Don’t miss Montreal Greeks celebrating their heritage in style


It’s that time of year when Montreal Greeks come together to celebrate their heritage in the run-up to the Greek Orthodox Easter on Sunday, April 28th. The Montreal Greek Parade kicked off festivities recently in the historic Park-Extension neighbourhood known for its authentic Greek restaurants and cafes. Tens of thousands of revelers lined the streets to watch marching bands in colourful costumes, a time honoured tradition in the Montreal Greek community for more than four decades. The Montreal Greek Parade also commemorated Greek Independence Day, a national holiday in Greece.

300 Spartans of Quebec banner Photo credit: John Zobolas

Montreal radio personality “Mister Johnny” a.k.a. John Zobolas marched in the parade this year with the 300 Spartans of Quebec to honour the memory of his late father. Although he isn’t a member of the regiment the 300 Spartans asked the host of “The SHOW”, an English program which airs on CJLV 1570 AM from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, to walk with them. “It has a lot to do with my father,” he says. Going to the parade with his father and brothers was an annual rite of spring growing up. This year his 5-year old son “Foti” Zobolas walked with him in the parade. “He dressed up like the Evzones,” he says, referring to the elite Greek soldiers who stand guard at the Presidential Palace and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens.

“Mister Johnny” with Tommy Moukas Photo credit: John Zobolas

The Montreal Greek Film Festival is once again dovetailing its calendar with the Greek holidays for the 7th year in a row. The MGFF is the only Greek Film Festival in Canada and showcases the best of contemporary Greek cinema. “This year I am glad to have movies that touch all film genres, such as drama, documentary, spy/thriller, comedy, and romance,” says Festival Director John Caoussias. The  MGFF opened with Freedom Besieged: Unshackling the Youth of Greece a feature-length documentary directed and produced by Panayioti Yannitsos an award-winning Canadian filmmaker based in Vancouver. The film which stars Noam Chomsky, Jordan Peterson, Constantine Markoulakis, and Michael Dukakis delves into the ongoing social and political crisis in Greece triggered by the economic collapse and the devastating impact on the nation’s youth.

Foti Zobolas marching in Greek Parade Photo credit: John Zobolas


The Opening Night at the glittery Rialto Theatre on Park Avenue featured a cocktail reception and a panel discussion following the screening moderated by Aphrodite Salas, Assistant Professor of Journalism at Concordia and former correspondent for CTV News. Panelists included Panayioti Yannitsos, Ambassador Robert Peck, Canada’s Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic and High Commissioner to the Republic of Cyprus from 2011-2015, John Karkalatos born and raised in the Leaside Community of Toronto and an active member of the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church who founded and self-financed the youth basketball camp “Kiveri Basket” in Greece, an inspiration to children all over the world and now entering its 19th year of operation, and Quebec film critic Elie Castiel, Editor-in-Chief of Sequences Magazine. Salas asked the panelists to talk about what it means to be Greek today, suggesting that it could mean embracing the Hellenic ideal of freedom. This inspired a lively round of exchanges by participants about the challenges and opportunities for the citizens of Greece and those in the diaspora.

Photo credit: John Zobolas

The Lyceum of Greek Women of Montreal will be presenting a fashion show on Apri l6th at the Palace Reception Hall in Laval to support early clinical diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. “Profits will go to the DOvEE Project of the MUHC at the Glen Hospital,” says Justine Frangouli-Argyris, President of Montreal’s Lyceum Club of Greek Women. The LGWM  is collaborating with the DOvEE project of the Women’s Health Research Unit’s Ovarian Cancer Diagnostic Centre at the MUHC to support preventive care in women’s health. The fashion show will be hosted by CTV News Reporter Rob Lurie. All profits from this event will go towards women’s cancer research and Dr. Lucy Gilbert, head of the DOvEE project, will be a keynote speaker.

The fashion show will feature the clothes of the world-renowned Greek designer, Orsalia Parthenis, who will travel from Greece to present her Spring and Fall collections of clothing and accessories. Orsalia Parthenis’ pieces are known for their geometrical and symmetrical lines, inspired by ancient Greek clothing. Models from NewWave Agency along with cancer survivors will be strutting the runway. I am very happy to participate in this fashion show. Women’s cancer prevention and treatment is something I hold very close to my heart,” says Parthenis. The show will also feature the famous BlueBlue swimsuits of young Greek designer Eva Soulakou who incorporates themes from Greek symbols in her designs and selection of fabrics. BlueBlue beachwear is inspired by iconic images of Greek seas and beaches.

By: Deborah Rankin – [email protected]
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