Thank you Mr. Zannis

zannis-2The success of the 2015 “RBC Taste and Tradition” event is attributable to the collaborative work of members from 37 local associations and organisations, including the participation of over 150 volunteers, most of which worked as unsung heroes.

Mr. Vassilis Zannis – owner of Château Royal Reception Halls where the event took place – was one of them.  He graciously offered, at no cost, the reception hall, the service staff, the facilities and the kitchen equipment, as well as his personal work.  He was present throughout the entire event, discreetly providing advice and assisting in the resolution of problems when they arose.  It was an event attended by more than 2,100 persons.  “I did not expect to see so many people, it was something extraordinary.  There were people all day. Not just for one or two hours. The hall was constantly full,” said Mr. Zannis enthusiastically, while adding: “Many people left because they did not find a parking spot for their cars.   I heard that some left their cars nearby at St-Nicholas Church and came on foot.  I did not expect so many people on such a cold day.”

A professional caterer for over 40 years, Mr. Zannis went on to add that the “RBC Taste and Tradition” event “is a very good idea and it should take place at least once a year.  We do, however, need to work out some of the details including possibly larger quantities of food.  And perhaps some of dishes should be removed from the menu and other, more popular choices should be offered in larger quantities so that no leaves with an empty stomach.”

Mr. Zannis was born in Messinia, Greece and immigrated to Canada in October 1967.  His early years as an immigrant were difficult ones, as with most immigrants.  He came to Canada as a machine operator “believing that I would find money on the streets and I ended up being a dishwasher, I washed dishes.  Following that, I began dealing with restaurants. I became a waiter and then acquired my own restaurant” he said and added: “I climbed the ladder, all the way, to get where I am today.”

He opened his first restaurant in 1970; a little place that he kept for about two years.  In 1976, together with other partners, he bought and operated the legendary “Mirage” Restaurant on St-Martin Boulevard, in Laval.  After that followed the “Palace” Reception Halls and now the “Château Royal” Reception Halls.

As a father and grandfather, Mr. Zannis is sensitive to the issue of Greek education.  This is the reason he incurred a large portion of the costs for the event, by offering the reception hall and all related services, free of charge.  Mr. Zannis, who had also participated in two past events, where he similarly offered his services, stated that: “We must offer our children the Greek culture and traditions.  Our community must make a concerted effort so as to raise approximately $ 200,000 from such an event.”

With the same constant smile on his face, this passionate but demanding professional, concluded by saying: “It is a great achievement for 37 associations to work together.  It’s one of the best things that have ever been accomplished within the Greek community.  It is worth even more than the money raised and it should be done on a larger scale with the participation of all Greeks, whether businesses or individuals, or anyone who has something to offer.  Let it become known out there that the Greeks raised $1,000,000 for an event such as this.”

Greeks like Mr. Vassilis Zannis, who understand the importance of Greek education for our youth and its contribution to the preservation of Hellenism, make us proud and we thank him wholeheartedly!