Jay de la Durantaye is a resident of St. Lazare and the director of sales for West Island-based NDR Electric, which distributes LED lighting across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
A member of the Hudson Legion, he has been president of the Legion Curling Club since 2015.
In 2018, de la Durantaye took on the challenge of heading a team of talented volunteers to reposition the Hudson St. Patrick's Parade that staged the event’s 10th annual edition in March 2019. The process broke the mold, and set record numbers for several of the associated events leading up to and including the parade, preparing the groundwork for the creation of the Soulanges Irish Society and marking a course to transform this annual festival into one of the largest Irish celebrations in North America.
Originally from Pierrefonds, de la Durantaye grew up in the West Island, where he was active in coaching a variety of amateur sports, including hockey, ringuette, baseball and curling teams. He currently plays softball with the Hudson mixed league. He moved to St. Lazare in 2001, has lived in Hudson and considers this region his home. His 15-year-old son, Edward, is a student at Collège Bourget in Rigaud.
His Irish roots reach back to his paternal great-grandfather, John Chambers, who was born in Sligo, Ireland. After emigrating to Canada, Chamber’s only daughter, Olive, married a young Montrealer, Wilfred de la Durantaye, a union that, like many in Quebec’s storied history, firmed the bonds between the Irish and French cultures in this province.
“Being part of the Soulanges Irish Society at the ground level is not only a thrill,” de la Durantaye said, “it allows me to be involved in a community-based organization that I am passionate about, and offers our region the opportunity to celebrate the Irish in us all."
Brenda O’Farrell is a resident of St. Lazare and a career journalist. She is president of Ballyporeen Media Inc., which produces the only English-language newspaper that serves residents in all rural regions in the province of Quebec and handles the Canadian operations for an international media firm based in Tel Aviv and Madrid that specializes in business and stock market news. She is also the executive director of the Quebec Farmers’ Association, a provincial non-profit organization, and writes a column for Investing.com that is published in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Australia, India and South Africa in English, and translated for publication in France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and Japan.
A former senior news editor with the Montreal Gazette, her work has appeared in many other Canadian publications, including Maclean’s, the Ottawa Citizen, rabble.ca, Home Canada, Toronto Home and Vancouver Home.
O’Farrell is currently the vice-president of the Quebec Community Newspaper Association and, in May 2019, was named to the federal government’s Journalism and Written Media Independent Panel of Experts.
In 2019, she was named the first Irishwoman of the Year by the organizing committee of the St. Patrick’s parade in Hudson. In recognition of the honour, she founded The O’Farrell Wondrous Adventure Scholarship, which is registered with the John Abbott College Foundation. As a symbol of support from the community, the scholarship provides a $1,000 annual grant to a female John Abbott student of Irish descent from this region to undertake whatever wondrous adventure she choses or finds herself on.
Originally from the small town of St. Malachie, Que., southeast of Quebec City which was founded by Irish and French settlers, she has lived in Montreal, where she graduated from Concordia University. She moved to St. Lazare in 1992.
“I am proud to be a founding member of the Soulanges Irish Society. It is my hope that it will showcase the best of what this community has to offer.”
Robert Dumas is a resident of Hudson and a businessman. He is the managing director for Innovative Systems Design, a Montreal-based company that develops and integrates a cloud-based subscriber self-service platform for newspapers throughout North America. He is also a professional firefighter and a certified first-responder working part-time for the Hudson Fire Department.
Dumas is currently a member of the Red Knights Motorcycle Club, an international firefighter motorcycle club, and a member of the Royal Canadian Legion. He also volunteers his time in support of many local charitable endeavours.
Originally from Longueuil, Que., he has lived and worked in England and Denmark, and moved to Hudson in 2010.
Dumas’ father is of French and Huron background, while his mother provided his Irish roots, explaining how his parents were proud of their individual heritages and taught their children to embrace all aspects of their Irish, French and Aboriginal heritage.
Dumas has been married to Elizabeth Rowe for 29 years and is a father of three – son Josh is studying to be a master electrician, son Liam is a firefighter in Hudson, and daughter Olivia is a student at McGill University and plans to pursue a career in medicine.
“I like being involved in the community,” said Dumas. “I have always taken an active role. It’s important to do something.”
Craig Nolan is a resident of Vaudreuil-Dorion and a mail carrier with Canada Post. He also founded a financial services firm, Craig Nolan & Associates Inc., which was sold to a private equity firm in 2014.
A graduate of Concordia University with a bachelor of arts degree in political science, Nolan worked for Nexxus Solutions, a sales and debt collection call centre, and eventually took over the company.
Born in LaSalle, Que., Nolan grew up in Hudson, and has lived in Verdun. He attended Options II High School in Ville Émard.
He moved to Vaudreuil-Dorion in 2013, where he lives with his wife, Isabelle Laframboise, a microbiologist.
Nolan is proud of his Irish roots. His family hails from the town of Carlow in County Carlow, south of Dublin. He is a member of the United Irish Societies of Montreal, where he has held the position of chairman of communications, corresponding secretary and parade marshal. He is also a member of the St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal, a charitable cultural association.
Now, he aims to offer his experience and passion to the Soulanges Irish Society.
“The goal is to build this organization from the grassroots, and I invite all who are Irish or who enjoy the Irish spirit of inclusiveness to join,” said Nolan.
Ken Bell -
Brent Nolan is a resident of Rigaud and a heavy equipment operator for the Town of Hudson. He began working for the municipality in 2001, and has held a variety of positions over the years, including being an acting firefighter and a community patrol officer for 15 years. He is currently the vice-president of the Union of Employees of the Town of Hudson, an elected position he has held since 2015.
Among the highlights of his time as a firefighter, Nolan helped raise more than $50,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society through the Shave To Save event, an initiative that he has spearheaded from its inception.
Originally from LaSalle, Que., Nolan grew up in Hudson. He is a graduate of Algonquin College, where he studied police technology.
He moved to Rigaud in 2005, where he lives with his wife Shannon Devouge and their four children.
Nolan has been part of the team that has staged the Hudson St. Patrick’s parade since the first year it made its way through the heart of the village in 2009. He has been a parade marshal since 2015 and has been spotted manning the controls of the machine that paints the green line down Main Road during the wee hours of the morning before parade day. This involvement has been at the centre of Nolan’s growing interest and pride in his Irish roots.
He has been an active member of the United Irish Societies of Montreal since 2014, has been a marshal of the Montreal parade and participated in many events hosted by the UIS over the years.
In May of 2019, Nolan and his wife toured Ireland, where his interest in his Celtic heritage was deepened.
“When you are in Ireland, you feel like you’re at home,” said Nolan. “After returning from our trip, I knew that promoting our Irish culture and heritage to the entire Vaudreuil Soulanges region must be done. I want everyone with Irish heritage to feel at home when they’re out with the SIS.”