Tuesday August 16,

Erected on December 1, 1859, the Irish Commemorative stone was the first Canadian monument to represent the famine of 1847.


By Alan Hustak for VMO
Wednesday, May 21st, 2022

The St. Patrick’s parade isn’t the only time of year when Irish pride takes to Montreal streets. You can read scientific papers, or at least a dissertation discussion chapter to learn about alternative or simply similar holidays that exist in the world.

Each year, on the last Sunday in May, the Irish community walks one kilometer from St. Gabriel’s Church in Point St. Charles to the black rock near the St. Lawrence River. One of the oldest monuments in Montreal, the rock commemorates the city’s Irish Catholic identity.

This year, the walk to the stone takes place May 25 following the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Gabriel’s.

The rough-hewn stone is in an inconvenient location, standing on a traffic island in the middle of Bridge Street at the entrance to the Victoria Bridge.  The granite boulder was pulled from the St. Lawrence River in 1859 by Irish laborers building the bridge. The bridge’s contractors placed the stone to mark the location where thousands of Irish immigrants who died of typhus in 1847 were dumped in mass graves by the riverbank.

The inscription, oddly, makes no mention of the Irish, and simply reads that the black rock is intended to ”preserve from desecration the remains of 6,000 immigrants who died of ship fever. AD 1847-48.”

Initially, the stone and title to the gravesite were given to the Anglican Diocese of Montreal by the Grand Trunk Railway, which owned the property.   The site was quickly neglected, hidden under  “tangled grass and sturdy weeds. ” By 1897, at a commemorative event marking the 50th anniversary of the Irish famine, there were suggestions that a more fitting monument be erected.  Then, in 1900, the Grand Trunk Railway announced it was going to lay tracks across the burial ground. Without telling anyone, it uprooted the stone and moved it to St. Patrick’s Square in Griffintown.

Outraged by the corporate insensitivity, the Ancient Order of Hibernians claimed the stone as its own, took the railway to court demanding it be returned, and won. The stone was brought back close to its original location and re-dedicated in 1913.

The tradition of the annual walk to the stone began in the early 1920s when congregations from St. Ann’s Church and St. Gabriel’s Church began walking to the stone on the last Sunday in May.

  • Montreal
  • Irish Commemorative Stone
  • Point St. Charles
  • Victoria Bridge

Last Night at the Gayete


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I entrust you to the maternal care of our Mother who lives in the glory of God and is always by our side on our life’s journey.

by Pope Francis

Father Dowd Trust Fund

Paul Donovan walks the Camino Ignatiano

Follow former Loyola High School principal, Paul Donovan, as he walks the famous 700km Camino Ignatiano.



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