On December 15, 1967 the United Irish Societies of Montreal promoted a Christmas Drawing at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Cavendish Boulevard during Richard Cooper’s presidency. The proceeds of this project went to welfare and social services. Mr. Austin Wilson chaired this committee and a cheque in the amount of 154$ was donated to the Montreal Children’s Hospital for the purchase of a special wheelchair. To put this in perspective, according to Bank of Canada’s Inflation Calculator a good that cost 154$ in 1965 today would cost 1160$.
The following year, the Christmas Draw was held in the Oak Room of the Windsor Hotel. The tickets were sold for a modest sum of 5 for $1.00 or $.25 per ticket. In 1979 prizes of alcohol were eliminated, replaced by cash prizes. In 1981, the price of tickets increased to $1.00, which remains in effect today. In 1992, total prizes increased to $2,000, also in effect today.
The purpose of this project is to have a self financed, membership driven, event that helps less fortunate members of the community at a time of the year when they are at their most vulnerable. The members are encouraged to sell a total of eight thousand tickets and they may submit names of families in need.
For numerous years, the Christmas Draw has been coupled with the general meeting held in November. The community comes out in numbers to support this most worthy project. Tickets for two subsidiary raffles are sold on site.
The proceeds of the Christmas Draw benefit approximately sixty needy families, mainly in the Southwest, Verdun, and LaSalle boroughs of the City of Montreal.
The following people have served as committee chair people:
Austin Wilson (1967)
Patrick Fitzgerald (1968 – 1980)
Mabel Ann Fitzgerald (1981 – 1982)
Marilyn Johnston (1983 – 1985)
Barbara Quinn (1986 – 1987)
Maureen Kelly (1988 – 1996)
Roberta Wheeler ( 1997 – 1998)
Michael Murphy ( 1998 – 1999)
Michael McCambridge (1999 – 2000)
Jolyon Ditton (2001 – 2003)
Past Presidents committee (2003 – 2006)
Elizabeth Quinn (2006 – 2011)
Jane Skelton (2011 – present)
We remember them all with fondness and appreciation for everything they have done and, in some cases, continue to do for the less fortunate of the community.
This year’s Christmas Draw takes place this coming Sunday November 29th at St. John Brebeuf Church in LaSalle after a brief general meeting, which begins at 1:30PM sharp. All are welcome.
Ken Quinn, Historian