A Message from the President – December 2017
As we celebrate Christmas, and are a few days away from 2018, I took a moment to look back at the year that comes to its end. And what a year it was; full of historic moments, which filled me and my colleagues of the Board of Directors with great pride. The rebuilding of Koimisis Tis Theotokou Church, our beloved “Panagitsa” has been completed. Our parishioners can now practice their faith, in a church that complies with all the current building code regulations, including an elevator, natural gas, and the use of state-of-the-art equipment for heat, ventilation, air-conditioning and power.
Another historic achievement is the Statue of the Greek Immigrant, which represents our very own footprint in this multiethnic city we live in. A gift to the City of Montreal for its 375th anniversary, made possible by the numerous sponsors who replied to the invitation of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal, the Hellenic Congress of Quebec and the Lyceum of Greek Women of Montreal. The Statue stands proud at the corner of Park Avenue and Jean-Talon, overlooking the old Gare Centrale, the station where new immigrants arriving by the hundreds were looking for a better life for their families.
I am also very proud of our volunteers, the members of our Board of Directors, our staff and the members of the HCGM’s various committees. I would like to thank the Fundraising Committee and its President Tassos Xipolitakis for the remarkable success of our annual TeleMarathon, the annual Lottery and Taste & Tradition events, in support of our schools. I would like to thank Vrissiis Mavrou-Paidousis for her courage in organising events to benefit over 50 non-profit organisations for children in need in Greece. I would like to thank my fellow member of the Board of Directors, Eleni Tsinalis, Secretary of the HCGMs Social Services and her team, for taking care of the elderly and the most vulnerable groups of our society, with services such as the weekly food banks and the blood drives. I would like to thank the directors, principals and teachers of our school “Socrates-Démosthène” for the high-quality education they offer to students like Athena Nikolis who proved to be a true «ελληνοπούλα». Thanks also go to our Cultural Institute’s Folklore Workshop for their spectacular productions, such as «Μελετώντας τις ρίζες μας – Ήταν ο τόπος μου». I would also like to thank the Sports Department for organising unique sports programmes and the summer camps for our children.
Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to all those involved in the signing of the “Health Tourism in Greece” agreement, and the committee responsible for St. George Cathedral’s restoration project under the direction of my fellow Board Member, Achilleas Nikopoulos, who put tremendous efforts and endless time into the rebuilding of “Panagitsa”.
In closing, I would like to thank each and every one of you for supporting the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal. Your efforts, donations and support are deeply appreciated by all of us, and most importantly by our children for whom you ensure a bright future.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Nicholas T. Pagonis