Slovak Canadian Heritage Exhibit
November 2016 – January 2017
The ‘Grange’ Robinson-Adamson House
1921 Dundas St. West, Mississauga
SCHM’s 10th Anniversary Celebration
After a busy week of setting up the museum display, Tuesday November 29th saw the opening of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum’s exhibit at the Grange in Mississauga. The museum is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a six week exhibit and cultural events taking place in the Grange, located on Dundas St. W. between Mississauga Rd. and Erin Mills Parkway. Members of the board were dressed in Slovak costumes to greet the members of the public who came to see the exhibit. Everyone was thrilled to see the displays.
The exhibit officially opened at 6:30pm. At 7 pm. Opening remarks and greeting were presented by the Museum president Alena Melas, who gave a brief history of the museum. Then Mr. Matthew Wilkinson, Chief Historian of Mississauga Heritage addressed the audience and thanked the Museum for its wonderful display. He was quite surprised and pleased along with the rest of the staff to see the artifacts that were on display.
A short cultural program was presented by four young children from the Slovak school. They sang several songs and presented several Christmas greetings in Slovak. Mrs. Kozak did a short reading and thanked the Museum for their work in keeping the Slovak culture alive. Then Rev. Kozak gave a very lively performance on the fujara. As he played he also sang a very passionate song that was part of the fujara melody. On finishing he gave a prayer for themuseum, the Slovaks in Canada and Slovakia to keep our Culture alive and forget it.
The cultural program was closed by Alena who thanked all those who took part in the program. She also thanked everyone for coming, including local councillor Mr. Ron Starr of ward #6 for celebrating with us. Food and refreshments were served to end the celebrations.
If you missed the opening, you are still able to visit the exhibit as it will be open until Dec. 16th with St. Nicholas coming on Dec. 6 and Slovak Christmas Eve Customs presentation on Dec. 13 at 6:30 – 8 pm.
January 110th will be the second opening of the second part of our display with art by our local Slovak Artist, a Genealogy workshop on Jan. 14 & 17 and “The Quilt of Belonging” creator Esther Gazdik-Bryan presentation. We hope to see you there. Come out and show your pride in your Slovak culture.
By: Joe Radvansky
Slovak Cultural Afternoon
Sunday, October 16, 2016
St. Cyril & Methodius Church Hall, 5255 Thornwood Dr. Mississauga
Sunday Oct. 16, 2016 the Slovak Canadian Women’s Association, along with the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum, held a Slovak cultural afternoon event at the Slovak church in Mississauga.
The Museum once again had a wonderful display of dolls, lacework and other interesting Slovak artifacts. Many thanks to Alena Melas for her dedication in setting up the display.
Blanka Martincek-Hanecak from Uniglobe Travel had a very interesting display set up featuring posters and brochures of various activities in Slovakia. The Ladies Craft group also had a table filled with beautiful Slovak items for sale and they made a generous donation towards the door prizes.
An interesting display this year was an art exhibit organized by Silvia Radvansky. This showed some of the artistic talent that is in our community. Thanks to Miro Brazina, Urban Franko and Silvia for showing us their wonderful pieces of art. They, along with other Slovak artists, will be displaying their artistic works in January at the Grange in Mississauga, as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum.
The highlight of the afternoon was the performance of the junior and intermediate dancers of the Vychodna dancing group. It is always wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the young people and the effort they display.
The event was well attended. Many thanks to Helen, Ernestine, Alena and all the other women who helped make this event possible. If you missed this year’s event, mark it down on your calendar for next year!
Family Day Exhibit Slovak Day Exhibit
Sunday, July 10, 2016 and Sunday, July 17, 2016
Barbertown, Mississauga Croatian Park in Milton
The summer’s two picnic events had for the first time the extensive photo exhibit of the 2015 World EXPO Slovak Pavilion. Last year, Mike and Alena Melas traveled to Italy and one of their feature stops was to go to the World EXPO in Milan. The EXPO theme was Food Diversity and Nutrition. The Slovak Pavilion was modern and showed great innovation of the biodiversity of grains, beans and vegetables that are grown in Slovakia. Many Art pieces were inspired by food utensils. One huge bird, about 6 feet tall was made of soldered spoons, knives and forks.
The steady stream of visitors throughout the day had the volunteers busy presenting the exhibit.
A table display and some sales from small souvenirs were popular with visitors.
Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum’s participation at Doors Open
Sunday, May 15, 2016 3 – 7 pm
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church Hall
21 Queen St., Thorold, Ontario
On Sunday May 15th, Branch 31 of the Canadian Slovak League held an Open House at Holy Rosary Parish in Thorold, Ontario. This event took place as part of the annual Niagara Folk Arts Festival during which the various multicultural communities of Niagara open their doors to display their culture and heritage through their food, costumes and dances.
An important part of the Slovak Open House was the display mounted by the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum. This display highlighted the many traditional Slovak arts and crafts including ceramic vases and other items typical of the regions where these ceramics are produced in Slovakia. There were also corn dolls of many descriptions. A mannequin sitting in a chair on the table dressed in a traditional costume seemed to welcome the many guests who visited the display. Alena Melas, pictured here, was kept busy all afternoon answering questions and explaining the various traditions surrounding some of the items. Among these were collages of pictures taken by Mr. Lazor that reflected past displays put on by the Museum. However, what better way to showcase the traditions of the Slovaks than by demonstrating one of the many handicrafts associated with Slovak culture? Alena is shown demonstrating the art of bobbin lace making, a skill that allowed Slovak women to decorate their blouses and aprons with beautiful lace borders made with their own hands and thus unique to them.
The Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum extends its thanks to Branch 31 for their invitation to mount a display during their Open House and to the members in attendance for their interest in our display. In this way we can continue our work as a Museum to preserve our Slovak heritage and to share it with others in our communities.
Anne Smith & Mary Sirotnik
Slovak Egg Decorating at Slovak Church
Sunday, March 20, 2016 10 am-1 pm
St. Cyril & Methodius Church Hall, Mississauga,ON
Every Palm Sunday, after the 9 am mass, there is a bazaar or bake sale held at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Parish in Mississauga. The parishioners wait for this event every year not just to buy what is being offered but also to meet with friends that they might not normally see during the rest of the year. Besides the baked goods that are always enjoyed, one can buy dried sausages, knedle, and smoked cheeses. Garlic and sugared langoses were also available. The craft group also had a fine display of hand crafts and ceramics to sell to all who were present.
This year the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum also took part at this event providing a demonstration of Easter egg painting.
Volunteers from the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum presented two ways to decorate your eggs for Easter. SCHM president Alena Melas decorated hard boiled eggs with a technique that she had learned from her mother, “those are wonderful memories that I cherish of my mom, my sister and I decorating Easter Eggs,” she recalled. “We would melt candle wax or crayons and with a pinhead make dots and stroke designs of flowers, birds, palm fronds and other patterns.” The most important thing to remember is to have fun making it. The eggs can be made more memorable if you add someone’s name or a date on them. Several ladies and girls tried their hand at this technique and took home a pretty egg or two.
Another egg decorating technique was demonstrated by SCHM board member Iveta Sitina who used a very fine drill to make delicate holes into empty eggshells. This technique takes some skill and practice so expect to brake a few eggs until you get the hang of the right pressure and angle of the drill on the eggshell. These eggs with their lacy beauty have become very popular. They are especially beautiful when they are hung on pussy willow branches in a vase to cheer up your home for Easter. Eggs that were decorated during that morning were given to interested parishioners who appreciated the small gift.
The museum’s treasurer Luba Henderson was on hand to hand out information and to answer any questions about the museum. Do you have a warm spot for your Slovak Heritage in your heart? Then we are looking for people like you to join our board of directors or one of the committees. For more information, please call Alena Melas 416-721-7652 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The next SCHM event is May 15th in St. Catharines at their Doors Open Event. The museum will have a display and will feature traditional Slovak bobbin lace making. Come and watch real lace being handmade and maybe even give it a try yourself!
Photo credit: Joe Radvansky
Slovak Easter Exhibit in Richmond Hill March 1-30, 2016
Richmond Hill Central Library,1 Atkinson St. Richmond Hill, ON
The Slovak Easter Exhibit, March 1 to March 30, 2016 in the Richmond Hill Central Library located on the south/west corner of Yonge St. and Major Mackenzie Dr. in Richmond Hill, Ontario. The exhibit features over 100 painted Easter eggs in a colourful spring setting with a Grandmother and a Granddaughter delighted with their many beautiful eggs. The exhibit has already received many compliments.
Hanging Easter Eggs on Pussy Willow branches is a very old tradition in Slovakia. Eggs represent the rebirth of Christ. The tradition of painting Easter eggs is handed down from mother to daughter. Fun events are planned where family or friends come over to spend an afternoon or evening of decorating Easter eggs. Eggs are prepared as special gifts to give to visitors over the holidays or to give to children as special treats. There are several methods to decorating Easter eggs: Hot wax and drop or stroke with a pin; Layered colours with wax covering designs; Scratched designs on coloured eggs; Drilled holes in egg shell; Straw pieces glued on egg shell.
SCHM 10th ANNIVERSARY 2006 -2016
It is hard to believe the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum which incorporated in 2006 is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. The journey has not been easy but we are looking forward to a prosperous future.
The Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum started as a collection of Slovak artifacts collected over several years in the Heritage Room of The Cathedral of Transfiguration in Markham. In 2003, the Markham Museum, upon viewing the display, invited us to showcase our artifacts at their historic recreation site. In co-operation with the Slovak Canadian National Council, a Slovak heritage festival was organized. It encompassed recreating a Slovak village of olden days. This festival was so successful that the Markham Museum granted us the use of one of their houses, the Strickler House for a five year term. This had emboldened us in 2006 to form a formal museum organization, the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum (SCHM) with travel exhibits offered across Canada.
In 2011 the SCHM found a new home in Oshawa in a store front that was owned in the past by Slovaks in this Slovak community. The growth that the museum was anticipating unfortunately never developed. The owners wanted to sell the building and after only two years the museum had to move out. It was with the help of Mr. & Mrs. Otto Rada that the museum could temporarily be put into storage at their business location, for help that we were very thankful, until other accommodations were found elsewhere.
The SCHM started to look at several properties in Mississauga with the help of Heritage Mississauga, but none were suitable. It is the mission of SCHM to make Canadians aware of the Slovak Canadian heritage in Canada through outreach events, handcraft demonstrations, and exhibitions often working with museums like Markham and Mississauga, and several Slovak organizations and churches. It is the museum’s vision, to one day have a permanent location to exhibit our Slovak Heritage artifacts and offer related educational programs.
Over the ten years many volunteers helped out to keep the museum active. In the past two years, three museum board members had to step down due to health reasons, Mrs. Margaret Dvorsky, Andrew Tapajna and Paul Elias. We wish to thank them for their hard work and many years of service on the museum board. The museum needs help and we are looking for board members and various committee members in the Slovak community. It is very interesting volunteer work for those who like history, crafts or genealogy. It is an opportunity to meet new people, to participate in events and in the future growth of our Slovak museum. If you could help out with a few hours each month, the Slovak museum and the Slovak community would be very appreciative of your work. Help us preserve our past, for the future!
SCHM Board members:
Alena Melas, President; Helen Bucic, Vice President; Mary Sirotnik, Secretary; Luba Henderson, Financial Secretary; Anne Smith, Genealogy; Iveta Sitina, Bookkeeping; Joe Radvansky, Photography and Media; Rev. Marek Novicky, Advisory.
My Memories of Serving as a Founding Member of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum’s Board of Directors
2006 seams just like yesterday. Where did the time go? Ten Years have just vanished. Events taking place during these years may be history now but they are not forgotten. Our Slovak History in Canada is a proud one and there is still much more to come.
I was born in Canada in a very small Slovak Village called Bradlo just eight (8) miles south of Hearst in North Eastern Ontario.
Although Bradlo was a Slovak Village founded in 1930 it had lost most of its Slovaks by 1950. They had migrated to Southern Ontario seeking better work opportunities and access to higher education for their children.
I was exposed too little of my Slovak Culture during my final years in Bradlo. I grew up not being aware of the many accomplishments of Slovaks in Slovakia and of Slovaks living in Canada. Like many members of a second generation immigrant family I was frustrated because I wanted to keep alive the Spirit of my parent’s Slovak culture and I did not want their contribution to Canada forgotten.
I am passionate about telling my non-Slovak Canadian friends the story of Slovak Canadians part in helping to build Canada.
I was delighted when Margaret Dvorsky who spearheaded the formation of the Museum asked me to be a Founding Board Member of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum’s Board of Directors.
I had served previously as a Board Member of the Slovak Canadian National Council (SCNC), with an informal group called the Friends of Bradlo and as an organizing committee member of the Slovak Canadian Graduates Ball known as Recognition.
The purpose of the Museum was to Showcase Slovak Canadian contributions to Canadian Society combined with exhibitions of the magnificent Culture of Slovakia our Ancestral home.
As Board members a Mission Statement was developed as follows.
“To make Canadians aware of Slovak heritage in Canada through the exhibition of heritage artifacts , educational materials and programs across Canada, and, in particular, to work actively in partnership with existing museums and organizations, including Cultural institutions in the Slovak Republic in order to maximize the advancement of our objectives.”
The Museum undertook many successful projects over the past number of years that have along with Slovakia’s current success in Sports on the World Stage made many Canadians aware of Slovaks, their Heritage and their contribution to Canada.
Today ten years after the Museum’s founding its leadership is in the capable hands of Alena Melas.
November 6, 2016