Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently announced an investment by his government in Grosse Ile and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada to restore and improve the site’s surrounding buildings and thus preserve an important chapter in Canadian history. As part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada is making investments to protect and preserve national parks and historic sites across the country.
Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the dedication of a Celtic cross built by the AOH, which was erected on the island in 1909 to commemorate the Irish immigrants who are buried at the former quarantine island in the St. Lawrence Seaway near Quebec. A number of members of the Canadian Parliament had joined the AOH for the centenary commemoration on Grosse Ile this past summer.
“This investment is a great tribute to our long-lasting relationship with Ireland,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Many Canadian hopefuls lost their lives on this island, but those who survived contributed greatly to the foundation of our great country. By investing in projects to improve our historic sites, our government is fulfilling its duty to educate the public about events that have marked our history.”
While no official figure was mentioned, it has been estimated that several million dollars will be dedicated to the site. Victor Boyle, president of the AOH in Canada, noted that the united commitment by the AOH in Canada, the US and Ireland to our Irish heritage made a huge impact on the Parliament’s decision.