Thomas D’Arcy McGee

It has been two months since my last blog. Life gets busy at times and that has to take priority. Since we last met activities in the community are taking place. Notably, the annual Walk to the Stone took place on the usual date, the last Sunday of May. By all accounts it was well attended. Bloomsday Montreal recently wrapped up another festival.

With life getting busy things are status quo concerning the Historian portfolio but I’d like to share with you developments from the last few days. D’Arcy Quinn, great great grandson of Thomas D’Arcy McGee, contacted the St. Patrick’s Society in an effort to be able to enter the crypt where McGee’s remains. I got involved in my capacity as a Society vice president along with its Historian, Peter Shea. I wanted to make sure a connection was made between Mr. Quinn and the cemetery. In the end he was able to make a connection on his own. But as a result of our correspondence we agreed to meet last evening. He had to be a good guy; he’s a Quinn afterall.

He spoke of his experience at the cemetery. The staff was kind and helpful. However the crypt is need of repair. While the cemetery does have the key into the crypt, they were unable to open the door. It being the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, wouldn’t it be an ideal time to work on having this resolved? Mr. Quinn visited the Basilica and, more specifically, the seat where McGee sat which is the seat denoted by the small Canadian flag.

Though born in Spain, educated in California, having lived in France where his children were born, and currently living in Switzerland, Mr. Quinn is becoming more and more familiar with our fair city for his two children are studying in Montreal – one at Concordia and one at McGill.

During the course of the evening we of undoubtedly spoke about McGee, his accomplishments and failures, his life, death, and funeral. It is so opportune to meet Mr. Quinn now as I recently began reading “The Assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee” by noted St. Patrick’s Society Historian T.P. Slattery. They say timing is everything. Being a visitor to our city, Mr. Quinn was unaware of the existence of the School of Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia University nor of the extensive archives in its collection.

Mr. Quinn’s visit to Canada is not entirely for personal reasons. He is also here concerning the upcoming 150th anniversary of our great country. It goes without saying that a celebration of the anniversary of Confederation would be incomplete without recognition of Thomas D’Arcy McGee and his contributions to Canadian society.

Oh…. we dispensed with the formalities rather quickly. I have no doubt D’Arcy will return at some point in the not too distant future. I do hope he has the opportunity to meet the members of our great community.


Ken Quinn, Historian


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