By Gabrielle Fahmy
The annual Hellenic summer festival took place from June 27-July 1 at Holy Cross Church in Chomedey.
More than 6,000 people from the greater Montreal area showed up at the event, which stretched out over a record five days this year, with the closing festivities on Canada Day. People came to meet each other among friends and relatives, to remember a bit of their country, pass a few hours with music, dancing, Greek food and games.
But for many people there like Stavros Tsinalis, vice-president of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal, who’s been involved in the festival for almost 20 years now, the best part of it all was seeing the younger generation partaking in the tradition.
“What makes me proud is yesterday there were 350 young fellows, second and third generation Greek Canadians and they were dancing Greek, it was unbelievable,” said Tsinalis.
“For that alone, it’s worth it.”
All the proceeds from the event will go to schools and churches in the Hellenic community.
“Everybody here is a volunteer, since Friday I had over 100 people volunteering, the people who prepare the charcoal, the souvlakis, the ladies who serve the French fries—everybody is volunteering,” said Tsinalis.
The Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal represents Greeks from Laval, Montreal and the South Shore since the merging of the three communities about four years ago. The festival is held in Laval because that is where the most important Greek population is—about 19,000 according to the latest census.
“Our community in Montreal is 105 years old, and we hope our great grand-children celebrate another 100 years,” said Tsinalis.
“We hope the people that come after us continue to have our community, the little Greece which we have made in Canada.”