Laval and Montreal officials commemorate Greek Independence Day

Dignitaries gather at Laval Cenotaph to celebrate Hellenic freedom and Greek war vets

Elected officials from three levels of government gathered at the Veterans’ Cenotaph near Laval city hall on the morning of Saturday March 23 to pay respects alongside residents of Hellenic origin to Greek veterans and soldiers on the occasion of the 203rd anniversary of Greece’s independence.

Greek and Canadian flags, as well as drummers, outside Laval City Hall on Saturday March 23. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

A three-day celebration

From the left, Laval-Les Îles MP Fayçal El-Khoury, Vimy MP Annie Koutrakis and Saint-Laurent MP Emmanuella Lambropoulos prepare to deposit a wreath at the base of the Laval veterans’ Cenotaph on Saturday March 30. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

This year’s commemorations, including the Greek Independence Day parade in Parc Extension, were spread out as usual over three days in Laval and in Montreal.

On March 25 in the year 1821 in what was then Ottoman-dominated Greece, Bishop Germanos of the metropolis of Patras blessed a Greek flag and proclaimed an uprising by the Greeks against the occupying Ottomans.

Prayer and contemplation

To honour those who gave their lives so that Greece would be free, Greeks from Laval and from all over the Montreal region go each year to the Cenotaph in Laval to deposit commemorative wreaths and to spend a few moments in prayer and silent contemplation.

In the Montreal region, Laval has the highest concentration of residents of Greek heritage.

Among those depositing commemorative wreaths this year were a representative from the Consulate General for Greece in Montreal, local and Montreal-area Liberal MPs, Laval-area MNAs, and city councillors from Laval and the City of Montreal.

As well, wreaths were left by representatives from the Hellenic Community of Quebec, the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal and Greek Canadian armed forces veterans.