Sunshine brings out the Irish in Toronto

Dancers, floats, marching bands, vintage police cars and fire trucks, and even Barack Obama made their way through crowded downtown streets amidst a sea of shamrocks and green hats on Sunday.

The appearance of the Obama impersonator, a Chinese dragon and Filipino marching bands added a multicultural voice to the traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Onlookers from many backgrounds basked in the bright sun of the early afternoon on one of the warmest days so far this season. The holiday, traditionally celebrated as a feast day in honour of one of the patron saints of Ireland, is actually on March 17.

The requisite contingent of bagpipes and leprechauns entertained the masses during the hour-long parade, but the crowd favourites were undoubtedly the Ramses Hillbilly Shriners, a floating pub, Steamwhistle Breweries and Guinness beer.

The first parade in honour of St. Patrick was held in Boston in 1761. This year was the 22nd year for the parade in Toronto, which is considered one of the largest in the world.