The Greek Canadian History Project (GCHP) is an initiative designed and committed to identifying, acquiring, digitizing, preserving, and providing access to primary source materials that reflect the experiences of Canada’s Greek immigrants and their descendants. The collected sources, currently in the hands of private individuals and organizations in the Greek-Canadian community, will be placed in the care of the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections of York University Libraries. The Project’s stewards are Dr. Athanasios (Sakis) Gekas, HHF Chair in Modern Greek History at York University, and Christopher Grafos, Ph.D. in History, York University.
The GCHP plans to be a continued repository for information, accessible for current and future research in broad thematic fields such as social, cultural, and economic practices of Greeks in Canada. We invite individuals to contribute collections of papers, diaries, photographs, books, pamphlets, audio, video, and other materials that will be valuable for research of the Greek Canadian past. Our goal is to promote the value of personal collections, which are often perceived to have little value beyond the life of an individual. The project will serve to accentuate the value of ‘ordinary’ Greek-Canadians and the importance of preserving their memory.
The project also seeks to establish partnerships with Greek-Canadian community organizations and individuals who wish to contribute materials to the project. Objects like yearbooks, meeting minutes, mission statements as well as privately-held collections of community leaders will help to preserve the institutional and associational history of Greeks in Canada.
While this project seeks to preserve the primary source documentation of the community, it is also intended to provide online access to a selection of records for use by researchers, scholars, teachers, students and the general community interested in learning more about the Greek experience in Canada. This open and accessible online portal will promote free dissemination of knowledge and scholarship while preserving the original sources in the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, which will ensure the integrity of the record, long-term access to material, and a central location for scholarly research. The privacy of third parties will be respected in this forum. With donations, some materials will be restricted for a period of time as required by donor request or provincial or federal legislation. In short, the Greek Canadian History Project’s goal is to create an infrastructure for the recovery, acquisition, preservation, and accessibility of vital primary source material that documents the experience of Greeks in the Canadian mosaic.
We hope that the Greek Canadian History Project will become fundamental in illuminating the history and events that have shaped the experiences of Greek immigrants in Canada and their descendants.