WINNIPEG, CANADA – When Dino Chouzouris first immigrated to Winnipeg with his family from Greece in the 1970s, the pressure to assimilate into a predominantly white, English-speaking community did not go unnoticed, Canstar Community News - The Sou’wester reported.
One of the first groups with which his family connected when they arrived in 1974 was the Greek Community of Winnipeg and St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, which helped his family acclimatize to life in Winnipeg — a purpose the community still serves today.
Founded in 1917, Winnipeg’s Greek Community, Chouzouris said, was a place for his family to practice their religion, connect with other Greek expatriates in the city, and embrace their culture.
After 100 years, assimilation and fears about how closely the children will follow Greek traditions have faded. The Greek community that once tried to Anglicize names in their adopted country now embraces the Hellenic heritage, culture, and traditions firmly. Chouzouris said, The Sou’wester reported, “Now you baptize your child and call him Costa… you don’t anglicize it at all. And it’s a good thing – it’s something to be very proud of. It gives you a sense of identity.”
Nancy Vardalos Ginakes is part of the committee organizing the community’s centennial event on March 25 at the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre. “Join us as we celebrate the past and present history of our community,” the community’s Facebook page announces.
“As Greeks we love to dance and have a great time. The band Parea, coming all the way from Toronto, will perform live for your entertainment with kefi and enthusiasm. Our Kefi dancers will dance to entertain and put you in the mood for an original Greek Party! Put on your dancing shoes and be prepared to dance the night away!” the page states.