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Justin Trudeau comes home to Park Extension

Create: 04/18/2016 - 21:15

Justin Trudeau concluded his first appearance in Montreal’s annual Greek Independence Day parade since becoming Prime Minister last October with a walk along some of the streets in his home riding of Papineau a short distance from the Jean Talon St. parade route.
Security perimeter
Reaching the intersection of Birnam St. and Stuart Ave. around mid-afternoon last Sunday, Trudeau came in a large SUV with darkened windows and several low-profile red flashers fixed to the roof, typical of vehicles used for the transport of top-level political leaders.
The motorcade consisted of at least three such vehicles carrying a small entourage of support staff from the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as a half-dozen or more security personnel (one or two of which looked brutally serious) who maintained a fairly tight perimeter around the Prime Minister.
An ongoing tradition
Although this was Justin Trudeau’s first year attending the parade as Prime Minister, he’s made it a point to take part as often as possible since becoming the MP for Papineau more than seven years ago. As such, his walk through parts of Park Extension afterwards, greeting shop owners and members of Hellenic community social organizations, has become as much of a tradition as the parade itself.
Among his stops last Sunday was Astor Candles on St. Roch St. where Trudeau has traditionally dropped by several times in the past to say hello to the gift and religious shop’s co-owner, John Hatzichristidis, along with members of his family.
Greeted by admirers
Among the social clubs the prime minister was scheduled to drop by were the Lefkadian Society of Montreal at 950 Ogilvy Ave. and the Panarcadia Brotherhood of Canada at 754 Saint-Roch St. While the 44-year-old Trudeau was in the spotlight and got an enthusiastic response from the crowd along the Jean Talon St. parade route, his much briefer appearance on the streets of Park Extension seemed to go relatively unnoticed.
Only a small number of people gathered outside the Afroditi Bakery at the corner of St. Roch and Wiseman Ave. to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister and to have a “selfie” taken with him. Despite the evident hurry that Trudeau and his entourage were in, he took a few moments to indulge the wishes of his cell phone-carrying admirers.

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Martin C. Barry