was nothing particularly out of the ordinary.”
The police responded to 47 liquor offences, nine noise complaints, three assaults and two disturbances (fights, brawls, or domestic violence). In total there were 183 calls.
At 2:30 a.m., police responded to a head-on collision involving a 58-year-old female taxi driver and an alcohol-impaired 29-year-old man in a BMW. The taxi driver is in hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. A 32-year-old female passenger who was in the back of the BMW (which had five other occupants) is in a similar condition.
The last arrest was at 6:20 a.m. on Lower Water Street. An unidentified man had passed out on the sidewalk and was taken in for public intoxication. Const. Bourdages says this was mainly for his own protection from the cold.
By comparison, last year’s St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday. It resulted in 38 liquor offences, 33 noise complaints, one assault and five disturbances, with 195 calls in total.
Const. Bourdages agrees the minus 20 degree weather with wind chill might have had something to do with the lower number of pub crawlers.
“My guess is that people would have preferred to party at home,” he says.
Interview with Durty Nelly’s employee, Justin.
University of King’s College student Colton Gavel and his friends did just that, although to them it was more about staying cost-effective.
“Honestly, I found it much more frugal to just go to a friend’s house and have house parties,” said Gavel.
“The whole point of St. Paddy’s Day is to drink, and I would rather not do it downtown but do it with friends in an environment where I can still talk to people.”