A man from Ottawa describes moments of entertainment in Montreal and feels the city as a city of Greek entertainment.
D.Μ.: When we came here in Canada, after the… when they started paying
me at the restaurants, I say to him “Brother we should go to Montreal”. “And do what?”.
“Night life…”, I tell him, “Mpouzoukia, poolrooms, cinemas”. And my father brought us
here to save the money, let’s say, you understand? Whenever we got paid fsst to the bus -
we didn’t speak a word of English- we were taking the bus, eh… early, we were disembarking
at… at Montreal, we exit the bus station, now… “How are we going to go there where the Greeks
are?”. I see someone on the other side, he was waiting at the station, I say he looks like a
Greek. We weren’t talking. I say “I’ll go ask him”. “No man”, he tells me “He’s not Greek”.
I go, I say “Apologies”, I tell him “Greek?”. “Greek”. “Apologies friend” I tell him “which
bus should I take to go to… where the Greeks are?”. He tells me “It’s called Park Avenue,
Greek Avenue”. “Yes, which bus?”. “The 187”. He says “Wait I’ll take you there myself”.
“No”, I tell him “Where are you going?”. “I’m going to my job”. “No, go to your job”. “No,
no. It’s in Montreal”. Anyways, the man left the other station to come and take us there,
let’s say, I tell him “Will you get down so I can treat you with an ouzo, anything?”. “No,
I got to go to work. Thanks a lot”. Now that we knew the bus route, every two weeks we were
in Montreal, let’s say.
RES.: Was Montreal known for Greek entertainment?
D.Μ.: Ah, Montreal is… I like it! Greek entertainment. Cinemas, poolrooms,
billiards. Yes, yes. RES.: And you were going every two weeks?
D.Μ.: Every two weeks that we were paid. Look, we were getting… back then
we were making eighty dollars, we were leaving the sixty to my father to assist him, twenty myself,
twenty himself we were going to Montreal. Back then you were alright with twenty dollars.
RES.: And do you remember which joints were you going to?
D.Μ.: We were going to ‘Meraklis’ and we were eating souvlakia and stuff.
In Rialto there was a cinema with Greek and we also had a friend who came with us on the ship -he
was in Montreal- George Diamantakos is his name and he was working at the airport. He spoke English
when we came with the ship and I tell him “Hey man…” and I tell him “Do you speak English?”. “A little, a little”.
I tell him “Man, that chick” I tell him “She’s looking at me”. I tell him “She wants to dance” I tell him. In the
disco. The ship has a bar as well. I tell him “Her father is wearing a navy hat”. “Ok” he tells me “I’ll take
care of it”. He goes… I wasn’t far now, I could hear him. He tells her “Is your father the captain?”. [Laughs].
“Ah”, I say, “Like that… that stuff I know as well”. “No” she tells him. “No, no, no”, the girl tells him. He
says “My friend wants to dance”. “Yes”, she says “Alright”. This guy, anyways, we used to meet -he was making
good money, he was working at the airport as a waiter- mpouzoukia also and… and we didn’t have a hotel. We were
staying at his sister’s. She had an apartment there.
RES.: And which mpouzoukia did you frequent?
D.Μ.: Mpouzoukia we were going to ‘Fantasia’… How can I remember? Now you’re talking about forty-five years ago.
Many years. Yes, at the mpouzoukia with this guy, he knew the tricks as well.
RES.: In Ottawa then…
D.Μ.: Afterwards we learned, we were going… Myself whatever chick I was
finding here, since she lived with her parents, in order to draw her away from the parents, we’ll
go shopping in Montreal. “Do you know…” she says “The boutiques?”. “Everything, everything, everything,
downtown”. Yes, I truly knew them. I’ve been all around Montreal on foot. I know all the streets and I was
taking them to Montreal so as to avoid any eyes here, you know. I was careful. Yes, yes. Montreal is my love.
RES.: And over here in Ottawa then there weren’t any mpouzoukia? There was no…?
D.Μ.: There weren’t any back then. Afterwards there opened though. After… after two-three
years there opened mpouzoukia and crazy stuff. They were throwing their money away. A lot of money. We were trying
to surpass one another. Who’s going to throw away more money at the mpouzoukia, let’s say. Stupid stuff, anyway.
RES.: And what were the mpouzoukia here in Ottawa called?
D.Μ.: It was called ‘Parthenon’ and then… there was also another
one called… French… it was called ‘Greek gardens’. Wait… ‘Greek gardens’… ‘Garden Grecque’…
something like that. Yes, here in downtown. We had a couple of mpouzoukia. Now we’ve got nothing.