St. Patrick’s ‘nuisance gathering’ attendees subject to arrest in Hamilton


Published March 15, 2024 at 3:46 pm

St Patrick

Hamilton has been granted an injunction allowing them to arrest any attendees of St. Patrick’s Day parties which become deemed “nuisance gatherings” in the University district.

Late on March 14, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted the injunction which will allow the city to crack down on rowdy parties in the western section of the Westdale neighbourhood and the Ainslie Wood neighbourhood. This area around the McMaster campus is defined as the University district in the city’s Safety Initiative.

“The City’s Nuisance Party By-Law is city-wide and in effect all year long and addresses unsafe and disruptive behaviour during large, unsanctioned gatherings by providing Hamilton Police Service and City Municipal By-law Enforcement officers with additional charges they can enforce,” Hamilton explained.

The university district in particular will be under a zero-tolerance policy until March 18 ” to minimize negative effects of ongoing nuisance party and ensuring those involved are held accountable,” according to the city, “The safety and well-being of Hamilton residents is our top priority.”

The city says nuisances have “historically occurred during large unsanctioned parties in the fall season and St. Patrick’s Day.” However, McMaster says St. Patrick’s Day has not been associated with huge parties in the last few years.

In the recent past, St. Patrick’s Day has not been a time for large street parties, and we are hopeful for the same this year,” said Associate Vice-President and Dean of Students Sean Van Koughnett “However, we still want our students to prioritize safety, be good neighbours and be aware of the City of Hamilton’s zero-tolerance zone over the weekend.”

Previously, those detained during a nuisance faced some legal consequences. However, with the injunction in place, they will face additional penalties for breaking the court order.

The order reads in part, “This court authorizes the Hamilton Police Service to assist the Sheriff in the enforcement of this Order and authorizes the HPS to arrest and remove any person who has knowledge of this Order and who the HPS have reasonable and probable grounds to believe is contravening or has contravened any provision of this Order.”

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day of course marks the death of the chief patron saint of Ireland c. 461. It was made an official Christian feast day in the 1600s to celebrate Patrick’s conversion of the Irish people. The day was initially a more solemn, religious holiday. However, exceptions to food and alcohol consumption restrictions during Lent led to the holiday’s boozy reputation.

As the Irish diaspora spread around the world over the following centuries, they brought St. Patrick’s celebrations with them. The exodus from Ireland peaked during the Great Famine of 1845-1852, which saw one million Irish people dead and more than a million more emigrated.

The Irish population fell by around 25 per cent from 8.5 million as a result and has never recovered to pre-famine levels, currently sitting at around 5 million.

More than 80 million people around the world now claim Irish ancestry. The sheer size of this diaspora brought St. Patrick’s Day to countries around the world, often creating a bigger celebration than in Ireland itself.

More than 1.2 million Irish people immigrated to Canada between 1825 and 1970, more than half by 1850. By the time of Confederation in 1867, one in four Canadians were of Irish descent, forming the second-largest ethnic group in the country. As of the 2016 Census, 4.6 million Canadians reported Irish heritage, 13.4 per cent of the country.

St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in Canada since at least 1759 when Irish soldiers stationed at the Montreal Garrison celebrated it after the British conquest of New France.

Montreal, which quickly developed a large Irish-Canadian community as the first stop for immigrants, hosted one of the world’s first St Paddy’s parades in 1824. The parade has gone ahead every year since. St Patrick’s Day is now celebrated across the country but is only an official holiday in Newfoundland.



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