A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
Episodes Search Site Map The Series Partners White Pine White Pine Home


General History

LEGACY

The Boatswain's Radovan Gajic has lived in Canada for almost 14 years. He has become known in Toronto's Serbian community for his involvement with the radio program White Angel, and the periodicals Glasnik, Istocnik and Novine and through his work with various community groups.

The ethnic radio programmes, periodicals and groups and organizations all are examples of a thriving community, determined to persevere and survive.

A significant 70% of second and subsequent generation Serbs in Canada have maintained the Serbian language. Almost all Canadian Serbians have adhered to the Serbian Orthodox Church. Serbian Canadian communities have built an estimated 15 churches and cultural centres across the country. The first Serbian Orthodox Church built in Canada was Svete Trojice in Regina in 1916. Serbian churches in Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, Niagara Falls, Kitchener and Sudbury are recognizable by their distinctive Byzantine architectural design.

Canadian Serbs have also made their presence known through the publication of several newspapers and journals. The first Serbian newspaper in Canada, Kanadski Glasnki (Canadian Herald), was started in 1916 and was published in Welland, Ontario. It was followed by many others. Various publications have also been put out by the Church, congregations, women, youth, students, business-professional groups.

Serbian voluntary associations and organizations have been established to ease the economic hardships of new immigrants and to help in the adjustment to Canadian society. Toronto's Serbian Centre for Newcomers is one example. Others include the Serbian Brothers' Help and two organizations of the Serbian National Defence, one of which dates to 1916.

The Serbian National Heritage Academy has been active in inviting prominent Serbian writers and historians from Yugoslavia and other countries to Canada for public lectures. Other cultural and historical societies include "Njegos," "Karadjordje" and Tesla Memorial Society. There are also several youth folklore organizations such as the "Oplenac" and "Jajduk Veljko" dance groups in Toronto. The first Serbian Day was held in Canada in 1946, and annual festivals featuring singers and dancers are sponsored by Serbian and other Yugoslav organizations. Many Canadians of Serbian origin who are talented in creative writing have joined other Yugoslavian Canadians in Toronto in the formation of literature appreciation clubs.

In his writing, Radovan Gajic doesn't consider himself a peacemaker or a preacher for peace. If his writing serves to enlighten people about the situation in the Balkans then he considers it has had some value. But more than any other reason, Gajic writes because he still carries a certain hope. It's a hope common to many immigrants: hope for a better future for their children. Gajic's daughter Ana was born in Canada in 1992. Ana's grandparents were pleasantly surprised that she speaks her native language so well. And Gajic is glad his daughter is growing up in a peaceful climate and that she can one day become whatever she wants. Despite all the opportunities allowed to the Yugoslavian community in Canada for regrowth and renewal, it is the freedom of Ana's future that Radovan appreciates most about making a home here in Canada.

Footnotes:
The 1998 Canadian & World Encyclopedia
(McClelland and Stewart, Toronto, 1998).

Bosnia-Hercegovina: The International Response, by Vincent Rigby
(Library of Parliament, Political and Social Affairs Division, Ottawa, 1994).

Previous Page - - Next Page


Top of page.