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


A PLACE TO SHOW OUR STUFF

Just about every major city in North America has a museum and an art gallery in which the cultural arts of civilizations past and present are displayed.

Where does one go to see the Slovak contributions to North American life? Where do you take your children to show them what Slovaks have done in Canada and the United States?

When my mother died we children fell heir to piles of formal photographs of Slovak wedding parties taken in the 30s and the 40s.There are probably descendants of people in those pictures who have never seen these photos. We have photographs taken at picnics and of casts of plays that were put on under the church. Today they are terrific memories of our community's past, as well as a great remembrance to the families of those who are in those photographs.

But who will ever see them?

We have tremendous artists like the Kovaliks (father and son), Marta Brestovanka, Andy Lukacko, etc. Wouldn't it be great to have a place where their works with others could be on permanent display to show Canadians and Americans what our artists are achieving here?

Think of the trophies and medals our athletes have won. What a great exhibit it would be for them and photographs of their moments of success for us and for others to see.

Our dance groups have evolved into professionalism, and many of their performances are on photograph and on film. One exhibit could show these together with the costumes they wore, and costumes which our parents brought with them to North America when they immigrated here.

When the new Sts. Cyrils & Methodius church was being dedicated, I could not help but think of the many hours my mother spent embroidering vestments for use by the then Father Shuba at the dedication of the original church and at Mass. Where are those priceless vestments now? Can they be traced? They would be valuable articles to show what work our people did and what kind of vestments were used in services in those beginning days of our parishes.

Think of the success our people have been in music, art and drama (Dobias, Schramek). The success in medicine (the Doctors Sirek), Steve Roman in the uranium mining industry, our computer wizards (Sirocky, Slama, Lukac), our Slovak politicians who made it to the Canadian Parliament (Tony Roman, Paul Szabo), the Ontario Legislature (George Ben, Peter Kormos) and the many others of whom I am not aware but who should be honoured with space at the Exposition of Slovak Life in Canada.

At a time when we are closing down our halls and churches and losing contact with each other, we need to consider ways of keeping the community together, perhaps in ways you had not considered before possible. We may not be able to meet regularly because of space, time and distance, but we must preserve the community as a community in Canada including by being proud of what was here before so that we can continue contributing both to the North American lifestyle that is developing here, and also to the reputation of the country of our heritage by our presence here.

Every community has its remembrances and evidence of the past. But what good does it do the community to have it packed away in a closet where no one can see it?

Let our churches and our fraternals take the lead in making museums a project they can jointly sponsor.

The time has come to do these things.

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.