The Passing of a Past President

I know… I know…. I don’t write as many blogs as I should. I suppose it takes times like this to get me to get the creative juices flowing.

When I first joined the organization it was experiencing some unprecedented advances. For the first time in its history the UIS was led by a woman, Mabel Ann Fitzgerald. Michael Spears was her vice president.

Continue reading The Passing of a Past President


Giving Back to the Community

It has been some time since I have shared my thoughts via this blog. Life gets hectic on occasion. I will make more of an effort to write more regularly.

The United Irish Societies of Montreal has a tradition of giving back to the community and advocating when necessary. In September 1937 President John Loye interceded on behalf of the Grey Nuns when two of their Sisters were ordered off the premises of the CNR Fruit Terminal warehouse on des Seigneurs Street for soliciting fruits and vegetables from the traders, which was apparently a common practice.

On October 19th, 1967 Robert Larkin wrote a letter to Brother Vincent of the Catholic Men’s Hostel expressing an interest on behalf of the United Irish Societies in organizing a Christmas show to the benefit of the Hostel’s residents. He subsequently wrote to tobacco and soft drink suppliers soliciting donations.

On December 15, 1967 the United Irish Societies of Montreal promoted a Christmas Drawing at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Cavendish Boulevard, the proceeds going to welfare and social services. Mr. Austin Wilson was the Chairman. A cheque in the amount of 154$ was donated to the Montreal Children’s Hospital for the purchase of a special wheelchair.

The Christmas Draw was held  in the Oak Room of the Windsor Hotel the following year. 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

The tradition of giving back to the community continues today with the next generation of members assuming positions of responsibility within the organization. While we have to look no further than Janson Quessy and the work he is doing with the Christmas Draw, we can also look to members such as Kevin Murphy, Leigh-Ann Killin, Kim Provost, Danny Doyle jr., and Shawn Doyle who are all playing their part in ensuring this organization continues successfully for generations to come, giving back to the community and advocating when necessary. With the next generation, the Societies has a bright future for years to come.

Ken Quinn, Historian

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

On November 29th the annual Christmas Draw was held to the benefit of the United Irish Societies’ Christmas Basket program. This Saturday December 19 over 60 well stocked baskets will be delivered to families, mainly in the Verdun, LaSalle, and Southwest Borough areas.

My first involvement with the Christmas baskets goes back to probably 1991, under Maureen Kelly’s chairmanship. At the time the baskets were assembled at and delivered from Boucherie G.D.G on Verdun Ave. in Verdun. Proprieter Guy de Grasse was charitable in the time and space he gave to this worthy project.

Around 1995 Mr. De Grasse sold his establishment however his involvement continued as the baskets were then assembled at and delivered from his basement on Bannantyne Ave. in Verdun. In 1997 Roberta Wheeler assumed the chairmanship of the project and home base migrated to the Healy residence on Parc du Marguerite-Bourgeoys St. in Point St. Charles, where it remained until December 2014.

This year the baskets will be assembled at and delivered from Beurling Academy in Verdun, a homecoming of sorts for this project. Volunteers are always needed for this day. Should you wish to volunteer several hours, please contact Jane Skelton, who will be more than happy to hear from you.

Ken Quinn, Historian