Some latest items on the Virus

François Legault held a presser just now, and since one of the rules handed out is that all indoor gatherings over 250 people are cancelled, hockey games will be played at the Bell Centre with no crowd – unless the NHL decides to stop the season.

Justin Trudeau and his wife have gone into self-isolation after she started showing symptoms of something flu-like.

No links. I’m scooping news off Twitter.

Someone on Twitter claimed the 1918 St Patrick’s parade was cancelled but the Irish marched in defiance of the ban. I looked it up in Google newspaper archives, and the Gazette reported that year that the parade was cancelled, but not because of the flu or the war, although they do lede with “Several circumstances combined this year to give the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day a subdued effect” and later the war is mentioned, as well as Lent (although doesn’t March 17 always fall during Lent?). There’s no mention at all of contagion as a reason for the cancellation.

It was cancelled because of the death of John Redmond, whom I had to look up.

Later checked the La Presse archive on the BAnQ and they also mention – in the edition of March 18, 1918, page 9 – that the parade was cancelled that year. I was castigated on Twitter by someone involved with the Irish community, for whom it seems to be an article of faith that the parade has been held every year for 197 years, for even daring to mention this entirely understandable hiatus, which doesn’t fit their mythology.

So the city’s Irish held a fancy mass at St Patrick’s, with Archbishop Bruchési and all the fixings, and no parade.

(It has always slightly itched at my historical sense that the parade makes that claim, through two centuries that included wars, epidemics and at least one epic spring flood, but I’ve never sought out evidence against it before. No animosity intended against the local Irish, from which my own ancestry comes – but, disons, I’m also very familiar with the cultural tendency to mythologize.)

Latest: The mayor raises the possibility of closing down public transit if things get bad enough.