SCHM 2017 Events Calendar
Slovak Traditional Christmas Display
The museum has prepared a month long exhibit that was in the Richmond Hill Central Library at Yonge St. and Major MacKenzie Dr. The theme is “the decorating of a Slovak Christmas tree by children” with a display of a variety of heritage toys. This exhibit will run Dec. 1- 29 and is open every day. We invite you to come to see this spectacular presentation of our Slovak Christmas Traditions.
A New Home for the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum
It has been a long journey for the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum to find a new home. After the building where the museum was renting space in Oshawa got sold, the museum board started looking at locations in Mississauga in 2013 with the help of Mississauga Heritage and Mississauga Museums. Unfortunately there was nothing suitable but the SCHM managed to continue its work for the next four years from its small storage unit with co-organizing two Carassauga festivals and many other exhibits.
However, this summer the Canadian Slovak League Branch #7 wanted to make better use of the upstairs of the CSL hall by offering to rent the upstairs space for the Slovak Museum and to share the use of the hall by both CSL and SCHM for various programs and events. The SCHM would like thank the CSL’s Br. #7 for its hospitality and cooperation as it is wonderful for the Slovak Museum to have this opportunity to share this space at 259 Traders Blvd. in Mississauga. So the months of October and November were very busy months in moving the museum’s artifacts and getting them organized while we continued to do exhibits and various events.
So as you see the museum has been very busy and we are very excited about preparing a new program for next year 2018. Our web site has information on the museum’s history, past and future events at www.slovakcanadianheritagemuseum.ca If you would like to make a monitory donation, become a business sponsor, donate Slovak items or would like to help on one of the museum’s committees, you can call 416-721-7652 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“Svadba pod Tatrami”
St. Paul’s Slovak Lutheran Church will present a Theater Performance of a “Slovak Wedding” jointly with the Slovak Canadian Heritage museum providing the
costumes and displays.
The museum would like to thank Mrs. Katka Kozak for her invitation and cooperation on the show ”Svadba pod Tatrami”. Throughout September and October on Wednesday evenings we worked on bringing costumes to the theater practices to dress the actors for the Slovak Wedding show which sold out two shows. It was the dedication and hard work of the actors and the show directors that had made the show a big success on November 4th& 5th. The stage decore and a display of heritage bride dolls was also provided by the museum. Due to many inquiries another show is being arranged in the spring.
Ottawa’s Slovaks Celebrate Canada’s 150 in Style!
Sunday, October 1st. 2017 was Slovak Day in the nation’s capital. The Horticultural Pavilion in Lansdown Park was all dressed in Slovak colours inside
The SCHM participated with an impressive display of heritage artifacts in Ottawa for Canada’s 150 celebrations on October 1st. We would like to thank the Slovak Embassy in Ottawa for their invitation and support of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum. The event had over 6,000 visitors and many hours of preparation by the Embassy were evident and were acknowledged by the wonderful complements that they received for the presentation of such an elaborate event.
As you entered the main doors you were greeted by members of the Slovak Embassy with information
books, pamphlets and small souvenirs that were freely given out. Across the walkway mannequins in festive Slovak
costumes posed next to a three table exhibit of Slovak Heritage artifacts brought from Toronto for this special day. Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum’s volunteers answered many questions and shared stories that pertained to the items in the display. The Slovak Ambassador Mr. Andrej Droba and his lovely wife spoke with everyone and encouraged them to stay and see the Slovak folklore show and listen to the Fujara music. There were also information tables where Canadian Slovak League was offering free newspapers and Rudy Bies and Ondro Mihal were promoting their most recent books. Visitors could also sample three different soups, some honey and even a bit of Slovak beer. The festive atmosphere was filled with Slovak music and many young dancers were admired in their costumes.
The evening reception was by invitation only. The one hour evening program kept you on the edge of your seat so that you would not miss the perfection of the dance choreography. The speed and precision of the young professional dancers was world class. Around the pavilion elegant side tables and wine and beer bars were serving cold refreshments to complement the buffet food. A sweet table was a popular spot that gave everyone that special sweet at the end of a perfect day and evening. A lot of planning and coordinating went into preparing this event and the employees at the Slovak Embassy did a first class job.
Congratulations on your success. You made us proud!
Fifty years in Canada
The Báž Family came to Toronto on November 17, 1967. Over those fifty years, we have traveled but most of the time it was to somewhere else, not so much in Canada. On this anniversary year of Canada’s 150 and our 50 year arrival to Canada, it was time to go and see this beautiful country. The trip plan was to go east by airplane to Halifax and then take the train back to Toronto stopping to visit Quebec City and Montreal.
This trip was in part to symbolically recreate the train travel that my grandfather would have done in 1928 when he arrived in Canada. He later returned back to Slovakia in 1952. My dilemma was that we did not know if he arrived through the ports of Halifax, Montreal or Quebec City. So my search began on June 1st, 2017 when I visited the immigration museum at Pier 21 in Halifax. I spoke with Sarah in the research library and she helped me with the computer search entering Ondrej Baz 1928. She had found the Canadian Government’s Immigration Service records and we found his name.
The record stated his full name as Adam Ondrej Báž, born in Dobrá, Czechoslovakia, nationality Slovak, wife’s name is Mrs. Maria Báž who lived in Trenčiankská Teplá, his passport was issued in Trenčin; he had left Paris on April 2, 1928 and sailed from the Port of Bordeaux, France on April 14 and arrived in Halifax on April 25, 1928. The crossing across the Atlantic Ocean took 11 days. As people got off the ships at Pier 21 and entered the building through large double doors, walked down the hall to a waiting area with benches where they then waited to be seen be an immigration officer. If the interview went well, a Landed Immigrant stamp was given and he could continue his travels. His arrangement was to work as a farm labourer in the area of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
All this was new information that we never had. My father knew that his father was working in lumber camps in the Calgary area but that was it. You can only imagine my delight in all this new information.
My other part of my visit at Pier 21 was to visit the plaque and the bench that the SCNC and the Slovak community had sponsored. The wall with all the plaques was in the lobby area of the second floor of the museum but I could not find benches with brass name plates of the donors. I inquired with the staff lady Julia who informed me that they have upgraded the benches as the use by many visitors had made them wobbly so new better quality benches were purchased. At this point I went to change into my Slovak costume from Trenčianská Teplá that I had brought with me. Julia was pleased to take as many pictures of me as I wished. We took some by the plaque and some in the immigration room with the new benches. After viewing the museum and reading much of the information I enjoyed just sitting there quietly absorbing the atmosphere and thinking about all the thousands of people that have traveled through here to their new homeland.
I stayed three days in Halifax vising the citadel, the marine museum, toured the city and then cruised around the harbour. A whale watching trip was chilli but fascinating going out the Halifax Harbour into the Atlantic Ocean. We did not see any whales but we did see many other things.
The train to Quebec City went through the night. For the next three days I stayed in a boutique hotel that once was a residence for the Ursuline nuns. As a child my mother was taught by the Ursuline sisters in Slovakia. Their complex had several buildings and I visited their small museum. Part of a city tour took us past the Plains of Abraham where the French and the English had fought the decisive battle that had ended in a victory for the English. A harbour cruise with a lunch on a sunny day had the most beautiful view of the city from the waters of the St. Lawrence River. It is truly a beautiful city.
My train trip continued to Montreal. I visited the Slovak Lutheran Church and met Linda Sitar-Aloisio, and then took the Metro to the Slovak Roman Catholic Church and had a lovely visit with my friend Betty Valenta. The next day I visited St. Joseph’s Oratory and the Cathedral where Celine Dion had her wedding. It happened to be the weekend of the Formula One Races so the city was a buzz.
The last train ride brought me from Montreal to Toronto recreating our arrival to Canada 50 years ago. This trip out east was an unforgettable commemoration of a part of my family’s history. My travels continued through the summer with more searching for information on my grandfather and travel out west.
St. Catharines Doors Open
The Annual Doors Open in Thorold is at Holy Rosary Parish Hall. The Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum will bring a beautiful heritage display of the most recent acquisitions.
Slovaks Recognized at the Ontario 2017 Volunteer Service Awards
On May 11, 2017, an Ontario Volunteer Services Awards Ceremony took place in Markham Ontario recognizing over 200 people for years of volunteer service with a given organization. On May 18, the Niagara Region had its awards ceremonies.
Among the honorees were a number of Slovak Canadians recognized for their years of service with the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum.
Recipients in Markham included:
Rudy Bies 10 years
Helen Bucic 10 years
Luba Henderson 10 years
Alena Melas 10 years
Anne Mitro 5 years
Recipients in Stoney Creek/Hamilton/Niagara included:
Anne Smith 5 years
Mary Sirotnik 10 years
Andrew Tapajna 10 years
It was an exciting evening and, in the true spirit of multiculturalism, volunteers from many cultures had an opportunity to mix and mingle in this celebration. The event opened with a stirring rendition of O Canada – appropriate for the celebration of Canada’s 150 Birthday and an Ontario 150 event.
The Awards were presented by Maureen Buckley, Assistant Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, with many friends and relatives capturing the special moments on their cameras! After the formal presentation, a reception offered an opportunity for mingling of award winners, families and friends.
It was a proud moment, particularly for those who give generously of their time and service without expectation of recognition. Opportunities such as this one are a nice thank you to those who give back to the community and nice public profile for Ontario to recognize Slovak Canadians for their contribution.
Barbara (Bies) Boyd
MARY SIROTNIK (10 Years)
Mary is one of the founding members of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum (SCHM) that was established in 2006. She has served on the board since then as Secretary.
Her dedication and immense knowledge and expertise in administratively running a corporation are great assets to our organization comprised strictly of volunteers. Mary was born in Canada in 1935 to Slovak immigrants. While she never visited the country of birth of her parents, her dedication to the Slovak community always shone and came through. She travels to monthly board meetings and various events that the SCHM organizes, driving for several hours from the Niagara region to Toronto. She always actively participated in events organized by Slovak community organizations in the Niagara region for decades where she is also a volunteer member. Mary is always very helpful, ready to give advice and work for the betterment of the society and humanity in general.
We appreciate very much Mary’s devotion and many hours of hard work with us.
ANNE SMITH (5 years)
Anne has been a valued volunteer board member of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum (SCHM) for the past 5 years. She brought with her a passion for history, specifically the history of immigrants settling in Canada and their contribution to the development and growth of Canada. Anne’s interest in genealogy brought a new twist to her research and she implemented a system of oral history of Slovaks immigrating and settling in this beautiful country.
Anne’s passion, empathy, hard work, enthusiasm and knowledge became invaluable contributors to our organization. Born in Canada to parents of Slovak origin, Anne never visited Slovakia. However her dedication to Slovak community in Canada is admirable.
Anne has been volunteering in several Slovak organizations in the Niagara region for decades and we were very pleased when she joined our board 5 years ago.
ALENA MELAS (10 years)
Alena is one of the founding members of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum (SCHM) which was officially established in 2006. She served on the board for over 6 years, the last 3 years as president. Alena immigrated to Canada in 1967 from former Czechoslovakia with her parents. She never forgot her roots as she actively participated in Slovak events for the past 50 years.
Being a volunteer member of the SCHM for more than 10 years, Alena greatly utilized her artistic, creative talents especially during our exhibitions. She singlehandedly set up exhibits with various themes that became very illustrative and educational to visitors.
After being elected president of SCHM she devoted even more time to the Slovak Museum and her organizational skills became more apparent. Alena in the past decades participated in other Slovak organizations as a volunteer member or served on the board. We are very happy to have Alena lead our organization at this time.
Luba Henderson, PhD, MBA
Luba was one of the founding members of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum which was incorporated in 2006. Since the first day, Luba served on Board in the capacity as Treasurer. However, her education, business experiences and strong skills in marketing made her a valuable contributor and support in many other areas of running the organization. Good command of the Slovak language makes her indispensable when we are required to communicate with the Slovak Republic. Luba gives generously of her time with administrative support to the board members and is actively involved in all the events the museum prepares. She is well known in the Slovak community as she served as a volunteer on other boards and was involved in several projects over the last 3 decades. Luba is a strong proponent of the Slovak Canadian Heritage in Canada.
Helen was involved with The Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum since the beginning as she was one the founding members. Helen has been part of the group of volunteers that through her involvement in her church has helped to develop this museum organization. Her past leadership experiences in other Slovak organizations give Helen the insight into fundraising events, volunteer support and financial development. Helen actively participates in all Slovak museum events and helps with several administrative responsibilities.
Rudy was one the founding members of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum, established in 2006. Rudy has a big heart for Slovak Canadian Heritage. Rudy was born in Canada of Slovak parents that immigrated in 1920’s and is a strong proponent of the Bradlo, the community in northern Ontario where he grew up. The original community near Hearst had about 100 families and does not exist anymore. However, Rudy and Friends of Bradlo continue to keep it on the map with a Historic designation Plaque and proper cemetery headstones so that this past community shall always be remembered with respect to those original settlers.
Rudy had to recently retire from the board however he continues to support Slovak community by actively participating in all events we organize.
Andrew was one of the founding members of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum which was established in 2006. His professional experience as an educator and school principal gave Andrew many skills to help guide our museum. For over five years Andrew helped to advise the SCHM board and gave a hand with manning our displays at many exhibit events. Andrews many other volunteer positions became over demanding and Andrew felt the need to cut back his many volunteer hours. We miss him very much but our door is always open to him.
Anne came on the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum board five years ago and has been a vital link for us and the Slovak community especially in Mississauga. Anne’s vast knowledge of the Slovak organizations in the GTA helps us to plan events for the SCHM and to promote our events to those organizations and their membership. Anne has been involved in the Slovak community since a very young age and gives many hours of volunteer time to several Slovak organizations. We are very fortunate to have Anne on our board to guide and support the museum.
Easter Bazaar in Mississauga
The Slovak community in Mississauga has its special Easter tradition. After the Palm Sunday mass at Sts. Cyril & Methodius church in Mississauga, there is a rush of parishioners to the church
hall to take part in the Easter bazaar. Various areas are set up to buy Easter goodies. From hurkas and kolbassy, cabbage rolls and knendle to baked goods were available to buy. There was also honey and local Slovak cheese for sale.
The Slovak ladies craft group had a table of crystal and wonderful hand crafted goods available. They also had a white elephant table set up for anyone looking for some bargains to take home.
Also taking part was the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum. Once again this year, Alena, Iveta, Luba, and Eva were demonstrating the making and colouring of Slovak Easter eggs. Some of the work is time consuming, but the end result is always amazing.
Congratulations to all those who made the event possible, to those selling and demonstrating in the main hall,
also to the ladies who aren’t always seen working in the kitchen.
Until next year…
Imagine 100 festive dressed dolls dancing and playing under the May Pole!
The April Easter Exhibit presented by the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum at the Richmond Hill Central Library at 1 Atkinson St. in the Yonge St. and Major MacKenzie Dr. area of Richmond Hill is a huge attraction often having groups standing there for long periods of time trying to see everything.
In the center is the May Pole, a true symbol of spring. Families with young girls of age for courtship, would stand a May Pole in front of their home so that the village boys would know they would be welcome to come calling on the young lady. Many Folk dances and games were played by children around the May Poles.
April showers bring May flowers is a popular saying. But what if the rain drops are made of festive coloured eggs? Is it really raining Eggs? You can hardly believe your own eyes! Will all those eggs on the ground hatch into baby chicks, you wonder. This is the make belief of what helps children use their imagination.
One very popular Slovak custom is to hang decorated Easter Eggs on branches of Pussy Willows. The tradition of painting Easter eggs is handed down from mother to daughter. In the weeks before Easter, ladies meet with their friends for a time of egg decorating and socializing as they each need several dozen eggs to give as gifts and to use to decorate their home. Friends and family are eager to see the beautiful designs and delight in exchanging these gifts.
Not only is there over 100 dolls in this festive exhibit but also just as many Easter Eggs! WOW! We invite everyone to take a little time this month and come and visit the library, it is open every day and the building won the 1993 Governor General’s Award for Architecture. You can preview the exhibit on the library or the museum Facebook page and the museum web-site,
An exhibit from the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum at The Grange 1921 Dundas Street West, Mississauga
After a Christmas break, the New Year 2017, saw the continuation of the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum 10th anniversary celebration at the Grange in Mississauga. The opening of the art exhibit was cancelled on the 10th due to bad weather. Fortunately the event was moved to Saturday morning. All of the artists were able to make the opening. Present were Marta and Leo Cechovsky, Urban Franko, Ed Kuris and Silvia Damar Radvansky.
The artists had different styles that made for an exciting and vibrant presentation. Those that came to see the exhibit were impressed with the work of our local artists. If you haven’t yet made it out to see the exhibit, TRY and make it out to the Grange, and see some of the hidden talent that we have in our Slovak community. The exhibit is on until Jan. 27th.
Also taking place on the same day was a Slovak Genealogy workshop presented by board member Anne Smith [Kosco]. Anne gave a very interesting presentation of the arrival of the Slovaks to Canada with all their trials and tribulations – their victories and defeats. She then told those in attendance a short history of her family’s arrival in Canada. Also giving personal stories of family arrivals in Canada were Stefan Reistetter, Alena Melas and Rudy Bies. The stories were of different kinds of struggles each family had to overcome but at the same time there were similarities in the family values, hard work ethics, religious devotion, education aspirations and a loving family environment. They all found their way to a Slovak community which helped them to grow in faith, prosperity and happiness in their new home, Canada.
On Tuesday, January 17, 6:30 to 8:00 pm, members of the SCHM Genealogy Committee will present a workshop on preserving family history and the importance of acknowledging our Slovak Canadian pioneer heritage. Try and make time to come out and see how you can preserve your Slovak heritage for yourself and your family.
Esther Bryan (Gazdik), the initiator of the Quilt of Belonging