When Alexander Szpak and his family immigrated to Canada in 1900,
they left behind much economic and social uncertainty in their native
Ukraine. Once in their new home, however, they took up homesteading
and faced gruelling work and horrendous hardship. One winter they
lost two children to Tuberculosis. It was also during winter that
Alexander Szpak's life was taken when his horses and sleigh became
caught on some icy train-tracks. He left behind a young family to
continue their life on their own in Canada.
Canadian writer and filmmaker Harvey Spak is Alexander's grandson. Looking back, Spak
believes "the fullness of time" had come for his grandfather; that he had brought his family to
Canada and got them on their feet and that tragedies like these are part of the immigrant
Once immigrants find the courage to leave their homeland, how do they find the courage to
persevere on the long and arduous journey of re-establishing themselves in a new life?