Greek Independence Day Events
The HCGM annual Greek Independence Day Parade was held on Sunday, March 26, 2017 in the Parc-Extension borough. This year, the Right Honorable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has attended the parade in the past, was named Grand Marshal of the festivities. The parade has been a Montreal tradition for over 40 years and attracts thousands of spectators, who flock to Park-Extension to take in the sights and sounds. The Parade showcased numerous groups, including all schools and departments of the HCGM, Greek associations, educational institutions and various cultural communities. The Greek Government was represented by Terence Quick, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Georges Rigas, who was dressed in traditional costume, said he’s been coming to the parade since he was 3 years old. This year, he was marching with his dance troupe. For Rigas, the parade is about celebrating the storied history of a young nation.
“Our country is only about 200 years old but our history goes back thousands of years,” he said. “We went through so much. It’s one story out of so many that we have.”
For Demetre Costopoulos with the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal, the parade is about remembering the sacrifices of those who came before.
“The parade is regarding our Independence Day in 1821 from the Ottoman Empire,” he said. “We have to remember these people. They fought for us to be free.”
Along with Sunday’s parade, many events took place in Montreal commemorating the 186th Anniversary of March 1821, which marks the beginning of the revolutionary fight that ended 400 years of the Ottoman rule, starting with the wreath-laying ceremony held at the City of Laval Cenotaph, on Saturday, March 25. This year, the Greek flag was raised on the central pole of the City hall of Laval.
On the same evening, at the Hellenic Community Centre Adrian-Maris, the Official Dinner was held. In a room almost filled to capacity, the atmosphere was full of pride and patriotism. Speeches were given, poems were recited and the Hellene of the Year award, was bestowed to Mr. Tassos Xipolitakis, HCGM Fundraising Committee President.
The Doxology held at the Greek Orthodox Church Evangelismos tis Theotokou, in the Parc-Extension borough, where the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, delivered a speech honouring Greek Montrealers.
After the parade, HCGM President Nicholas Pagonis and the General Consul of Greece in Montreal, Nicholas Sigalas, hosted a reception at the Hellenic Community Centre Adrian Maris where, among the people gathered, many dignitaries were present.
sources: Annabelle Olivier, Web producer, Global News
The Canadian Press