A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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EPISODE 31: "Century Man: The Father Salamis Story"
Directed by Stavros Stavrides

SYNOPSIS

Father Nicholas Salamis was born into poverty on the Greek Island of Samos. He came to Canada at the age of 19, settling in Montréal. Despite becoming established as a bookkeeper, he felt that economic success was not enough. Salamis returned to Athens where he studied to become a Greek Orthodox Priest. In 1938, he was ordained and returned to Canada. After a seven year stint in Toronto, he moved back to Montréal. For the next 45 years, Father Salamis was the parish priest for four generations of Greek Canadians, watching over them as his community developed from new immigrants to important members of the tapestry called Canada.

KEY IDEAS:

  • The importance of community to many immigrant groups.
  • What were the factors leading to the great increase in the number of Greek immigrants to Canada in the 19th century ?
  • What role did the Church play in the Greek community ?
  • Who were the displaced persons ?

KEY TERMS:

  • Greek Orthodox Church
  • Monarchists and Democrats
  • Civil War
  • Displaced Persons
  • Community

OBJECTIVES:

  • To explore the reasons that people emigrate to Canada.
  • To examine how differences in their homeland are forgotten when immigrants arrive in Canada.
  • To explore some of the hardships and sacrifices which were made by the first generation of Greek immigrants.

ACTIVITIES:

  1. One of the things which makes Father Salamis so remarkable is his longevity. Make a link with a local nursing home. Have the students become pen pals with one of the seniors. Try to learn about their life experiences.

  2. Many expressions used today go back to Greek myths and legends, and recur in modern literature. Research a Greek Myth and try to find examples of that legend being used in today's films, literature or comics.

  3. One of the important parts of the Greek culture is food. Visit the library and take out a Greek cook book. Each student bring in one Greek dish. Perhaps take a day such as March 25th , Greek Independence day, to explore their culture.

  4. What would it be like to be a displaced person? Imagine sharing your home with several other families, not speaking the language nor knowing where to start looking for a job. Research some of the agencies in your community which have been set up to help new immigrants. Find out what they are able to provide.

  5. Many of our families came to Canada following World War II. Invite one of the parents to come into the class to tell his family's story about life in their country during the war and what obstacles and hardships they faced in emigrating to and getting established in Canada.