Montreal Public Art Bureau Accepts Request Concerning Pontian Greek Genocide

Αssociated Press

Young children holds flags as they participate in the annual Greek Independence Day Parade in Montreal, Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

MONTREAL – Following a request made by the Greek community of Montreal to include mentioning the Pontian Greek Genocide in artist Francine Larivée’s work La réparation, dedicated to victims of genocides in the twentieth century, currently published on the Public Art Bureau’s website, the Public Art Bureau acceded to the request, according to a letter from Stéphanie Rose, Interim Division Chief of Montreal’s Public Art Bureau, addressed to attorney James Demetrios Smirnios.

Also addressed in the letter were Canadian Hellenic Congress (CHC) President Dr. Theodore Halatsis, George Manios, Executive Vice President and Chair of the CHC Hellenic Genocide Committee, and Chrisostomos Perentes, Archon Aktouarios, President, Ecumenical Patriarchate Archons in Canada, Order of St. Paul the Apostle.

Dr. Halatsis shared the letter with The National Herald, the text of which follows:

RE: May 19: Pontian Greek Genocide Remembrance Day 1915–23 

Dear Mr. Smirnios:

The mayor of Montréal has asked me to respond to your request expressed in the letter you addressed to her dated May 19, 2020. The letter concerned the addition of the mention “genocide of the Pontian Greeks” to the file for artist Francine Larivée’s work La réparation, dedicated to victims of genocides in the twentieth century, currently published on the Public Art Bureau’s website.

We would like you to know that the municipal administration is sensitive to the concerns of Montréal’s Greek community, and it is our pleasure to inform you that the Public Art Bureau will accede to your request. This step falls in line with decisions by the Municipal Council on May 15, 2017 (CM17 0577) and by the borough council of the LaSalle borough on April 3, 2019 (CA17 200161) to recognize “the Pontian Greek genocide in order to honour the memory of the men, women, and children who perished in this tragedy that took place between 1915 and 1923,” and “designating May 19 as a day of commemoration of the Pontian Greek genocide, reminding us of the importance of the duty to remember and asking Montréalers to affirm their solidarity with citizens affected by this genocide and with the Greek community of Montréal.”

The City of Montréal plays an important role in transmission of the collective memory and is establishing a strategy of respectful and timely recognition whose traces bear witness to our experiences. This reflection on commemoration must acknowledge and highlight the contribution of different historical points of view to the formation of Montréal’s identity.

Therefore, the City of Montréal’s Division du patrimoine is currently formulating an intervention framework for recognitions that will become a tool for analysis and management of requests related to various concerns, including those by citizens, inherent to the issues of commemoration, toponymy, acknowledgment, and identification. This framework should be submitted to a committee of experts this fall.

Thank you for your interest in the promotion of Montréal’s artistic and commemorative heritage.


Stéphanie Rose

Interim Division Chief

Équipements culturels et Bureau d'art public