In Celebration of
April 24, 1931 -
February 15, 2023
It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Dimitrios Essaris at the age of 91.
Dimitrios Essaris, or “Jimmy”, as he is known to his friends, was born on April 24th, 1931 in Karistos, Evia, near Athens to Ioannis and Melpomeni. The family had four children: Maria, Dimitris, Pagona and Alexandros. The post-war era in Greece was difficult and the family had to work hard to overcome poverty and hunger. Dimitrios recognized his parents’ struggles but realized at a young age that their sacrifices would not be enough to sustain the family. At the tender age of six, he started his first venture by bartering eggs in the village to obtain wheat for his mother to bake bread.
Feeling suffocated in Greece, Dimitrios could not envision a future without misery and poverty. So, at 25 years old, in 1956, he sailed to Canada as a labor immigrant, aspiring for a more fulfilling life in a new world of opportunity. He arrived in Montreal, walked along the Lachine Canal to meet a compatriot who had a potential job prospect for him. He, however, had no success in securing a job that day. He was provided a bus ticket back to the city and waited for another opportunity. In time, that same compatriot offered him his first full time work. It was a humble beginning that could pay Dimitrios the money his family desperately needed in Greece.
From then on, with the resolute work ethic embedded in his genes and the sharp vision of the life he wanted, he worked various jobs until he found his calling: being a self-employed owner of parking lots in the downtown area. In 1960, he married Argyri Mountakis. Together, they raised their two children, John and Peggy. A family man now, but still with little knowledge of English or French and without any formal education, Dimitrios promoted his business and build it into the empire “METROPOLITAN PARKING” and the “King of Parking Lots” nickname emerged.
His next endeavour was to venture in the realm of hospitality and restaurants, his most well-known accomplishment being La Queue de Cheval Steakhouse & Raw Bar. Over time, he transformed several of his parking lots into hotels and condominiums, such as Hôtel Le Crystal, Le Demetrius Appartements and The Icône Tower, forever changing the aerial landscape of downtown Montreal.
Never forgetting his roots, he remained a Hellene at heart and visited his homeland throughout his busy and glamorous life, savouring in the food, music, culture, and sun. A philanthropist of the Hellenic Community of Montreal and benefactor of Canada‘s Greek Archdiocese, he was bestowed the title of “Archon” by the Greek Orthodox Church leader, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, an honour, among many, that he cherished deeply.
In his golden age, he enjoyed a more quiet life. He immensely took pleasure being in the company of family and friends for a coffee, a show, a game of squash, a chat, a hearty meal, a match of backgammon with his friendly adversary Costa. He loved hearing from his five grandchildren Faye, Demetrius, Alexia, Evelyne and Angeliki from all around the world. He lived with Alzheimer’s and was taken care of at first by Violetta and then by Pat and Ageliki, in the latter years of his life. Those close to him describe his final year as his most exceptional.
Many men of his era achieved “The Dream” but few had the privilege of living it with so much zest and an inborn “Kefi,” as Dimitrios did. He danced, he laughed, he suffered, he loved… he lived.
Dimitrios overcame hardship over nine decades, but nature finally took its toll. At 91, he found his peace after a short but brave battle against pneumonia. He was surrounded by people who loved him. Until the very end, he was thankful for all the great he was offered in his long life.
His family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to every individual who touched his life, including family, friends and colleagues.
His family extends their gratitude to Dr. Jeffrey Wiseman and his team at the Royal Victoria Hospital as well as Dr. Sam Mamane and his colleagues at the Jewish General Hospital.
The family will receive condolences at the
Mount Royal Funeral Complex 1297 Chemin de la Foret, Outremont, QC H2V 2P9 on Sunday, February 26, 2023 from 3 pm to 9 pm
The funeral service will take place on Monday, February 27,2023 at 11 am
at Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral
(2455 Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC H3T 1A8)
After the burial ceremony at the Mount Royal cemetery, the Makaria will be offered at the
Mount Royal Funeral Complex hall.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend