Martin C. Barry
Thousands of people with Hellenic roots from all over Quebec had the opportunity to return to their cultural origins on Canada Day weekend when the Laval Greek Orthodox Community held its annual Hellenic Summer Festival at Holy Cross Church in Chomedey.
A big Greek reunion
The Laval Hellenic Summer Festival is one of the biggest Greek cultural events that takes place in Quebec each year. People arrive from many areas of eastern Canada, eager to meet and greet old friends and members of their extended families. In Laval there are an estimated 40,000 Greek residents.
Among the dignitaries who turned up were Laval city councillor for Chomedey Aglaia Revelakis, Laval-Les Îles Liberal MP Fayçal El-Khoury, Quebec Liberal MNA for Chomedey Guy Ouellette, Fabre Liberal MNA Monique Sauvé, Action Laval interim-leader Archie Cifelli, Consul General for Greece in Montreal Michalis Gavriilidis, Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal president Annie Koutrakis and Former Laval city councillor Jocelyne Guertin.
A very big community
“The Greeks are the largest cultural community in the province and they deserve to be,” Ouellette said in an interview with the Laval News. “This is always such a special day – an event not to be missed,” said Sauvé. “I am here every year and it is always a pleasure to be here.”
El-Khoury was very upbeat about the importance of recognizing Greek heritage on the same day as Canada celebrates its birthday. “I always advise all my Greek friends to continue remembering their roots, but also to remember that they are also Canadians and should contribute to Canada in all its aspects,” he said.
A land of opportunity
Revelakis recalled that her parents arrived in Canada in the early 1960s, following which “they worked to develop and establish themselves in Canada. And this is what Canada is about: Canada is the land of opportunity and it opens doors for many people including youths. Canada is our home and we are proud to be Canadians.”
Consul General Gavriilidis said, “What a wonder day this is, and what a wonderful way this is to celebrate Canada’s birthday at a festival with Greek flavours, colours and taste. I am very happy for this community and congratulate them for getting this together and wish them many more such occasions in the future.”