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Hellenic Heritage Foundation Makes Significant Donation to Survivor Community

Helping to preserve history at former Shingwauk Residential School site

(BRAMPTON, ON- February 9, 2023): The Hellenic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and the Kanellopoulos Family have come together to support the development of a monument that embraces an important teaching for all Canadians; The Crying Rock. A donation totalling $100,000 was presented to the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA) to preserve this piece of Shingwauk Residential School history.

Part of the Reclamation of Shingwauk Hall exhibit, the ‘Crying Rock’, is a powerful reminder of the history of the Shingwauk site which currently serves as home to Algoma University’s Sault Ste. Marie campus. The donation presented today will fund the construction of a gazebo, benches, a wildflower and traditional medicine garden as well as a rock garden to give representation to the former students of the residential school. The story, as told by Daisy Kostus (née Diamond), a Survivor of Shingwauk, revolves around the Crying Rock as a place for young homesick students to safely cry/reflect when they missed their families. The older students would recognize this and comfort them. 

During a tour of the Sault Ste. Marie campus, this story resonated deeply with Bill Kanellopoulos.“While on a campus tour, I became aware of the history and teachings of this special place. The Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association are doing an incredible job of keeping each of these stories intact,” he shared. “As a result, I saw a unique opportunity for my family and our Greek community, through the Hellenic Heritage Foundation, to contribute to the preservation of this area’s meaningful history, and I am humbled to be part of that.”

Kanellopoulos, an Honourary Lifetime Member of HHF made an appeal for the Foundation’s support in the preservation of the Crying Rock story. Although HHF’s mission is to preserve, promote, and advance Hellenic education, culture and heritage in Canada, the power and message of this monument captured their hearts. 

“This is intended as a community-to-community gift, from our community to theirs,” said George Keroglidis, Managing Director Hellenic Heritage Foundation.“Our hope is that this story and gift will spread to other ethnic and immigrant communities to further acknowledge the experiences of the Residential School Survivors and continue to build on the conversation of reconciliation in Canada.”

HHF and the Kanellopoulos Family initially pledged $60,000 to the project, however, on Giving Tuesday, the Foundation’s Next Generation Members raised an additional $15,000. The Kanellopoulos Family have decided to match the Next Generation’s efforts and top the total donation to a sum of $100,000. This will help ensure the preservation of this incredible monument at Algoma University for decades to come. 

“On behalf of the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, and the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA), I wish to express my deep and sincere gratitude to both the Hellenic Heritage Foundation and the Kanellopoulos Family for this tremendous gift to the Survivor community,” shared Asima Vezina, President and Vice-Chancellor, who was in Brampton to accept the gift. “We look forward to seeing Survivor Daisy Kostus’ design of this special space unfold, and to inviting the Hellenic Heritage Foundation to join us at the grand unveiling.” 

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