In Celebration of

Manya Baracs (nee Grivelis)

June 21, 1925 -  November 15, 2020

Manya loved life and lived her life to the fullest.

Sadly, her last breath was taken a few days ago with her daughter Marina by her side. She is survived by her ex-husband Janos, her daughter Vicky Vasiliki, son-in- law Matteo and granddaughter Mila Sofia. Michael her beloved son, preceded her death over eight years ago from cancer.

Born in Athens, she travelled to Montreal in 1948 invited by relatives and made this city her home for the next 70 years. Manya had an immense love for Greece and spent all of her summers there “island hopping” and enjoying her passion for swimming in the Greek sea. Manya was often considered the “life of the party” and created many enduring friendships. She will be missed by the many people she touched throughout her lifetime.

Our heartfelt thanks to the family and friends who have reached out to us with their warm memories of Manya.

Due to the pandemic restrictions, a private service will be held for close family and friends by invitation only. However, you will be able to attend the funeral live via the webcast on Saturday November 21st at 11:00 a.m. Please visit the following link to virtually attend the ceremony It will also be available in rebroadcast.

To offer your condolences, we invite you to sign the guestbook.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society (


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Pearl Eliadis (Friend)

Entered November 17, 2020 from Montreal

Our dear Mania was much admired by her many friends for her passion for life, her love for design and art, and her complete and utter loyalty to her friends and family. She was a survivor who had been through difficult times, but she brought joy, positivity, and genuine interest in others to all of her relationships. We remember with great fondness her magical presence at parties, where she was always the first on the dance floor, and her lovely relationship with our grandmother, Popie, whom we lost many years ago. I hope they are dancing together somewhere today. On behalf of our family, we wish her peace, and send our love to her family. Pearl Eliadis, Rob Yalden and Zoe Yalden

Marisa Blaettler (Friend)

Entered November 18, 2020 from Sils Maria, GR, Switzerland

Dearest Marina
My deepest and heartfelt condolences. Manya will be missed.
Hugs from afar
Marisa and Family

Catherine Vézina (Amie de Marina)

Entered November 18, 2020 from 324 Grosvenor, Westmount, Quebec, H3Z 2M2

Chère Marina
Mercredi.. Je viens de lire l’annonce dans la Gazette. Je suis toute triste pour toi. C’est un gros morceau...Je ne trouve pas les mots pour te donner du soutien à part que je suis là.. pas loin.. et je pense à toi. Tu dois être fatiguée mais aussi libérée.. j’espère qu’elle n’a pas été souffrante. Je t’embrasse fort xxx Catou

Donald Smith (Friend)

Entered November 18, 2020 from TORONTO

I am sad to hear of Manya's passing. I really loved this amazing lady. She was so vibrant and full of life. I recently started writing about Greece and I mentioned Manya as an example of the passionate alive feeling in that country. Condolences to Vicky and Marina. I was able to visit her about a year ago luckily

Helen Eliadis (Friend)

Entered November 18, 2020 from Montreal

We will sadly miss her brilliant smile, her love of life, music, art, nature, the twinkle in the eye that spoke of her courage and enjoyment in reaching out to people and experiences. With deepest sympathy to her loving daughters Vassiliki, Marina and to all the family.
Helen Eliadis

Life Stories 

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Marina Baracs 

Entered February 2, 2021

Vicky (Vasiliki) Daughter, Psara, Greece
One of the many gifts my mother offered me was the love of art.
I must have been 7 years old when I found myself in Amsterdam's National Museum standing in front of Rembrandt's The Night Watch. She leaned down, pointed, and said, "Look at the corner of the painting. Do you see the little dog?" I did and that was the beginning of a life long interest.
Eternally grateful for this and much more.
A remarkable chapter has ended full of meaning and joy.
Happy travels Mom.

Marina Baracs 

Entered February 2, 2021

Eleni Iliades_ friend, Montreal
Kali mou Manya,
Do you remember the time we went to the Inuit sculptures’ showroom, to help me choose a gift for visiting Greek dignitaries? Here was a sea of animal sculptures: bears, seals, geese and fish and hunters glistening grey in shiny soapstone; so many and diverse, bewildering. But not for you- you zeroed in on a small statue of a little boy, back turned, but looking at the viewer, cheeky smile on his turned face, lowering his furry pants, exposing a round bottom. And though it would not be appropriate for dignitaries, it was a perfect example of your unerring eye for beauty with the endearing extra element of humour. The dignitaries got another exquisite piece of indigenous art and the little boy graced cheekily your window sill.
We had many outings together, particularly to the theatre or concert. And I always marveled at your knowing, greeting, it seemed to me, every second person there...and they appeared brighter under your attention...and that was the gift that you brought to friendships: energy, affection, laughter, a sense of the aesthetic, of fun.
I think I love the Greek sea almost as much as you. And there we were, after our respective trips back home, we, Women of a Certain Age, telling to the other. with every superlative adjective in our vocabulary, where and why we swam in Kefalonia or Porto Heli.
Dear Manya, till we meet again, in some other sea, that now you know,
Kalinichta, filakia, (good night, kisses) , Eleni

Marina Baracs 

Entered February 4, 2021

Kelly Cullins, very close friend, Burlington Vermont & Kea, Greece

"Manya and Pavarotti"

After the Iranians attached the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran in the 70s, the Canadian ambas-sator to Iran managed to hide a small group of the embassy staff in his private home nearby, shielding them from the abuse of being hostages. After several months and with the support of the CIA, the ambassador and his wife were able to sneak this group of Americans out of Iran and into Canada! Canada and the ambassador were heros! Canadian flags were flown every-where in the US in gratitude. The Canadian embassador was a hero and known everywhere around the world. A few weeks later, Manya and a friend were shopping in New York City and were surprised by the site of all the Canadian flags flying all over the city. Nevertheless, Man-ya checked her watch and told her friend that they had time to get to the Metropolitan Opera House in time for the last act of an opera starring Pavarotti, her favorite tenor. They hailed a taxi to the opera house and raced to the ticket office inside.
“Are there seats left?” “ No, Madam.” “Well, we could sit in the aisles.” “No, Madam even those seats are filled.” “Oh, no”, said Manya. “You don’t know how far we have come to hear him.” “Really”, said the ticket clerk, “where did you come from?” “Montreal, Canada!” Aghast, the ticket clerk immediately found them seats, free seats, just because they were Canadian!
Months later when Manya was working in the most expensive dress department of Hault Ren-freh in Montreal, she noticed the Canadian embassador and his wife looking at dresses.
Being Manya, she immediately approached them with all her the Greek warmth and charm.
She asked permission to speak with them. They were very gracious. She told the embassador how much she admired his courage and strength in sheltering and helping the escape of the Americans. She was so proud to be a Canadian. Tears filled his eyes.
But, not willing to waste an opportunity, Manya continued. Mr. Ambassador, I also want to thank you for what your courage gave me personally. When I was recently in New York City, our Canadian flags were flying everywhere because of your courage and skills with the Americans. Because of you, as a Canadian citizen, I was able to get free tickets to hear Pavarotti sing at the Metropolitan Opera!

Marina Baracs 

Entered February 4, 2021

Kelly Cullins, very close friend, Burlington Vermont & Kea Greece

“Manya and Omar”

One day when Manya was managing a jewelry store in Montreal, an excited friend came rushing into the store. “Manya, there is a movie being filmed here in Montreal and they’re looking for exotic people to be extras in the movie. You would be perfect!” She wasn’t interested at all. Then the friend added that Omar Sharif was the lead in the movie.
Manya immediately gathered up her belongings, closed the store, and rushed with her friend to the studio. Her tales of Omar, including a spectacular photograph of them both, were priceless. An exceedingly handsome and ‘exotic’ twosome. Unfortunately for Tom, Omar took Tom’s place as First in Line, leaving Tom now as Second in Line.

Marina Baracs 

Entered February 4, 2021

Kelly Cullins, very close friend, Burlington Vermont & Kea Greece

Manya and Tom

In the late 1960’s, many Montrealers would drive south to Vermont to enjoy the coolness of Lake Champlain. Manya was good friends with Dirk Dressel, a well-loved engineer, and many of his group. Dirk had a house on the lake and had many great summer parties. A common friend, Peter Woodside, invited my Tom and his then-girlfriend to one of those parties. It was a great party with many interesting people and good dancing music. Peter then introduced Tom to this vibrant Greek woman, Manya, and the two of them spent the rest of the evening dancing, talking, and laughing. Manya told Tom that when they both die, she and Tom would be a couple! That was their joke for the next 50 years. Tom was First in Line!
The next year Tom and I got together and married, but their promise remained.


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