Greece was hit so hard by the global financial crisis four years ago that many Greeks ended up emigrating — some even chose to leave behind temperate areas of the Mediterranean to settle in Winnipeg.
Enter: Lia and Stefano Boukis, musicians performing at Folklorama’s 2014 Greek pavilion.
Last September the couple traded their villa by the water for a home in the heart of Winnipeg's West End.
“I need peace in my life,” said Stefano Boukis. “So, that was the reason.”
Economic unrest made it next to impossible to pay the bills, Boukis said. He worked for three symphony orchestras in Greece, but as the cost of living skyrocketed, so did the Grecian governments take of his income.
Since moving to Manitoba Boukis started a music conservatory and just two months ago he and his wife bought their first house.
So far, life in Manitoba for Lia and Stefano Boukis is turning out better than they had dreamed. They are performing at the Greek pavilion Thursday and Friday night.
Local Greek community growing
Winnipeg's Greek community has swelled since the global financial crisis and locals hope those numbers continue to rise.
The local Greek community has been working with the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) to attract more people to move here since 2011.
In this past year alone the MPNP has helped to bring 50 families to the province.
Anna and Asimenia Protsiou are among the recent arrivals.
The Protsious have only been in the city for three weeks, but so far they love Winnipeg.
“Canada is more organized,” said Anna Protisou. “Polite people and everything is easier than there.”
And unlike many Manitobans, Protisou is counting down the days to winter.
“I'm waiting for the snow to come.”