Supporters Comments

The committee are delighted to include the following comments from those interested in seeing The Ireland Monument completed.

  • Kathryn Kidd Dublin Ireland.
    It`s an INSPIRING project, to remind everyone the DEPT OF HONOUR we owe to our ancestors. “There but for the grace of them go I”. Those bonds formed in Canada gave HOPE to a tiny Island people at the time.”
  • Jeremie Monette Quebec. “well I can definitely support this, I’m half-Quebecois and half-Newfoundlander, so I have Irish blood mixed with the Quebecois!”
  • I love to receive the Monument Newsletter and the updates although I have never been to Canada. I have relatives in Boston who are descended from my grandmother’s sisters and there are similarities between some of the stories told there and in your updates. I think it is important that the Irish at home today see the efforts of our ancestors abroad. (24 Dec 2009). Colette Mannion, Corporate Development Executive, Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail), Dublin, Ireland

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  • We Irish have done so much for this country and it is the Irish modesty that stops us from claiming what we have done.  It’s about time it was fully recognized!  I am happy with you including my comments in your next newsletter.  It truly is a work of art.  
  • I started the Irish Association of Toronto because I came to Canada in 2002 and could not find an Irish Association at that time – I searched the internet but found nothing.  Periodically I would try again to see if associations did exist, and had just created a new website, or if someone else had started an association.  My British and German friends both had groups where they could meet other recent immigrants, but this did not exist for the Irish in Toronto.  Finally after 4 years of being in Toronto, I picked up the courage to start my own Irish association and I modeled it on the British and German groups. 
  • Thankfully I am an IT nerd, so I did all the research and optimized my website for all the search engines so that it could easily be found on the internet and would always come up in the first 5 search results when people searched on keywords like Toronto Irish Association or Society.  It took a lot of tweaking but I got it there after about 6 months!  As people found my site, they joined up and so it became like a snowball – it gathered a natural momentum as it kept rolling with more people joining as it became more popular. 
  • I made the decision not to charge membership, because new immigrants are generally tight on funds, so I did not want to put a barrier between the new immigrants and the already established Irish folks having an opportunity to communicate and meet up with each other.  I think this has worked out well because now people join my website even before they have left Ireland with comments like “waiting on the visa to come and will be there in a few weeks/months”.  It allows them to ask questions even before they arrive and puts them in contact with Irish real estate agents on our list who can also advise them about neighborhoods to live in. 
  • I experimented with the format of our get togethers and finally found a formula that worked for most people in the group (essentially a pub downtown on a Sunday evening).  The physical meetups allow us to meet each other in person and make real friends through the association.  Using a pub for our meetups avoids the overhead cost of maintaining a club house.  It also avoids the cost of renting a room in a community centre for example, as the bar is quite happy to have lots of drinking customers.  This allows me to keep the membership free.  The mailing list allows any member to send an email to all the other members and allows everybody to feel connected to the entire community and of course generates some lively discussions!!  Thankfully I have never had to deal with flame wars!  Apparently we are all good natured enough to respect other people’s opinions even if they are totally different from our own!  Must be the influence of living in Canada! 
  • As a final note, I would like to add that a couple of years after starting the Irish Association, I finally discovered that there were other Irish groups (although not in Toronto – they were in the surrounding towns as most of the older Irish who emigrated here in the 60s or 70s had moved out to the suburbs).  However even though some of these groups had a website, I had not been able to find it through the search engines (or maybe the website was recently created).  I would like to emphasize to the Irish community the importance of having a website so new immigrants can find you – even if it is just something simple, at least you will have a page that shows up in search results for new immigrants to know that you exist!  My other pet peeve is that the Irish groups here will regularly change the name of their website – this breaks all the links to their previous website, which of course creates confusion for new people trying to find you when the links to your site from other sites no longer work!  You really got to choose a name and stick with it for eternity!  Or keep paying for the old site name, but it has it on a redirect to the new site.  Anyway that’s my input on how the Irish community could stay better “connected”. 
  • Cheers Sandra 
  • Sandra McKeown – The Irish Association of Toronto         March 21 2010