Friday, June 29, 2018

It was a good ride...........!!!

It is with sadness that I write this final blog as the Director of the Institute. As of the 1st of July I will be officially retired from the position as the residential director of the Institute. I’ve held this position proudly since July 1st, 2005. With my year as the Acting Director in 1994/95 I will have led the Institute for 14 years in all.

These years have been most eventful for the Institute. Under my watch we bought two apartments at Dionysiou Aiginitou 7 and an historic house at Orminiou 3. Three colloquia were organized and their proceedings published. The Athens Association of Friends was resuscitated. We now cut our own Vasilopita each January. The program of lectures and events in the fall and winter/spring was expanded. Our presence in the popular social media platforms was established and later strengthened. The CIG Portal to the Past ( was created as part of our public outreach efforts in Canada and beyond. The numerous archaeological fieldwork projects conducted under the aegis of the Institute with a permit from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport have been varied in research objects, chronological focus and location throughout Greece. The results of this research have been significant, if not “game changing”. Our relations with the Canadian Embassy in Greece are stronger than ever. The Institute’s Library holdings have been enlarged and the catalogue made more robust as well as accessible from the Institute’s website ( The demanding, tedious but necessary work of organizing, scanning and storing properly the archives of the Institute has reached an advanced state.

I have enjoyed working with the many undergraduate and graduate interns over the years. The annual Fellows have stimulated my thinking in many ways as well as helped me with Institute projects.

There remains more to be done, but that is central to the life of any successful institution. For starters The Portal to the Past needs to be expanded to allow for more components and more robust search functions. The biggest challenge at this moment, however, is for the requisite funds be raised so that our building at Orminiou 3 can be renovated and improved as we have envisioned in order to serve as the offices, library and residence of the annual Fellow. A crucial component of this project is the creation of The Canadian Cultural Centre in Greece on the upper floor. Here an 80-seat lecture space along with two large seminar / classrooms with state of the art ICT would allow for a variety of uses: lectures, undergraduate educational programs, graduate seminars, training workshops, business meetings, small ensemble concerts, or art exhibitions. The central hall joins these elements together along with the restrooms. The adjoining kitchen would allow for catered receptions. The terrace above offers another spacious venue for receptions associated with the use of the Cultural Centre. An external elevator would provide access for those with mobility issues.

At Brock University where I taught for thirty years, the Hellenic American Education Foundation where I served as the President of Athens College and Psychiko College for five years, and at the Institute as Director since 2005 I have always worked with my colleagues to build upon what we found and to leave the institution in a much better condition so that our successors are in an excellent position to continue the unending journey towards excellence. The Cultural Centre as I have proposed would be a most fitting legacy to my tenure as Director.

I was deeply honored by the generous words and the plaque that the Institute’s Board of Directors gave me at this year’s Open Meeting and by the luncheon that Canadian Ambassador Keith Morrill held for me this week. The recognition of my efforts and the words of appreciation warmed my heart greatly. It has been a great honor for me to serve the Canadian Institute in Greece as its Director. It was a good ride!!!

Metaxia, Romanos and I will continue to live in Exarcheia as our roots are firmly there. This summer I will again join Metaxia’s excavations at the Minoan cemetery of Petras in Siteia in eastern Crete for six weeks in July and August. As I have a number of book projects to complete I will frequent the city’s libraries and we will continue to attend lectures and seminars.

This is at least the 241st blog that I have written as Director. As this almost weekly habit has become engrained in my work week I have been thinking of starting a weekly blog this fall to share my personal views on a range of topics to whomever would care to read them. So beware!!!

So happy trails to you, keep smiling until then……………………………………………………………..!!!

David Rupp
Director (soon to be Emeritus)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Fred Winter Collection

Pergamon, Demeter propylon and precinct, view to W (Professor Fred Winter, 1968)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Fred Winter Collection

Miletos, Council-chamber, general view and detail of Doric frieze and half-column capital (Professor Fred Winter, 1966)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Fred Winter Collection

Priene, temple of Athena, general view from the SE (Professor Fred Winter, 1966)

Friday, June 8, 2018

The changing of the guard at CIG

As part of my annual Open Meeting report late last month I informed the assembled audience that there would be a changing of the guard at the Institute. After 13 years as the Director (and one year as the Acting Director in 1994/95) I will retire from this position at the end of this month. While the Institute’s Board of Directors re-evaluates the model for the directorship (residential in Athens vs Canadian university based) they have appointed Professor Brendan Burke (University of Victoria) as the Interim Academic Director for the 2018/2019 academic year. Professor Burke, well-known in Greece and co-director of the Insttute's Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project, will be in Athens in the winter and spring of 2019. The Institute’s long-standing Assistant Director, Dr. Jonathan Tomlinson, in the absence of a residential director, will take on additional responsibilities next year.

In my final blog as Director on June 29th I will offer some observations on my tenure as the Director. It has been a good ride!

David Rupp

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Fred Winter Collection

Lesbos: Moria, general views and details of the Roman aqueduct supplying Mytilene (Professor Fred Winter, 1982)

Friday, June 1, 2018

A Canadian Abroad: Part 2 - Spring in Greece

In central Greece, there’s a magical place called Meteora. It’s a land where alien rock formations jut out of a lush green forest, and monasteries balance along the tops of strange rock hills. It’s ironic that they seem ready to plunge off of those cliffs they perch on, since they’ve been there for 700 years. After eight months of living and traveling in Greece, there’s a familiarity to the Greek landscapes—each place is unique, but similar. My visit to Meteora was a reminder that Greece is always ready to surprise. Exactly when you think you know it, there’s something new to see.

My fellowship at the Canadian Institute has flown by, and it’s strange that my life in Greece has to end just as it feels like it’s taking on a natural rhythm. Life in our neighbourhood has become wonderfully predictable: a daily stop at our favourite Greek coffee shop (Coffee Lab), a few fresh rings of koulouri for the kids to snack on, and the same park every morning for the kids. We’ve become fixtures here—especially my kids—and along the street we wave at a familiar face in every shop. Even the coffee delivery guy waves so wildly at our girls when he drives by that he almost falls off his scooter. The laiki (market)—once intimidating—becomes a ritual. The vendors know us now, and my Greek is good enough to keep up with the numbers being thrown around, to haggle a bit, and to know if someone’s short-changed me. I know by this point who has the best olives and which area of Greece makes the best Feta (I’m partial to Dodoni).

My work here is done, my thesis submitted, the fellow’s lecture given, and while I haven’t even come close to accomplishing all the things I imagined before I came, I’m really happy with my time here. Besides the academic stuff, the last month was taken up with a few more trips to Tolo, Monemvasia, and Elafonisos.

The kids were eager to get back on the beach with the days getting hotter—and we find ourselves on the golden sand once again. I must be acclimatizing, because the water seems too cold now even for a Canadian who once jumped in with sheets of ice still on the lake.

And from the beaches to the Acropolis, Greece gets noticeably busier each week. The cruise ships are coming in again, the tourists are flocking back, and the beaches are covered with pale northern-Europeans who are eager to cut their long winter darkness short with some Mediterranean sun.

I’ve watched my kids grow up a lot over the past nine months. They quickly learned Greek on the playground and easily made friends with Greek kids. Meanwhile, my 1 ½ year old daughter—who has now spent nearly half of her life in Greece—is spitting out a few words. She’s just as likely to say “ella” as “come” and “yah” can either mean, “hello,” “goodbye,” or “yes.”

As you can imagine, this can get a little confusing.

And now it’s off for home, time to leave all this behind and head on to whatever’s next. Whatever happens, we’ll never forget the time we had as a family in Greece, the wonderful people we’ve met and the memories made, and I’ll always be thankful for my opportunity to be a fellow at the CIG.

Chris Cornthwaite
Neda and Franz Leipen Fellow, CIG