TORONTO – On March 1, 2021, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada issued a statement to recognize and celebrate Hellenic Heritage Month. This important annual initiative, led by the hard work and dedication of Ontario MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, is an opportunity for Canadians of Hellenic descent to pay tribute to the Motherland, Greece, as well as to highlight and honor Greek-Canadians who are benefactors of the Church in Canada, together with others who have left a legacy in their community.
There are thousands of people in the history of the Hellenic people in Canada who deserve mention, so developing a short list runs the risk of omitting individuals who should be included. The Archdiocese selected these people as a sample to be honored for their individual contributions, and at the same time to represent all of the outstanding Greek-Canadians throughout history.
Greek people in Canada have, and continue, to meaningfully contribute to the social fabric, economic growth, and civil society from coast to coast to coast. From governance and justice to business and economics; from art, communication, and education, Greek-Canadians have left a permanent footprint in countless sectors of Canadian society. In a statement, it was declared: “As we commemorate 200 years of Greek Independence, let us join together to celebrate these individuals and to renew our commitment to Hellenic ideals and to our Orthodox faith so that we continuously grow, prosper, and contribute as Greek-Canadians to this wonderful and blessed country."
The honorees, living and departed, include:
Ernie Afaganis, also known as ‘The Greek’, started covering the Edmonton Eskimos in 1953. He moved to CBC-TV in 1963 and until 1980 was the network’s host for their Western league coverage.
Alex Anthopoulos is a professional baseball executive, currently working as the general manager and president of baseball operations for the Atlanta Braves.
The late Andreas Apostolopoulos was born in Kalamata, Greece, and emigrated to Canada in 1969. He started as a laborer and janitor, progressing to owning small service and manufacturing companies, eventually paving the way to commercial real estate investment and redevelopment.
John Michael Christodoulou is one of the greatest benefactors of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada. The founder of the Patriarchal Toronto Orthodox Theological Academy, Christodoulou also purchased the current Archdiocesan headquarters building in Toronto.
Dimitri Dimakopoulos was born in Athens and came to Canada in the late 1940s and would go on to become an eminent Canadian architect of the twentieth century.
Diana Drombolis was a teacher by training who dedicated her life to the Orthodox faith and Christian principles.
Petros (Peter) A. Foustanellas was a distinguished family man, business owner, philanthropist and benefactor of the Church in Canada. He was the founder and owner of Argos Carpets Limited, Pegasus Developments Limited, Olympia Homes and Merivale Bowling Centre.
Constantine (Cos) Georganas emigrated from Greece to Canada in 1968, where he studied economics and finance and later became a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers.
Senator Leo Housakos was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008.
Hassy Kapelos is a preeminent Canadian political journalist and currently the host of Power & Politics on CBC News Network.
Justice Andromache Karakatsanis was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in October 2011.
Nick and Sofia Kogos were residents of Vancouver, who built a replica of the Parthenon in West Vancouver and dedicated it to the local municipality.
Sam Kolias is the co-founder of Boardwalk REIT and currently serves as its Chairman and CEO.
His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Elaia was the first resident Orthodox Christian bishop in Canada, serving in that position from 1960 to 1963.
Spyros Demosthenes Loukidelis was a first-generation Greek Canadian: in 1973, Loukidelis was appointed to the District Court of Ontario in Sudbury and by 1990.
George Maniatis was a lawyer who emigrated from Greece to Canada and settled in St. John, New Brunswick.
Dr. Julius D. Metrakos is a member of the Order of Canada and was a Professor of Human Genetics at McGill University and an eminent research scientist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Cliff Missios was born in Romania, where he studied law before moving to France to further his education.
Constantine George (Gus) Mitges was the first Greek-Canadian Member of Parliament. A veterinarian by profession, he entered politics when he served as a school board member.
Dr. Dimitrios Oreopoulos was a true pioneer in the study of medicine and, among countless accomplishments, founded the International Society of Geriatric Nephrology and Urology.
Phrixos B. Papachristidis, a member of the Order of Canada, from very humble beginnings, became a shipping merchant and great philanthropist.
George Petrovas is from British Columbia and has had a distinguished thirty-year career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Mike and Bertha Politis (Brother and Sister) are great benefactors of the Church in Canada.
Toula Reppas is a philanthropist, supporter of the Archdiocese, and founder of the successful and ever-growing Greek Orthodox Day School in Ontario.
Fr. Nicholas Salamis was an orphan from Greece who came to Canada and was educated at McGill University and at the University in Athens. He was ordained a Greek Orthodox Priest in 1938.
Steve Stavro was a successful businessman, grocery store owner through Knob Hill Farms, a thoroughbred racehorse owner and breeder, one-time owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, as well as a noted philanthropist.
Diane Stratas was born in Saskatoon and was the first Greek-Canadian woman elected as a Member of Parliament to the House of Commons.
Teresa Stratas sung major soprano roles in leading productions by the greatest opera companies at the most renowned opera houses in the world over a thirty-year career.
Gabriel Tsampalieros was s a great benefactor of the Church in Canada. A distinguished businessman and entrepreneur, he served in many executive positions including as CEO of Dinecorp Hospitality, which he co-founded in 1981.
Nick Tsatas came to Canada from Greece as an orphan and became a great entrepreneur and philanthropist.