Guy Ouellette awards National Assembly Medal to Demetris J. Yantsulis

Chomedey MNA pays homage to Montreal Greek community’s ‘senior statesman’

For more than just a few generations of Hellenic Montrealers, Demetris J. Yantsulis has been a voice of reason they would often seek out when a reliable view on global affairs or Greek, Canadian or Quebec politics and history was needed.

Lifetime of involvement

Over the past 40 years and more, Demetris Yantsulis’s many articles and newspaper columns in Canadian Greek language publications have been regarded as one of the benchmarks among Hellenics wishing to gain a better understanding and perspective on a wide range of issues impacting Canada, Quebec and Greece.

At the same time, Yantsulis was a dedicated board member, volunteer or a supporter for many Hellenic organizations, including AHEPA Montreal, the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal, the Socrates-Demosthenes Schools and the Greek community Boy Scouts movement.

An esteemed elder statesman

On Nov. 3, Chomedey MNA Guy Ouellette paid homage in the Quebec National Assembly to the 86-year-old Demetris Yantsulis for all his years of service to Greeks in Laval and throughout the greater Montreal region.

In addition to the spoken tribute, Ouellette would later also present the National Assembly Medal to Yantsulis, who without a doubt is one of the local Hellenic community’s most esteemed elder statesmen.

“I would like to pay tribute to an exceptional man, Mr. Demetris Yantsulis, to whom I am giving the National Assembly Medal in order to emphasize his volunteer contributions to committees in the Hellenic as well Quebec communities,” said Ouellette.

Has had many recognitions

“For almost four decades, he has made a very significant contribution towards the Greek community, their schools and scout involvement, as well as for the Red Cross and Salvation Army and the Daughters of Penelope.

“He has received a great number of recognitions and honorary certificates of merit so far, as well as the medal from the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada Man of the Year 2000, for lifetime achievement and community heritage in Canada,” Ouellette continued.

“He was also honored last Saturday at the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Montreal AHEPA for his leadership as president for 77-78, a special tribute for a special man as part of the 200th anniversary of Greek independence. Thank you, Mr. Yantsulis.”

Honored by the recognition

In an interview with Newsfirst Multimedia, Yantsulis said he was “honored to receive this award of recognition. The purpose was to give me this award in recognition of my achievements and contributions to the Quebec social community as part of the 200th anniversary of Greek independence. So, this is what is behind awarding me this recognition from the Quebec parliament.”

It’s been more than 50 years since Demetris Yantsulis arrived in Canada and Quebec from the Macedonia region of Greece. During the half-century since his arrival, he made contributions not only to the Greek community, but, as Ouellette acknowledged, also to Quebec culture and society as a whole.

Other honors and awards

Among other functions, he served as president of a committee that organized the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Hellenic community in Quebec and in Montreal. As well, he was honored by the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal (HCGM) as the 2009 Hellene of the Year.

In addition, the Hellenic Ladies Benevolent Society awarded Demetris Yantsulis a recognition for his many years of efforts assisting Greeks in Montreal. The society, which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year, is mandated to help those in need within the Hellenic community in the Greater Montreal region.

Was a co-founder of NBG (Canada)

Although now retired, Demetris Yantsulis became well-known among thousands of Canadian Greeks for his long-time association with the National Bank of Greece (Canada), whose Canadian operations were acquired by Scotiabank in 2005.

A few years after arriving in Canada, he was a co-founder of the National Bank of Greece’s operations in Canada. For many years thereafter, he was the National Bank of Greece (Canada)’s chief operating officer (COO), placing him effectively in charge of all NBG’s operations in Quebec and across Canada, which included nearly a dozen branches.

Still active in retirement

In spite of his retirement, Yantsulis remains active in the community. Among his current functions, he is chairman of public relations for AHEPA in Canada and Quebec, and he is also responsible for public relations for Newsfirst Multimedia’s Greek language publication, Ta Nea.

As well, he served for four years as president of the Pan-Macedonian Association of Canada. “I think I am well-known to all Quebec Greek community organizations, which I supported for the last 53 years greatly,” said Yantsulis, assessing his work over those many years.