St. Patrick's Day celebrations begin

It was a sea of green Saturday in Ottawa; on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.

Irish colours flew proudly along Bank Street to Lansdowne Park; floats, bands and dancers made their way to the Aberdeen Pavilion to celebrate all things Irish.

“I think it’s a time for celebration and getting together with friends and family and having a good time.” said Monica Mills, who joined family along the parade route.

The traditional opening of the beer cask officially opened the party.

Hundreds of pints were poured; ales and stouts served up to more than two thousand guests inside the pavilion.

"Happy St. Patrick's Day" shouted councillors Tim Tierney and Matthew Luloff.

The festival raised money for the Irish Society of the National Capital region.

“An area here where we have 28% who can claim Irish heritage.” said Bryan Daly, President of the society.

From experienced Irish dancers to little ones learning from the pros, it was a day of song and dance.

“St. Patrick's Day is not just an Irish occasion, it's an international occasion. 1 in 7 Canadians claim Irish heritage so it's a special day for them to celebrate their roots and their culture.” said Jim Kelly, Ireland’s ambassador to Canada.

“My dad's from Dublin; his five brothers live there and he came to Canada 53 years ago.” said MP for Ottawa-Centre, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

Ottawa Police and by-law plan to step up enforcement with patrols in Sandy Hill Saturday and into Sunday for St. Patrick’s Day.