Look closely. The graffiti on that wall hadn’t been exposed to passersby for more than five decades, at least.
It says “ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ ΣΤΗ ΧΟΥΝΤΑ” or DEATH TO THE DICTATORSHIP (or junta) and was probably spray-painted on the building on Parc Avenue in the thriving Greek neighborhood of Parc Ex, which at the time was a hotbed of resistance to the military rulers who took over Greece in 1967.
The dictatorship took power in Greece in 1967 and provoked intense opposition and protest among the Greek community in Canada, most notably in Montreal and Toronto where the populations of Greeks were most significant.
Various organizations were created to organize protests and lobby the Canadian government to break off diplomatic ties with Greece’s military rulers and impose economic sanctions.
The issue of the restoration of Greek democracy was raised in the Canadian parliament numerous times but never really got official traction in Canada’s national government.
And the community itself didn’t wholeheartedly embrace the anti-dictatorship movement, despite the dictatorship’s brutal stranglehold on Greek society and open contempt for democratic values. Numerous writers from the time called the Greek Orthodox church in Canada openly sympathetic to the regime in Greece.
Peter Chimbos who wrote The Canadian Odyssey, the Greek Experience in Canada said the church was sympathetic to Greece’s military government because the junta justified its overthrow of the democratically elected government in the name of a “new Greece of the Greek and Christian civilization.”
The photo was snapped by Billy Mavreas, a passerby and reader of The Pappas Post who shared it with us. Billy said he walked by the building on Parc Avenue that was under renovations and noticed faintly written Greek letters on the newly-exposed brick wall. Under closer inspection, he was able to make out the words.
The timing wasn’t coincidental as the building hadn’t undergone renovations since the 1970s. The military dictatorship in Greece fell after a student uprising in 1974.