St. Patrick’s Square Monuments
St. Patrick’s Square, at the conjunction of Water Street, Prince William Street and Broad Street in Saint John’s South End, is the site of two distinctive Irish memorials. Formerly known as Reeds Point, this triangular little square on the city’s peninsula mainland, looks directly out at Partridge Island, the historic quarantine and immigration station where so many refugees had their first glimpse of Canada.
The grassy square, with its ornamental “Three Sisters” lamp replica of old-time navigational lights, was re-named St. Patrick’s Square during the 1967 Canadian Centennial, to honour citizens of Irish descent.
|St Patrick’s Square Saint John|
Its principal monument is an eight-foot high Celtic cross – a replica of the 20-foot cross, which can be seen on Partridge Island. The cross on the island was erected in 1927 by George McArthur, a local contractor with the aid of a public subscription. The St. Patrick’s Square replica was dedicated in 1967 by the St. Patrick’s Society of Saint John.
The original cross on the island and the replica on the mainland both bear this same wording:
“This monument was erected in memory of more than 2,000 Irish immigrants who died of Typhus Fever, contracted on shipboard during the voyage from Ireland in the Famine year 1847, and of whom 600 were buried on this island. This cross also commemorates the devotion and sacrifice of Dr. Patrick Collins, who after ministering to victims of the disease, himself contracted it and died.”
|Celtic cross, St Patrick’s Square|
St. Patrick’s Square was refurbished by the City of Saint John in 1997, including restoration work on “The Three Sisters” lamp. During that same year, Saint John’s St. Patrick’s Society and the group representing “Famine 150” erected a granite marker to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Great Irish Potato Famine. This marker was unveiled by Paul Dempsey, Ireland’s ambassador to Canada.
Saint John’s Irish Canadian Cultural Association sponsors a public ecumenical service and wreath-laying ceremony at St. Patrick’s Square each March during St. Patrick’s Week.