On Friday March 7, 2014 over 1100 people gathered to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Toronto at the annual Ireland Fund of Canada lunch. This event continues to be a tremendous celebration and a great way to support very worthy charities across Canada and throughout the island of Ireland.
Rev Bill Shaw joined us at the lunch this year and gave a tremendous speech on the importance of staying the course in Northern Ireland. He thanked the Toronto Irish community for its continued support and leadership. The Ireland Fund of Canada is very pleased to support the 174 Trust and are know they are making a difference in the lives of youth in Belfast.
We couldn't host this event without the support of our sponsors, Diageo Canada, BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, Quinn Pubs, Bridgehouse Asset Managers and Norton Rose Fulbright. A very special thanks to Ireland Fund Board Members John Speers and Terry Dobbin, who together with Joanne Kearny, co-chaired a wildly successful event.
We were very pleased to have a number of dignitaries join us this year including The Honourable Jim Flaherty, The Honourable Kellie Leitch, His Excellency Dr. Ray Bassett and The Honourable Hazel McCallion. We are privileged to have support from so many outstanding people. Shortly following the lunch we were very saddened to learn of the death of Minster Flaherty. He addressed our guests with whit, charm and warmth – comedian Joe Rooney commented that he never thought he'd be nervous about following a finance Minister! He was a tremendous friend to the fund and to Ireland. He will be greatly missed.