Greek

Greek

Subtitle
The Greek Community

Toronto’s “Little Athens” sprang up in the sixties, bringing the tastes and sounds of the Mediterranean through shish kebab houses, tavernas, kafenions, and bouzouki music. Although many Greeks moved out of Toronto to suburbs in Etobicoke, York, North York, Mississauga, and Scarborough, the Greek business district has flourished for the last three decades. Today, along the Danforth strip between Chester and Jones Avenues, restaurants serve traditional Greek food and mezes to a new clientele.
Toronto’s Greek community numbers around 130,000, a striking contrast to the 20 Greek names that appeared in the 1907 Might’s Directory. Many of the first Greek immigrants in Canada were young men, most of them refugees, who came in the 1890s to work in agriculture or in Northern Ontario’s mines, forests, and railways. The exception to these working-class settlers was Dr. Petros Constantinides, an eminent scholar and surgeon who arrived in Toronto in 1864. Today, the community is proud of its more than 15,000 professionals.


In 1909, members of the community established the St. George Greek Orthodox congregation and a year later opened a church in a former warehouse on Jarvis Street. One of the earliest organizations was the Ladies Philoptochos (Friends to the Poor) Benevolent Society which set up a school in the church building and provided social services for newcomers.


During the next decade, the Greek presence became more evident as businessmen opened restaurants, fruit stores, ice-cream parlours, shoe-shine shops, and billiard halls along Yonge, College, and Queen Streets. The Greek Community of Toronto was founded in 1911. Greeks were often victims of discrimination during the early years of the 20th century. This discrimination peaked in August of 1918 when veterans of the First World War, frustratrated with Greece’s late entry into the conflict, led a riot which resulted in the destruction of many Greek businesses.


In the early 1930s, the first cultural organizations and regional clubs were established to preserve Greek language and traditions. One of the first was the Helleno-Macedonian Brotherhood of Ion Dragoumis, which was established in 1936. Youth groups and the Greek Orthodox parish schools became instrumental in teaching the language and heritage of the Hellenes to the children of early immigrants. Large communal efforts during the Second World War and beyond included the Greek War Relief Fund, set up to assist the homeland.


Following the Second World War, another wave of Greek settlers, most from Northern Greece—Epirus, Macedonia, and Thrace—came to Canada, many to Toronto. In the 1950s, the Greek community moved into the Danforth area—originally a neighbourhood for the Anglo-Saxon proletariat and later an Italian enclave.
Today, numerous restaurants and businesses, Greek street signs, and the classical architecture of the National Bank of Greece and other buildings bearing the names of Hellenic associations such as the Pan-Arcadian Federation, the Pan-Macedonian Association, the Pontion Brotherhood, the political party offices of the PASOK and the Democracy signify the neighbourhood’s most prevalent and flourishing culture.


Prominent Greek Torontonians have included the internationally-renowned soprano Teresa Stratas, who began her career singing for nickels at her father’s Cabbagetown restaurant. Andreas Papandreou, the late Prime Minister of Greece, and many other Cabinet Ministers have been members of Toronto’s Greek community.

Financial Institutions
BANK OF CYPRUS, REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE (permanently closed)
Address
658 Danforth Ave., Suite 302
Phone
416-461-5570

  BANK OF CYPRUS, REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE, (Tel. 416-461-5570, 658 Danforth Ave., Suite 302). Contact: Dimitri Maras.

POPULAR BANK OF CYPRUS, REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE (permanently closed)
Address
484 Danforth Ave
Phone
416-466-8180

  POPULAR BANK OF CYPRUS, REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE, (Tel. 416-466-8180, 484 Danforth Ave).

THE NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE
Address
629 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1R2
Phone
(416) 461-0271
Web Site
https://www.nbc.ca

  THE NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE, (Tel. 416-461-7541, 661 Danforth Ave, and Tel. 416-751-6500, 2290 Lawrence Ave. E).

METAMORPHOSIS Greek Orthodox School
Address
30 Scarsdale Rd, North York, ON M3B 2R7
Phone
(416) 463-7222

  GREEK ORTHODOX EDUCATION, (Tel. 416-463-7222, 30 Scarsdale Rd).

Holidays and Celebrations
NEW YEAR’S
Day
1
Month
January

  NEW YEAR’S. The Greek Orthodox ring in the new year on January 1 with St. Basil’s Day. At family celebrations, good luck is in store for the recipient of a gold coin found in the vasilopeta (New Year’s bread).

INDEPENDENCE PARADE
Day
25
Month
March

  INDEPENDENCE PARADE. On the Sunday nearest March 25, children in national costumes, marching bands, and horsemen participate in a huge parade down Danforth Avenue. Store owners raise the Greek flag, and spectators wave blue and white banners. The parade commemorates Greece’s independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821 and coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. Both occasions are marked by church services, parades, speeches, and cultural programs.

EASTER

  EASTER. Some of Toronto’s residents may have witnessed an Easter candlelight procession at midnight around one of the many Greek Orthodox churches. Easter is the most important religious festival for the Greek Orthodox Church. After the midnight service, traditional Greek dishes and wine (retsina) are served with Easter eggs dyed red to symbolize love, the blood of Christ, and the renewal of life. Traditional food includes unleavened bread, mageritsa (a soup made of entrails of baby lamb seasoned with spring onions and egg lemon sauce), and baby lamb roasted on a spit. After dinner everyone samples the tsoureki (a sweet bread ring decorated with a red Easter egg).

THE FEAST DAY OF THE HOLY CROSS
Day
14
Month
September

  THE FEAST DAY OF THE HOLY CROSS. September 14, sees the Greek Orthodox community commemorate the finding of the Holy Cross by the Byzantine Empress St. Helena.

OCHI DAY

  OCHI DAY. Greeks wear national costumes in another parade down the Danforth on Ochi Day (Memorial Day), which honours those who lost their lives during the Second World War.

Media
AVRAMIS GREEK TV SHOW
Address
28 St. Clements Avenue Toronto, Ontario Canada M4R 1G9
Phone
(416) 481-2941

  AVRAMIS GREEK TV SHOW, (Tel. 416-481-2941, 28 St. Clements Ave). Rogers Community Channel 10, Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

CHIR FM
Address
265 Port Union Road, PO BOX 15559, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M1C 4Z7
Phone
416-467-4677
Web Site
www.chir.com

  CHIR FM, (Tel. 416-467-4677, www.chir.com, 301 Donlands Ave., 2nd Floor). Broadcasting online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Director: Mike Agathos.

CIRV RADIO INTERNATIONAL
Address
1087 Dundas St W., Toronto, Ontario, M6J TW6 Canada
Phone
416-537-2463

  CIRV RADIO INTERNATIONAL, 88.9 FM, (Tel. 416-537-1088, 1087 Dundas St. W). Monday to Friday, 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday, 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Producer: Paul Marques.

EDO KAI TORA
Address
545 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON M5V 1A3
Phone
416-260-0047

  EDO KAI TORA, OMNI TV, (Tel. 416-260-0047, 545 Lakeshore Blvd. W). Sunday, 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Producer: Stan Papulkas.

EVODOMADA (cannot locate)
Address
Fax 416-461-0774, 1009 Pape Ave
Phone
416-461-3519

  EVODOMADA (THE GREEK-CANADIAN WEEKLY NEWSPAPER), (Tel. 416-461-3519, Fax 416-461-0774, 1009 Pape Ave). Publisher: Bill Sklavos.

GREEK CANADIAN RADIO
Address
437 Av Danforth Toronto, ON M4K 1P1 3rd floor
Phone
(416) 465-1112

  GREEK CANADIAN RADIO, CHCR 92.7 Cable FM, (Tel. 416-465-1112, 437 Danforth Ave., 3rd floor). Seven days a week, 24 hours, with eight newscasts. President and Producer: Peter Maniatakos.

GREEK PRESS
Address
758 Pape Ave. Toronto, Ontario M4K 3S7
Phone
(416) 465-3243

  GREEK PRESS (bi-weekly), (Tel. 416-465-3243, Fax 416-462-3623, 6 Chester Ave). Publisher: Kostas Kranias.

GREEK PRESS PUBLISHERS AND TRANSLATORS
Address
Fax 416-778-0811
Phone
416-778-7607

  GREEK PRESS PUBLISHERS AND TRANSLATORS, (Tel. 416-778-7607, Fax 416-778-0811).

HELLENIC CANADIAN CHRONICLES
Address
437 Av Danforth Toronto, ON M4K 1P1
Phone
(416) 465-4628

  HELLENIC CANADIAN CHRONICLES (XPONIKA), (Tel. 416-465-4628, 437 Danforth Ave., 3rd floor). A weekly newspaper. Publisher: Peter Maniatakos.

LAMPSIS
Address
545 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON M5V 1A3
Phone
416-260-0047

  LAMPSIS, OMNI TV, (Tel. 416-260-0047, 545 Lakeshore Blvd. W). Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

MUSIKH PARE LASE (cannot locate)
Address
270 Donlands Ave
Phone
416-461-4244

  MUSIKH PARE LASE, CHEX TV, (Tel. 416-461-4244, 270 Donlands Ave). Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Contact: Kostas Mike Agathos.

ONTARIO’S GREEK TELEPHONE DIRECTORY
Address
946 Lawrence Ave. E Unit 2 P.O Box 47691 Toronto, Ontario, M3C 3S7, Canada
Phone
416-445-0111

  ONTARIO’S GREEK TELEPHONE DIRECTORY & ALMANAC, (Tel. 416-445-0111, 939 Lawrence Ave. E., P.O. Box 47529, Don Mills).

ODYSSEY TV
Address
437 Danforth Avenue - Suite 300 Toronto, Ontario M4K 1P1
Phone
416.462.1200

  ODYSSEY TV, (Tel. 416-462-1200, 437 Danforth Ave., Suite 300). Contact: Peter Maniatakos.

PATRIDES: A CANADIAN REVIEW IN GREEK-ENGLISH
Address
141 Isabella St, Toronto, ON M4Y 1P3
Phone
416-921-4229

  PATRIDES: A CANADIAN REVIEW IN GREEK-ENGLISH, (Tel. 416-921-4229, P.O. Box 266, Station O). Publisher: Thomas Saras.

THE GREEK JOURNAL
Address
834 Av Danforth Toronto, ON M4J 1L6
Phone
(416) 406-2949

  THE GREEK JOURNAL, (Tel. 416-406-2949, 45 Overlea Blvd., P.O. Box 22064). Contact: Nikos Terzis.

Organizations
CANADIAN HELLENIC CONGRESS
Phone
(438) 979-1599
Web Site
www.chcongress.ca

  CANADIAN HELLENIC CONGRESS, (Tel. (866) 355-4637, www.helleniccongress.com, 1550 Don Mills Rd, Suite 705). President: Crist Geronikolos.

Greek Canadian Senior Citizen
Address
864 Pape Ave, East York, Ontario M4K 3T8
Phone
(416) 465-2020

  HELLENIC CANADIAN CONGRESS, (Tel. 416-463-9714, Toronto Office: 846 Pape Ave., 2nd floor), is a nation-wide organization representing Greek communities and Greek organizations across Canada. President: Jim Sidiropoulos.

HELLENIC HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Address
180 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8
Phone
(416) 447-7107
Web Site
www.hhf.ca

  HELLENIC HERITAGE FOUNDATION, (Tel. 416-447-7107, www.hhf.ca, 18 Wynford Dr., Suite 503). President: John Dagonas.

Pan-Macedonian Federation Of Ontario Inc
Address
406 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1P3
Phone
(416) 466-1951

  PAN-MACEDONIAN ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO, (Tel. 416-466-1951; Fax 416-466-7335, 406 Danforth Ave). Founded in 1960, it represents some 60 associations from Macedonia, Greece. President: James G. Karas.

THE GREEK COMMUNITY OF TORONTO
Address
30 Thorncliffe Park Dr, East York, ON M4H 1H8
Phone
(416) 425-2485
Web Site
https://www.greekcommunity.org/

  THE GREEK COMMUNITY OF TORONTO, (Tel. 416-425-2485, 30 Thorncliffe Park Dr). Established in 1911, as an umbrella organization for three of the city’s 12 Greek churches. The Hellenic Cultural Centre houses the organization’s central offices along with a Greek history and language school, dance, theatre, and music departments. The centre maintains a museum with books, copies of classic sculptures, and the remnants of an authentic Mycaenean-era mosaic. President: Kostas Menegakis.

All Saints Church-Community Centre
Address
315 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5A 2A2
Phone
(416) 368-7768
Web Site
http://allsaintstoronto.com/

  ALL SAINTS CULTURAL CENTRE, (Tel. 416-221-4611, 3125 Bayview Ave).

ALEXANDER THE GREAT YOUTH CENTRE AND ATHLETIC COMPLEX
Address
1385 Warden Avenue, Scarborough
Phone
416-755-8867

  ALEXANDER THE GREAT YOUTH CENTRE AND ATHLETIC COMPLEX, (Tel. 416-755-8867, 1385 Warden Ave). All three centres have choirs, dance groups, and soccer teams.

There are many Greek regional clubs which organize their own social and cultural events:

PANARCADIAN FEDERATION OF CANADA
Address
450 Danforth Av, Toronto, ON M4K 1P4
Phone
(416) 778-9471
Web Site
http://www.panarcadian.ca/en/

  PANARCADIAN FEDERATION OF CANADA, (Tel. 416-778-9471, 450 Danforth Ave).

Cretans’ Association of Toronto - Knossos
Address
1110 Birchmount Rd #23, Scarborough, ON M1K 5G7
Phone
(416) 922-7383

  CRETANS ASSOCIATION OF TORONTO KNOSSOS, (Tel. 416-463-3965, 131 Coxwell Ave).

CYPRIOT COMMUNITY OF TORONTO
Address
6 THORNCLIFFE DR PK, East York, ON M4H 1B8
Phone
(416) 696-7400

  CYPRIOT COMMUNITY OF TORONTO, (Tel. 416-696-7400, Fax 416-696-9465, 6 Thorncliffe Park Dr). President: Sotirios Nicolaou.

FOLK DANCING GROUP OF THE GREEK COMMUNITY
Address
6 THORNCLIFFE DR PK, East York, ON M4H 1B8
Phone
(416) 696-7400

  FOLK DANCING GROUP OF THE GREEK COMMUNITY, (Tel. 416-696-4700, 6 Thorncliffe Park Dr).

GREEK CANADIAN SENIOR CITIZEN CLUB
Address
864 Pape Ave, East York, ON M4K 3T8
Phone
(416) 465-2020

  GREEK CANADIAN SENIOR CITIZEN CLUB, (Tel. 416-465-2020, 864 Pape Ave).

Greek Community of Metro
Address
66 Gough Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 3N8
Phone
(416) 465-8213

  GREEK COMMUNITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO INC. SOCIAL SERVICE CENTRE, (Tel. 416-469-1155, 760 Pape Ave). Provides family and individual counselling, information, and orientation, and holds weekly women’s group meetings.

GREEK COMMUNITY YOUTH CENTRE
Address
1385 Warden Ave
Phone
416-755-8867

  GREEK COMMUNITY YOUTH CENTRE (ALEXANDER THE GREAT), (Tel. 416-755-8867, 1385 Warden Ave). President: Costas Varlkosta.

ORPHEUS CHOIR OF TORONTO
Address
651 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6K 2B2
Phone
(416) 530-4428

  GREEK MUSICIANS ASSOCIATION/ORPHEUS CHOIR OF TORONTO, (Tel. 416-530-4428, 651 Dufferin St). Performs programs of original Greek music. The choir of Orpheus participated in the opening of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

METAMORPHOSIS Greek Orthodox School
Address
30 Scarsdale Rd, North York, ON M3B 2R7
Phone
(416) 463-7222

  GREEK ORTHODOX EDUCATION, (Tel. 416-463-7222, 40 Donlands Ave).

GREEK ORTHODOX FAMILY SERVICES AND COUNSELLING
Address
40 Donlands Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 3N6
Phone
(416) 462-1740

  GREEK ORTHODOX FAMILY SERVICES AND COUNSELLING, (Tel. 416-462-1740, 40 Donlands Ave). Counselling and referral agency specializing in legal, financial, housing, medical, employment, and education issues. Also offers interpreter services and arranges short-term accommodation.

Hellen Benefit Assoc
Address
1774 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6N 1J3
Phone
(416) 656-1794

  HELLENIC BENEFIT ASSOCIATION ANTARIKON, (Tel. 416-656-1794, 1774 St. Clair Ave. W).

HELLENIC CANADIAN BOARD OF TRADE (permanently closed)
Address
P.O. Box 801, 31 Adelaide St. E
Phone
416-410-4228

  HELLENIC CANADIAN BOARD OF TRADE, (Tel. 416-410-4228, P.O. Box 801, 31 Adelaide St. E). President: Aristotle Christou.

HELLENIC CANADIAN FEDERATION OF ONTARIO CHARITABLE
Address
1127-B Broadview Avenue, Toronto ON, M4K2S6
Phone
(416) 467-1293
Web Site
http://hcfo.ca/

  HELLENIC CANADIAN FEDERATION OF ONTARIO CHARITABLE & EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION, (Tel. 416-463-9714, 846 Pape Ave., 2nd floor).

Languages