How do we tell our
children what Slovaks have accomplished in Canada
and the U.S., if we have no place to show them,
no movies or photographs for them to see, no
books for them to read?
A few years ago, a monument was erected at
Frank, Alberta, where many Slovaks miners died
when the mountain by which they were living
literally fell in on them as they slept. Today
the marker bearing the Slovak cross and emblem is
seen by thousands of travellers making their way
across Canada along the Trans Canada Highway, and
who stop in at the government historic centre.
Everyone is made aware that Slovaks were there.
Recently the Slovak Canadian National Council
was approached again by a number of people whose
forefathers settled outside Hearst, Ontario, and
named their settlement Bradlo, in honor of the
place where the Slovakian hero, Gen. Milan
Rastislav Stefanik was buried. They too wanted a
monument honoring Slovak pioneers.
There are few of the pioneering families left
now, and very little to remind Canadians of the
Slovak origin of the town. But in July a
commemorative historical plaque will be unveiled
by the province there.
There are many more examples like this across
Canada, this huge country, as our people just
move off to other places and leave their past
The other day I was browsing through old
wedding photographs my mother and father had left
us, but now even I have difficulty recognizing
some of the people. How great it would be to have
our artifacts and photographs in a centre where
our young could go to learn about their Slovak
I thought about the many priest's vestments my
mother had embroidered and wondered where they
are now. The many krojs from parts of Slovakia
that made their way to Canada now locked up in
our closets. We need a place to show off our
culture and our past.
We need a cultural centre where these kinds of
things could be displayed and kept for the
There are so many Slovaks who have
accomplished so much in politics, sports,
business, journalism, medicine and yet so few of
us are aware of what they have done, and that
they too were proud Slovaks!
We have many artists who could loan such a
centre examples of their works, and make our
people aware of the work they do, and at the same
time let other Canadians visiting the centre be
aware of what great Slovak artists we have in
Think of the thousands of photographs that
have been taken showing our community at work,
prayer and at play. What a fascinating display
that would be.
Our dance groups have been captured forever on
film and video. What a pleasant way for our youth
to spend time looking at how we did things, and
they can do even better!
Our fraternals and our business men have often
complained that there are no projects in the
community at the present time. I appeal to them
to consider how much a cultural centre would
serve as a museum of our past and as a direction
toward our future.
Our parents came with little but their empty
hands, yet built for us our community. It now is
up to us, with our affluence, education and our
positions in Canadian and American society to
make sure that the community survives and the
efforts of our parents are not forgotten.