This year makes the 175 anniversary of Black '47, the peak of the Great Famine or Great Hunger (an Gorta Mór),
and the arrival of nearly 100,000 famine migrants - men, women and children - to the pre-confederation colonies that now form Canada.
Canada Ireland Foundation is presenting a series of commemorative events and activities over the course of the year, in cooperation with our partners in Ireland and across Canada.
Commemorative Events & Initiatives
Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 5 pm EST. (Online; free). Register
The premiere of a short documentary about Famine migrants who settled in of Hamilton, Ontario and the surrounding region. Featuring descendants of Famine migrants sharing cherished family letters and artifacts, as well as historical perspectives from Dr. Laura Smith, historical researcher and advisor to the Canada Ireland Foundation.
This event is part of the ongoing Great Famine Voices
series produced and curated by Dr. Jason King for Ireland's National Famine Museum, Strokestown Park and Irish Heritage Trust.
Commemoration Ceremony at Ireland Park
Friday, June 10, 2022 at 10:00am (free) Register
A commemorative ceremony will be held on Friday June 10, 2022 at Ireland Park,
on Toronto waterfront. Starting at 10am, we will have the presence of Deputy Mayor 'Ana Bailao' and a presentation of traditional Irish music.
The ceremony marks the arrival of the City of Toronto steamship at Rees’ wharf in Toronto on Sunday, 6 June 1847, carrying 700 people, more than half of whom were “indigent” emigrants from the South and West of Ireland travelling at the expense of the government. The boat was a harbinger of the chaotic and overwhelming migration season to come, with some 38,500 immigrants arriving in 1847 alone to a city with a population of merely 20,000,
Landings at the wharf were chaotic. Steamships arrived filled to capacity with passengers exhausted and sick from their weeks long journeys. One observer reported that: “in almost every boat were clearly marked cases of actual fever, in some were deaths — the dead and the living huddled together.”
This ceremony will also launch of temporary public historical exhibition along Eireann Quay, to be followed by similar public exhibitions at other sites across Canada.
The Canada Symphony
Saturday, November 5, 2022, at 8pm, at Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto
Buy Tickets Here
The Canada Symphony is a night of gratitude and acknowledgement for the compassionate and brave people who received and helped the thousands of Irish Famine Migrants who landed at Reese’s Wharf 175 years ago.
In a time when the settlement of Toronto had no more than 20 thousand people, 38 thousand Irish Migrants arrived on the city’s shores in 1847. Steamships filled with men, women and children were filled to capacity with passengers exhausted and sick from Typhus from their weeks-long journey.
Without the generosity and bravery of Toronto’s residents at the time, some who lost their lives caring for the Migrants, the rich history shared between Canada and Ireland might not exist today.
The music composed by Odhrán Ó Casaide, is a ‘Thank You Letter’ to all those who put humanity above all during difficult times
Irish Famine Migrants Stories in Ontario
A digital exhibited launched in in 2021, by Canada Ireland Foundation.