Hundreds of rare photographs and documents relating to the Greek immigrant experience in Canada have been collected by a small group of researchers at the University of York in Toronto.
The Greek-Canadian History Project (GCHP), led by Dr. Sakis Gekas and Christopher Grafos, is an initiative designed to identify, acquire, digitize, preserve, and provide access to these documents. These invaluable primary source materials reflect the experiences of Canada’s Greek immigrants and their descendants.
The priceless historical records are now housed at York University’s Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections. After being processed, they will be available for students and researchers to use and enjoy.
The GCHP aims to be a repository for all such related documents, which will be accessible for current and future research into the social, cultural and economic practices of Greeks in Canada.
“There is much to be learned from studying our past. Our history can teach us a great deal about where we come from, about the people — whether known or not — who blazed our trail,” the report states.
Information can be gleaned about the “social, cultural and political factors that have come to represent us,” the GHCP noted.
“Most importantly, these learnings can lead to a broader and richer understanding of our world today, and serve as a roadmap for how we should approach the challenges and opportunities ahead,” the statement concludes.
Over the course of 2018, the GCHP also collaborated in two significant public history events. The Project took part in the Museum of Toronto’s “Intersections Festival”, a month-long series of exhibits meant to bring Toronto’s art and history to the city’s population in fresh and interesting ways.
The GCHP’s exhibit “Gateway to Greektown: A Historical Walking Tour of the Danforth” examined Greek immigrant life and the history of Greektown in previously unexplored ways.
With a series of photographs from the collection at York University, the walking tour highlighted various political, spiritual, and cultural elements of Greek life on the Danforth from the 1960s through the 1990s.
The GCHP also took part in the 100th-anniversary commemoration of the violent 1918 Anti-Greek Riots in Toronto.