RAYMOND SAMUELS ...... I’m going to nominate Spyros Peter Goudas for an Order of Canada so I believe, should you.
Raymond Samuels' bio
Today, I'm contemplating baking a gingerbread cake.
Recently, I had also made some delicious strawberry shortcake.
Or, so my friends tell me.
I love to bake. But, I'm also passionate about the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle that supports mind, body, and spirit.
Demerara Brown Sugar has become a “secret” ingredient to my baking.
Photo of Raymond Samuels
I contacted Spyros Peter Goudas , and I was able to speak to him directly, and make an appointment to meet with him in Toronto.
He picked me up at the Downsview Subway Station in North Toronto.
It was a moment forever implanted in my psyche, being driven in a 1984 Cadillac Fleetwood by The Man for All Seasonings, the Entrepreneur of the Year , and the founder of the Goudas line of products geared to the ethnic market in Canada, the ultimate Immigrant.
While enjoying lunch under a tent set up outside his office, I was always over the years amazed at his simplicity.
He related his humble beginnings in Kalamaki, Athens, Greece, his arrival in Canada, his first store on Baldwin Street (Kensington Market) and the subsquent expansion into the Goudas line of products.
His life story is documented in his biography,
From my observations over the years, I note that Spyros Peter Goudas is a fighter and has overcome many obstacles in the past.
Spyros Peter Goudas is determined to continue pursuing the road he began to traverse as a penniless, homeless immigrant sleeping under the stars on a bench at City Hall eons ago.
As long as the blood flows in his veins, and the Lord gives him life and strength, he will persevere on.
He has not been selfish with his endeavors.
Read his Letters of Appreciation Section which attest to his philanthropy and generosity which he still maintains.
In the case of Spyros Peter Goudas, success was based on quality and authenticity.
A fascinating journey
To fully understand the charismatic appeal of Spyros Peter Goudas, you really have to meet him as I was fortunate enough to do in the run-up to the Caribana festival.
When Mr.Goudas thought he had managed to capture the essence of the parade, he called all the people who participated in some of the various bands to the club to see it.
They were unanimous in their agreement that it was the best two hour film they had seen portraying the Caribana parade.
Mr Spyros Peter Goudas said that this allowed the people to see that this parade was not made up of a bunch of idiots dressed up in costumes and jumping up and down all over the place, but the work of some very skilled and talented people, bringing to Canada a culture that has prevailed for many, many years.
Mr. Goudas understood this, and he wanted to show the world what was involved in this celebration.
Thats why he wrote a book with the title
But even if you haven’t had the privilege of meeting him, his life story and rise to success makes for riveting reading and will give you some indication of the force of personality, determination and humanity that make this man an iconic Canadian personality.
Spyros Peter Goudas was born in Greece in the year 1942 to Panagiotis and Thekla Goudas.
His parents were not wealthy and the times were troubled.
The German occupation of Greece was brutal, but even when it was over, political strife and instability prevailed. But this unpromising beginning could not repress this irrepressible soul.
He learned to read and write by the age of 3 and was found to have a photographic memory.
Perhaps his parents wondered what would become of their young prodigy and, had they known, they would not have been disappointed.
General Manager of a construction company at age 16 (bio page 11)
If most people were to claim such an achievement, it would be viewed with incredulity.
But that’s just how Mr. Goudas began his career.
He was just an ordinary construction worker, but he noticed a fault in building design, reported it and was proven correct.
His promotion was controversial, but he maintained his position successfully until he was drafted at age 21.
Waiting for destiny
As can be imagined, this interlude restricted Mr. Goudas’ meteoric rise for a time, but it ultimately led him to discover his true calling while he was still in his twenties.
My own experience can be compared to this.
I spent years as a student following rigid curricula.
I graduated from the University of Toronto in International Relations and Labour-Management Relations; and then went on to pursue a Master's degree in the mid-1990's; followed by a spell working in the federal government.
‘National Identity in Canada and Cosmopolitan Community’ was featured in the 'New York Review of Books'.
My first book was also chosen to be distributed by Canada's largest bookseller - Chapters, and I was interviewed by’ Voice of America’ about the book.
Returning to the career of Mr Goudas, we see that his destiny awaited him during his twenties too.
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1967: Greece’s loss becomes Canada’s gain
After the declaration of martial law in Greece in 1967, the young Mr Goudas chose to immigrate to Canada – and it’s not just my baking that benefitted from this move!
The young man had no friends, could not speak English and only had $100 in his pockets, but nothing could stop him.
He began by washing cars, then held down three jobs simultaneously and finally entered the food industry by opening a small store in Kensington market.
Although in theory, his store was meant to cater to the Greek community, Goudas soon realized that he was serving more Latin, Caribbean, Asian, European and Jewish clients and so began his quest to find the authentic ingredients they were looking for.
But it wasn’t only the foods of these cultures that intrigued Goudas.
He loved the different types of music and drank in every aspect of the cultures he encountered.
This love of culture would lead to his later rescue of the Caribana carnival where he was privileged to be recognized and awarded by the government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Our shared love of cultural diversity made us click straight away.
After all, I wrote a book about the preservation of cultural diversity and particularly Native-American cultures in 2004.
Any form of Racism is anathema to me as it is to Spyros Peter Goudas.
I have also done many volunteer activities which ranges from Bluesfest in Ottawa since 2009 to diverse community activism.
Perhaps my next work will be on the preservation of immigrant cultures.
After sampling some of the great foods and listening to the stirring music that immigrants have brought to Canada and that have been preserved through their own tenacity and with the help of visionaries like Mr Goudas who was a pioneer in having the CRTC change the law regarding Canadian regulation of content percentage on the airwaves.
Shouldn’t we, as a nation, strive to celebrate and preserve this fabulous cultural smorgasbord?
Giving immigrants a taste of home – and enriching our Canadian cuisine
And indeed, it is his contribution to the diversity of foods available in Canada that became the cornerstone of his success.
Of course, I am talking about food from the Caribbean since these are items that I know.
Imagine how many more items he brought from all over the world.
So Mr Goudas began importing them, encountering and overcoming many obstacles on the way and inspiring a series of highly entertaining and interesting books on his adventures.
You will recall that his books brought about my meetings with this fascinating entrepreneur over the years In addition to the e mail from Walmart.
By the way, if you haven’t tried ackees, I’ll vouch for them.
They and the other canned fruits that Mr Goudas still manufactures are absolutely superb quality,
Who knows? Perhaps my next book will be about healthy cooking with exotic ingredients!
After all, I'm a passionate “foodie”.
I cook and bake, and also like to explore restaurants that offer unique foods.
I seek to pursue a healthy lifestyle, and I have Mr. Spyros Peter Goudas to thank enabling me to prepare delicious, flavourful and health-conscious baking.
Interview About Ackee
This is a very educational video.
One of the managers of J P Foods in Jamaica which specializes in Ackee cultivation and production explains in full detail everything about the fruit.
It is an opportunity for any one who wants to know about this particular fruit.
Mr. Goudas wrote an informative book about the Ackee, its cultivation and history.
Dedication to quality and health
My interest in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle which ultimately led to my meeting with Mr Goudas began with an interesting incident during my studies in Toronto.
It was not until I met my girlfriend of two years who was a vegetarian and loved to cook and bake. I was inspired by her efforts to pursue a healthy lifestyle and began to also bake.
I have found that not only cooking can be healthy.
So too can baking be prepared in a manner that respects the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.
This summer I competed well as a half-marathon runner (just over 21 K) for the first time during Ottawa Race Weekend.
His products have been a part of my efforts to avoid unhealthy ingredients that would undermine my training – so I’m looking forward to his new brands which he will launch very soon because I know it will focus on healthful, high quality ingredients.
Onwards with Mr Goudas!
After so many successes, most people would sit back and say that they have achieved enough success, but Spyros Peter Goudas never stops.
From Snappy Pop, a popular carbonated drink to a hit song (about rice) and the introduction of a wider range of Latin American, far eastern, African, and other countries' foods than had previously been unavailable, Mr Goudas seemed unstoppable.
He even had a special radio show playing Caribbean and Latin American music.
The tremendous success, as well as, the adversities that Mr. Goudas faced throughout his difficult road to bounce back from an accident earlier in his business career, were analyzed by financial broadcast analysts Mr. Peter Minott and Mr. Mark Purai.
This story aired several times on different radio programs, in churches and different media; it is also a subject of discussion among hosts and guests on various radio programs.
Apparently this story has been an inspiration to many who have met similar fate and it has given them the will and the hope to stay strong
Then there was the successful ‘Our Place’ restaurant and the 813 club that served up both great food and great entertainment –
Kenn F. Shah Interview 1989
The relationship between Mr. Kenn f Shah and Mr. Goudas developed into a true friendship and fostered the opportunity for Spyros Peter Goudas becoming an integral part of the Caribana Festival which led to him receiving the Trinidad and Tobago Republic Day Award on March 29th 2002,
In Appreciation of (his) outstanding contribution and dedication to the development of the Arts, Culture and Education of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in Canada.
Not long after this contribution by Kenn Shah, representative of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Shah totally and unexpectedly passed away.
There was an instant sense that Mr. Goudas related some funny memories which broke the deep despair at this loss and transposed the occasion into a celebration of his life and achievements.
For more than one hour, everyone, from the garden, the backyard, the side entrance, the basement, the stairs, from everywhere avidly listened to what seemed like a conversation about Kenn Shah.
Mr. Goudas closed the narration by saying the following:
There is no doubt that Caribana will continue from years to come,
but, WITHOUT KENN F. SHAH, CARIBANA WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
But his story is not without its setbacks.
Spyros Peter Goudas had a bad accident in which his leg was mangled so badly that many believed it would have to be amputated.
By the time he returned to his business, he had his work cut out in trying to save it.
But this story also gives me hope.
If the ‘Mr Goudas’ brand is to be reinvented from the ground up as ‘Mr Gees’, I know that I’ve met the man who can do it.
There isn’t an author alive who doesn’t understand setbacks – though for us – it’s more about getting our works recognized and published.
After some frustrating times, I had an inspiration that led to my founding AgoraPublishing.com as a volunteer-driven and not-for-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of other writers.
Through this project, I’ve come to recognize what determination looks like, and Mr Spyros Peter Goudas has it.
It’s not just me who thinks Mr Goudas is an inspiration
In 1991, he was featured in
‘The Business Journal’ where the article about him, aptly titled ‘A man for all Seasonings’
took up 5 pages and won a journalism award.
Entrepreneur's award for Peter Gouda
INDO CARIBBEAN WORLD
Peter Spyros Goudas, founder and president of Goudas Food Products co ltd , was last week selected as the recipient of this year’s New Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
The tribute was presented by the National Council of Ethnic Canadian Business & Professional Associations (Toronto Chapter) and the federal Business Development Bank.
The awards ceremony is a celebration to Canada by ethno cultural businesses, and was held at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel.
The company’s success today is due mainly to the determination and grit of Peter Goudas.
But it is the personal expressions of appreciation that matter most to Mr Goudas.
In 1997, he celebrated 30 years in Canada and was invited by an associate to tour a supermarket.
Little did he know that he would find a huge surprise party packed with the business associates and friends whose lives he has enriched over the years.
In the photo is Mr.Willy Wiilliams.
Memoirs of Willie Williams
Jamaican Express newspaper
Despite not being black, he got an unprecedented special mention in the Jamaican Express newspaper during Black History month in an article title
As editor of the Jamaican Xpress Newspaper I am writing this article, I have begun to feel a little selfish about the Jamaica and, in general, the Caribbean theme.
I seem to be totally ignoring that I am living in this multicultural country where hundreds of nationalities now call home.
Therefore, I am changing the point of view from down to up and I am looking from above down to earth and I begin to focus on Canada.
Somewhere within my view I began to focus on one person who in the last so many years have placed all the nationalities into a comfort zone enabling us all to at least enjoy the simple food pleasures from numerous countries right here in Canada.
Then of course, there are all the charitable contributions:
these started as Christmas parties for underprivileged kids, expanded to include food parcels for their parents, and now embrace huge contributions helping out survivors after floods, hurricanes and earthquakes around the world.
And to think that Mr Goudas still cares about my brown sugar and my baking, despite all this!
I hope that I can use the knowledge that I have accumulated as a “foodie”, and the research that I have done in the process of writing books to encourage Spyros Peter Goudas to continue and inspire other Canadians who love delicious food and healthy lifestyle.
How we can show we Care about Canada and great Canadians
For a start, we can support Spyros Peter Goudas and his worthy cause, but if you’re as intrigued by his many achievements as I am, you can