Several communities in Greater Victoria as well as beyond will mark the 200th anniversary of Greek independence on March 25.
The municipalities of Victoria, Langford, Esquimalt and Colwood will mark the occasion with a proclamation. Saanich, Ladysmith, Nanaimo and Campbell River will also mark the occasion by raising the Greek flag outside their municipal building. The provincial legislature will also raise the Greek flag.
“It’s a significant anniversary for us and we want to tell all British Columbians about it,” said Yiannis Lapidakis, board member of the Victoria and Vancouver Island Greek Community Society. “So, if you see our billboards, or hear our radio ads you will know why the Greek flag is being raised in some of our public building throughout the Island and the rest of the province.”
March 25, 1821 marked the start of the Greek War of Independence that ultimately concluded in the creation of the Hellenic Republic in 1830, considered to be the starting date of modern-day Greece.
The Ottoman empire centred in modern-day Turkey (which which Greece has waged several wars since independence) had ruled Greece for centuries following the collapse of the Bzyantine Empire. (Greek independence was a cause célèbre among European intellectuals during the 1820s and despite shared NATO membership, tensions continue to define relations between the two neighbours).
The Victoria and Vancouver Island Greek Community Society established itself in 1974 with the mission of preserving Greek culture on Vancouver Island and promoting it to the community-at-large.
This aspect also appears in the tagline for the campaign marking the anniversary, which reads ‘We’re all Greek at Heart.’
“The definition of Western society came from the Greeks,” Lapidakis said in a release. “This anniversary is a chance to celebrate the similarities we all share. We’ve contributed so much to humanity and history, and we want people to know that we’re still around but in a different way.”
According to Statistics Canada, the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) is home to 1,990 individuals, who identified their ethnic origin as Greek. For the British Columbia, this figure is 24,460, for Canada, the figure is 271,410 with sizable pockets in Toronto and Montreal.
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