FTLComm - Tisdale - March 27, 2001


When people leave their homeland and set of to make a new place for themselves there seems a tendency for some people to move toward urban locations while others prefer the small town or rural areas. Saskatchewan has few Irish settlers because they tended to like to live in urban centres and when the Irish came to Canada there were no urban centres in Saskatchewan.




But the Greeks made their way to Canada mostly after World War II and by then Saskatchewan had two modest cities and a very small number of people had a major impact on both places. It is hard for me to point to how it all got started by somewhere right after the war a few people from Greece came to Regina. One thing lead to another and Regina's hotel and restaurant industry was for some time dominated by this one ethnic group.




One remarkable story that might help explain this development revolves around the Plains Hotel at the corner of Victoria and Albert. The man who first started that establishment was a Greek who hired a Regina lawyer. His health failed and the man died leaving behind a will which left the property to that lawyer. The will is one of the most important cases in the world of "willdom" as it is studied today in law school because of its careful construction. Though relatives of the man made several attempts to reclaim the property they never succeeded in changing the will.




On Hamilton Street two hotels seemed to be the route for Greeks to come to Canada. The Drake at the corner of Eleventh and further South the Georgia were owned by brothers. Through the fifties and sixties they recruited their help from villages in Greece. These hard working people established themselves in Regina and soon many had left the hotel and were starting restaurants around the city of their own.




By the seventies this small enclave of people were a political and economic factor in Regina. One day working in a civic election I was driving people to vote and the two Matrons seated in the back of my car were telling me about their sons, each managers of prominent Regina hotels.




Somehow the entrepreneurial spirit and the right circumstances brought people from Greece to Regina Canada where they became part of the city and their children and grandchildren are a healthy part of the make up of the community
  By Timothy W. Shire