Greeks who migrated to Canada in the 1950’s-60’s still get together to reminisce, meeting every Wednesday afternoon at Rockland Shopping Centre, in the heart of Montreal’s Mount-Royal suburb. The women seat on one side and the men on the other.
The Huffington Post Canada published a piece about their affinity for each other and what keeps them together into old age.
These elderly Greek immigrants, aged between 70 and 90 years, left Greece decades ago in search of a better life and they still remember their past and prefer to talk in Greek, showing they’ve not forgotten from where they came. They also talk about their lives since living Greece.
The men about their youth and the glorious times they spent fishing in Cape Cod or trekking north of the city to shoot deer in the Laurentians. The ladies’ favorite subject is cooking; they exchange recipes and share thoughts and words about their children and grandchildren. Both men and women’s predominant topic is Greece and the news and memories emanating from the homeland.
These people belong to one of the most important Greek communities in the world today. They are those who have built the cultural centers, churches and local associations of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal. They said they remain optimistic despite the ravages of time on their health.
Most want to return to Greece for the summer, despite the fact that the financial crisis has dampened the spirits of their relatives and friends back in homeland. “Regardless, Greece Never Dies!” they shout, remaining hopeful that the economy will snap back at some point and that the good times will return.
Their children speak Greek fluently but their grandchildren don’t. “You see, the younger generation loses the mother tongue no matter how big an effort we make. We speak Greek to them but, once in school, they learn French and English. The third generation is assimilating slowly but surely,” they agreed.