Danforth parade marks Greek Independence

Angela Boulougouris left Greece 50 years ago, but the Greek Independence parade on the Danforth still fills her with pride.

“Greece was under Turkish rule for 400 years and we got our freedom (on March 25, 1821) and we are so proud,” Boulougouris said “They took our homes, our businesses, everything. Just imagine you have no freedom, no language for 400 years, but we were strong and got our independence.”

Yesterday, the sun was shinning and hundreds of people gathered along Danforth Avenue between Jones and Broadview in Toronto to celebrate Greek Independence Day

The day started with people walking along Danforth and stopping to talk to each other offering food to one another before the parade started. For Helen Danakais attending the parade helps to pass on the pride to the younger generations.

“I’ve been attending the parade for at least 10 years,” Danakais said. “Greek Independence is our history, our heritage for the children to build their pride to see … where they come from and to be proud of being Greek Canadians.”

Angela Boulougouris has watched the Danforth Avenue Greek Independence parade for 45 years. (GREEK_PARADE1_E)

For Greeks, Independence Day is not a day for working. Boulougouris is retired now, but goes back every year for three to six months to visit family. She talked about the parade activities in Greece.

“Everything is closed on the 25th… and everybody comes to this big parade, the army too,” Boulougouris said. “Now … because of the money problems, it’s not as big as before, but it’s the most important day for us.”

As the parade moved along Danforth, restaurants set out stands on the streets and sold souvlaki sticks. A parade watcher, Chris Filoboulos explained the importance of food.

“You can’t enjoy a parade with an empty stomach; so you must eat” Filoboulos said.