Gallery: Canada Looks Back on 70th Diplomatic Anniversary with Greece

Canada celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations with Greece in a year-long series of events. Check out the gallery to see how we celebrated this anniversary.

The year also saw two visits to Canada as part of the diplomatic anniversary, one by the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos and the other by the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, Evangelos Meimarakis. The Speaker of the Canadian Senate, the Honourable Noel Kinsella, made an official visit to Greece in September 2013.

The Canadian Embassy in Athens partnered with a local promoter to support the first-ever series of performances by Cirque de Soleil’s “Alegria” in Greece, which surpassed all expectations for audience attendance despite the ongoing economic crisis. The Speaker of the Canadian Senate, the Honourable Noel Kinsella, hosted the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr. Evangelos Meimarakis, for a performance during his official visit to Greece.

The Embassy also worked with NGO ELPIDA, which supports the most important paediatric cancer hospital in Greece, to organize a special Cirque de Soleil fundraising performance under the leadership of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Marianna Vardinoyannis.

On the musical front, pianist Marika Bournaki of Montreal performed at the Onassis Cultural Centre in March as part of a tribute to the legendary Glenn Gould.

Jean also announced that the University of Ottawa had funded a series of seminars on the Canadian experience in human resource management in the Public Service. The U of O experts, Dr. James Lahey and Dr. Luc Juillet, ran a workshop at the Ministry of Administrative Reform and e-Governance. Both professors also took part in a town hall meeting at the National School of Public Administration on Canadian experiences on change management in the public service.

As a legacy of this 70th diplomatic anniversary, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has decided to mark the occasion by endowing scholarships for Greek students pursuing studies at four Canadian universities: University of Ottawa, McGill University, Université de Montréal and York University.

With 70 years of diplomatic relations behind us, Canada and Greece can look forward to many more years of solidarity and cultural exchange.

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The 70th anniversary celebrations began with the publication of a brief history entitled, “Moving Forward Together: Canada Greece relations since 1942”, followed by the restoration of a Haida totem pole funded by members of the Greek-Canadian community in Vancouver.

Canada Park is near the street that was named after Mackenzie King.

The year-long anniversary celebrations culminated in the inauguration of Canada Park in the country’s second largest city, Thessaloniki. This lasting symbol of Canada-Greece friendship, funded by McCain Foods Greece, promises to honour the special relationship for years to come.

Jazz great Diana Krall gave a Canada Day concert at the historic Herod Atticus Theatre to a sell-out crowd. Describing the venue as one of her favourites anywhere in the world, Ms. Krall said she planned to return to Greece soon.

Located in the garden of the Official Residence for almost 40 years and in need of a facelift, the totem pole will soon have a home in a new Chancery building in Athens.

Highlighting Canadian Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King’s wartime support for Greece, Ambassador Peck and Thessaloniki’s Mayor Ioannis Boutaris unveiled an Inuit Inukshuk as a symbol of the solidarity that has characterized the relationship between Canada and Greece.

Montreal pianist Alain Lefèvre, a perennial favourite known for his own compositions inspired by his love of Greece, performed at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron Mousikis), with works by André Mathieu and Dmitri Shostakovich.

Deutsche Grammophon star pianist Jan Lisiecki of Calgary also made his Greek début in May at the prestigious Athens Concert Hall and wowed Greek audiences.

Ambassador Peck hosted a dinner at the Official Residence in honour of the legendary Nana Mouskouri, who has performed across Canada for over 50 years. In May Ms. Mouskouri received an honorary degree from McGill University in Montreal and was honoured by Quebec Premier Pauline Marois with the Ordre Nationale du Québec.

Nana Mouskouri, whom Ms. Krall has long admired, was the Embassy’s guest of honour at the Krall concert.

November saw a visit to Athens by the Chancellor of the University of Ottawa and former Governor General of Canada, The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean. Madame Jean was invited to give a keynote address on “Cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and social change” as part of a signature lecture series in Athens.

During her visit, Madame Jean inaugurated a Canadian contemporary art exhibition at the Vorres Museum entitled "The Lure of the Local: Women Artists in the Canadian Land(scape)", a unique exhibition which brought together for the first time in Greece works by women artists from Canada’s North.

The official opening was also an occasion to honour Greek-Canadian Ion Vorres, Founder and President of the Vorres Museum, for his life-long contribution to Canada-Greece cultural relations.