Statement – Minister Kenney issues statement recognizing Greek Independence Day

This Sunday, Greeks around the world will celebrate Greek Independence Day. After four centuries of occupation by the Ottoman Empire, Greeks rose up on this day in 1821 and began the triumphant War of Independence.

This day also coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, one of the holiest days for Greek Orthodox Christians. In Canada, streets will be filled with parades and festivities to commemorate both celebrations.

In 1592, Yannis Phokas is the first Greek believed to have visited Canada when he explored the coast of British Columbia as a navigator for the Spanish navy. By 1900, it is estimated that 290 Greeks had immigrated to Canada. Today, there are nearly a quarter of a million Canadians of Greek origin.

For all Canadians, Greek Independence Day provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the tremendous contributions that the Greek community has made to our country’s rich and diverse heritage. Canadians with Greek heritage have made significant contributions to all areas of Canadian life, including business, law, public service, the arts, sports and academia.

As Canadians, we must also not forget that our country’s fundamental values have their roots in ancient Greece, the birthplace of democracy.

As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I wish all Canadians celebrating this weekend a very happy Greek Independence Day.

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