John Bitove on Canada’s Recognition of Macedonia

Source: National Post

On behalf of all Canadians of Macedonian descent, I want to thank Prime Minister Stephen Harper for correcting a long-standing mistake by recognizing the Republic of Macedonia by its correct name, and not one conjured up politically in an attempt to continue the oppression of the Macedonian people.


Canada now joins with more than 120 countries that recognize the injustice of a country being forced to accept the name given by another country, as opposed to a name selected by its people.

As Canadians, we believe that if a person is born on a piece of land, that person has a right to be regarded as a native of that land. Unfortunately for close to 100 years the people of Macedonia were not given that right.

Macedonia is rich with history and in fact Christianity was founded in Pella, Macedonia. In the Bible, St. Paul speaks of Macedonia thousands of years ago. And the world (outside Greece) acknowledges Alexander the Great was Macedonian. Even British prime minister William Gladstone said during his time in office that Macedonia was for the Macedonians.

John Bitove, Toronto.


John Bitove, Sr. or John Bitov (born 1928 in Toronto, Canada) is a Macedonian Canadian businessman.

Born in Toronto of ethnic Macedonian descent, to Nicholas and Vana who were Macedonian immigrants, he built, operated and developed many restaurants across Canada, including the JB’s Big Boy Family Restaurants. In 1919 his parents immigrated to Canada from Gabresh, a village now located in Aegean Macedonia in the region of Kostur. In 1982 one of his companies obtained all of the food and beverage catering at Toronto’s (Pearson) International Airport. In 1987 he obtained the catering rights to Toronto’s SkyDome, now Rogers Centre and in 1989, he merged his existing companies to form the Bitove Corporation, at that time one of Canada’s largest privately held foodservice companies. He is a director of several companies including Oppenheimer. Involved in many charitable activities, most notably as the founder of Canadian Macedonian Place a home for the aged people of Macedonian descent in Canada as well as Pro-Action, a partnership with the Metropolitan Toronto Police to fund programs in high-risk youth areas of Toronto.

In 1989, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

He married Dotsa and has five children, Vonna, Tom, Nick, John Jr. and Jordan.