LIVING SLOVAK
THE CHURCHES, CENTRES OF ACTIVITY
THE ORGANIZATIONS
WILL YOU SPEAK SLOVAK?
THE UNKNOWN ARTS
SOCIAL NEEDS
COMMUNICATIONS
IS IT TIME TO GO BACK?
IT'S ONLY POLITICS
YOU'VE GOT TO BE THERE
WHO WILL SPEAK FOR US?
REMEMBERING THE PAST
THE WIRED COMMUNITY
PROJECTS TO CONSIDER
SPORTS TIMES
A PLACE TO SHOW OUR STUFF
THE STRUGGLING ARTS
COME TOGETHER
WHAT YOU MUST DO
SLOVAK SOM, AJ SLOVAK BUDEM!

Slovaks in Canada
in the Year 2000

by John V. Stephens, Q.C.,
Honorary Consul, Slovak Republic


YOU'VE GOT TO BE THERE

To keep our Slovak community in Canada together, we need to hold events and conduct our activities which will attract our people back to the community.

Even more important there has to be a feeling that attending these events gives one the chance to associate with people one is proud to associate with, especially with those members of our community who have made it, those people who have become prominent and successful in Canadian and American life.

The attraction of the event would be even more pleasing if those who are prominent in our community and those who have become stars were also to attend. Any event that attracts a Eugene Cernan, a Robert Urich, a George Shuba, a Stan Mikita, makes the event more enjoyable because we see them taking pride in their Slovak roots, and we take the same pride in seeing one of our own having become a success in Canada and the U.S. still associating with the community.

Everyone of us should make an effort to attend the performances of our young people in their folk dance and choral groups. They need financial support, but even more they need an audience to make them feel that what they are doing to keep our culture alive,is worth it.

There are events around Toronto during the year which Slovaks simply have to attend: Martin Luther Day, Slovak Day (CSL) picnic, Slovak pilgrimage to Martyrs' Shrine, Jednota Family Picnic, Odpust at Cambridge, Slovak Constitution Day, Cyrillo-Methodian Day at the Cathedral.

In addition there are the Church calendar events: Christmas, Easter, and Mission Days which are designed to service the religious needs of the community.

These are the minimum events Slovaks must attend to keep the community going. They must also participate in Slovak organizations and activities because without them, the community will cease to exist in Canada.

One way to keep our young as part of the community is through athletics: baseball, bowling, soccer, tennis and gymnastics. We must develop these activities and give them a Slovak profile so that others will know there are Slovaks in Canada. Everytime I hear native people get upset about the name Cleveland Indians or Washington Redskins, I feel like telling them that we wouldn't mind these organizations changing their names to Cleveland Slovaks or Washington Slovaks!

We should consider how to establish a Slovak presence in our Canadian and American activities. Let's have our choirs compete at festivals.

Slovakia today is an independent state which celebrates its Independence on January 1 (not a day conducive to holding ceremonies because of other competing events already taking place that day), and its Constitution on September 1st.

There are those who still wish to celebrate March 14th in honour of the First Slovak Republic, and that is well and good. But our efforts now must be to honour our present Slovak Republic, the

free and independent state for which we had for so many years longed. We should make both January 1 and September 1 grand days, and we should fly the Slovak flag from our homes on those days. Slovak organizations should sponsor receptions that day for other

Canadians and Americans to remind them of our outstanding achievements, independence and freedom. There should be masses of thanksgiving those days.

As time goes one, Slovak musicians and artists will be making plans to travel to North America, we should try to attend their concerts.

These things benefit our community and help us maintain our pride in our Slovak heritage.

Copyright of "Slovaks in Canada in the Year 2000" 1996 - John V. Stephens, Q.C.
All other contents & photographs 1997, Ondro Mihal.
All comments should be forwarded to
Ondro Mihal at omihal@slovak.com.
Best viewed by
Nescape 3.0+ and heard* on RealAudio 3.0.
Last update on
May 29, 1997.