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


PROJECTS TO CONSIDER

Inevitably in discussing the future of our community, we must discuss what is there that will mark us out as a special community deserving of continuing into the future.

Obviously there is need to impress upon the general Canadian (and American) public that Slovaks are living lives as Canadians here (and as Americans in the U.S.) while at the same time retaining elements of our Slovak culture and heritage.

How do we do this? Sometimes the answers are simple and obvious.

1. In every community, no matter how big or small, where there are Slovaks, there should be a listing in the telephone book "Slovak Canadian" (or "Slovak American" in the U.S.) followed by a telephone number of a local person to contact, or a church or an organization. The cost is small because it is simply an addition to the present listing of the holder of the telephone number. But this way travellers through the area would know there was a Slovak in the area who could tell them what there was in the area of interest, or just be a person to talk to.

I know in my travels across this country on business, that often in the evening stuck in a hotel room, I wish I had known some Slovak in town just to keep them and me in contact as Slovaks.

2. Get a subscription to a Slovak newspaper, like the Jednota (or the Kanadsky Slovak, to keep in touch with the community. The editors would like to hear from correspondents what is happening in our communities across Canada (and the U.S.).

The newspaper can't publish items which are designed to hurt or to accuse people. They do have to be interesting however. The readers want to learn about the positive things that Slovaks are doing. We need some historical material, the lives of some of our pioneers, the remembrances, how communities started in remote areas. But it is up to you -- not your neighbour -- to make sure that your community is mentioned in the newspaper because the newspaper has no resources to send out reporters to write those articles about your community for you.

3. Our community has seen some facilities close down because not enough Slovaks attended functions there. As our Slovak community expands in Canada, there are still no areas where enough Slovaks live, to provide a sufficient number of people, to attend local community events.

This is discouraging to organizers of the events, but that is the way of life in Canada. Not everyone lives close enough to ensure a good attendance at these events.

Every Slovak in Canada must make an effort to attend Slovak functions a minimum four time a year, no matter where he or she lives. It is essential that Slovaks register with one of the many parishes we have so that there is a list of where you and others like you are. But then you've got to commit yourself to come to church every once in a while.

We have been surprised and delighted with the crowds attending the new Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church in Mississauga which replaced the old one downtown where parking was practically non-existent and served as a deterrent for people wanting to go. Look what has happened in Winnipeg where the number of Slovaks attending became so small that the diocese, unable to find a Slovak priest, turned it over to a Filipino priest who of course attracted so many Filipinos in Winnipeg that the church has lost its identity as being a Slovak parish church.

If Slovaks expect to have churches, organizations, fraternal and other things that made us proud as Slovaks in Canada to know they were there, we've got to use them. It's a numbers game to the authorities.

If you don't use our Slovak churches, halls and organizations, you'll lose them. Ak nebudeme vyuzivat nase slovenske kostoly, haly a organizacie, navzdy ich stratime.

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.
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Last update on
May 29, 1997.