The Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum welcomes everyone to view its exhibits and learn about the rich Slovak cultural heritage and its contributions to the Slovak and Canadian societies.
The Museum is noted for its collection of authentic regional costumes and artifacts from Slovakia, and its active demonstrations of heritage crafts and travel exhibits. The Museum brings to life the cultural and social heritage of the Slovak pioneers in Canada for everyone to have a chance to experiences this wonderful history.
Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum’s History
It began with the World Expo ’67 in Montreal at a time when all Canadians felt proud and united. An outgrowth of that spirit was the city’s post-fair invitation to ethnic groups to continue to showcase their cultures at pavilions on the newly built Expo site. Twenty groups, including Slovaks, eagerly responded. It proved to be a great tourist draw and the beginning of Slovak cultural exhibits that continue to this day.
Mrs. Margaret A. Dvorsky was the Slovak pavilion’s curator. She kept the flame alive when she moved to Toronto to co-found the Slovak Canadian National Council. She continued to gather Slovak heritage artifacts from across Canada which were displayed in at the Slovak Cathedral of Transfiguration in Markham, Ontario. An unvailling ceremony was organized for the new Heritage and Activity Room on November 29, 1998.
In 2003, the activity coordinator of the Markham Museum was invited to an event at the Cathedral and upon viewing the Heritage Room displays, invited the Slovak community to showcase the items at their historic pioneer village recreation site. The SCNC coordinated three Slovak heritage festivals by recreating a Slovak village of olden days. This was so successful that the Markham Museum offered the SCNC exhibit space in one of their pioneer houses called the “Strickler” house for a five year term. That emboldened members of the Slovak community to form a formal Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum organization with a travel exhibit.
After the five year term in Markham expired, the Slovak Museum moved to a location in Oshawa. The small store front was rented in a location that was once a very Slovak neighbourhood with most of the small war time houses built by a home building company owned by a Slovak. It was a very promising area with a Slovak church across the street and potential volunteers. Unfortunately, after two years, the owners of the building decided to sell and the museum had to move.
Upon extensive discussions with the museum board and members of the Slovak community, a location in Mississauga was suggested. The SCHM worked with Mississauga Heritage and Mississauga Museums to find suitable space but nothing was found. The SCHM was moved to a storage space and continued to organize events and do exhibits. In 2017, the Canadian Slovak League in Mississauga approached the SCHM with an offer to share their CSL branch #7 hall and to rent the upstairs room to the Slovak Museum. The SCHM accepted this offer and by the end of the year 2017, moved to the CSL hall at 259 Traders Blvd. in Mississauga. The SCHM and CSL in cooperation plan to provide events for the education of Slovak Canadian Heritage to help support good relations with our Slovak and other multicultural Canadian communities. It has been a very interesting past and the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum is looking forward to the future with renewed enthusiasm.
Our objectives are to educate the public. Relating, to the immigration to Canada, and the settlement in Canada, of the peoples of Slovak origin through:
a.) the establishment, maintenance and operation of a museum for the preservation and exhibition of Slovak heritage artifacts, folklore, music, literature, art and traditions, as well as maintain an archives of historical materials relating to the Slovak heritage in Canada; and
b.) the development and sponsorship of educational programs, conferences, seminars, lectures, workshops, and hands-on-demonstrations, to advance a greater understanding of the Slovak heritage in Canada, and in this way enhance Canada’s cultural mosaic.
Our Exhibits includes Immigration and settlement in Canada, The Slovak community in Canada, cherished traditions retained in Canada, traditional and religious artifacts, Easter eggs “kraslice” from all regions of Slovakia, collection of dolls in folk costumes, regional headdresses, fine art, coins, stamps, documents, books, ceramics, leather and wood crafts, contributions by notable Slovak Canadians and much more.