MONTREAL – A few days before the start of August, the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal confirmed the information that had been circulating in recent days about the imminent cancellation of the annual festival in the area in front of the Evangelismos Tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church in Montreal’s Parc-Extension.
The Greek Flame festival was to be held this year for three days, gathering thousands of Greeks from all parts of Montreal, with traditional dances and songs and the participation of dance groups and folk orchestras.
However, the Canadian city police authorities, following the new directives of drastic restrictions on permits for open-air events and tightening security measures, did not give permission for the Evangelismos Church’s festival. However, the Hellenic Community managed at least to secure a permit for this year’s procession with the icon of the Virgin Mary.
The President of the Hellenic Community, Nicholas T. Pagonis, who is currently in Greece was informed about the development.
In its announcement, the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal states, that “the Flamme Hellenique Festival of the Evangelismos Church is suspended for security reasons. Following the latest events in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Montreal police issued a security circular, tightening security measures for open-air events. Unlike the South Coast and Laval festivals, the Greek festival takes place in a public space, on St. Roch Street and its surrounding streets, which makes it impossible to comply with the new security rules. As is readily understood, the changes found us unprepared and the amount of time available to adapt and secure the necessary permits was unfortunately extremely limited.”
In the same announcement, the Hellenic Community states that “we are sorry for this negative development that comes as a result of the sign of our times. The Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal council will work with perseverance and dedication to find a solution for next year’s festival and return to normalcy. We also wish to inform everyone that the procession of the icon of the Virgin Mary will be done properly, as the necessary police clearance was secured.”