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October 28, 2017 – Oxi Day

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to members of the Canadian Greek community on the occasion of Oxi Day.

On October 28, 1940, at dawn, the Italian ambassador in Greece, Emanuele Grazzi, presented Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas an ultimatum.  Benito Mussolini had demanded that the Axis Forces be allowed to enter Greece and occupy certain unspecified strategic locations otherwise, he would declare war.  The Prime Minister answered with a single phrase, ‘Οχι or No’.

The courageous and valiant efforts of the out-numbered Greek army that fought and defeated the Italian forces in Albania has been honored by Sir Winston Churchill’s remarks ‘Today we say that Greeks fight like heroes, from now on we will say that heroes fight like Greeks’.

This was the beginning of Greece’s involvement in World War II, which ended with the victory of the Allied Forces on May 8, 1945.

In Greece, Oxi Day is marked by military parades and student parades where people pay tribute to those who fought in World War II for freedom and democracy.

Each year, I, together with members of the Canadian Greek community, observe Oxi Day with parades and, in so doing, share our heritage with our fellow Canadians as a way to promote greater understanding between communities.

Toronto is a proud multicultural city that embraces a wide variety of cultures and faiths.  Our city flourishes because of the diversity of people who have chosen to make Toronto their home. As we celebrate Canada 150 this year, it is important to recognize each and every community that plays a part in enhancing Toronto’s social and cultural landscape.

As the Newcomer’s Advocate with the City of Toronto I strongly believe that we must work to together to promote togetherness. We must Respect our newcomer communities. We must Accept our newcomer communities. We should Celebrate our diversity and Embrace our different cultures and traditions, because we are all part of the human RACE.

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