Branch 63 of The Canadian Slovak League


Branch 63 of the Canadian Slovak League (CSL) was established on November 11, 1951 on the initiative of Imrich Stolarik and thirteen fellow post-war refugees from Slovakia. Stolarik initially served as branch secretary but in 1954 was elected president and continued to serve in that capacity until 1997 when he stepped down and was elected honorary life president. He was succeeded by his good friend Jan Geleta, a post-1968 refugee, who led the branch until 2007. In that year the writer of this short history was elected president.  The Ottawa branch grew to a maximum of 82 members in 1981 but has slowly declined since then.

In spite of its small size, Branch 63 has a long list of achievements.
It was responsible for the establishment of a weekly mass in the Slovak language in Ottawa between 1951 and 1964 and a monthly mass between1970 and the present at the Polish parish of St. Hyacinth. It also sponsored annual St. Nicholas celebrations in early December from 1974 through 2004, organized by Hyacinta Belloni. Finally, it participated in the archdiocesan Multicultural Mass in January of every year from 1986 to the present, again organized by Hyacinta Belloni.

On the political front, Branch 63 celebrated Slovak Independence Day (March 14th) from 1951 to 1993. It hosted a yearly programme on CKCH radio every March 14th between 1952 and 1970. It also arranged for the Slovak flag to be flown at Ottawa’s City Hall on the same date from 1974 to 1985. Finally, Branch 63 inaugurated an annual Independence Day Ball at the Slovak Embassy on January 1, 1993. The members and officers closely cooperate with the staff of the Slovak Embassy to promote the good name of Slovakia in all fields of endeavor.

The Ottawa branch has also been active in promoting Slovak culture. In 1978 it established the monthly “Slovak Spectrum” on Cable television, which was initially produced by Emil Purgina, then by Margita Moore from 1982 through 2002, and which is currently produced by George Frajkor with the assistance of Anne Ladouceur and Livia Koneval. In 1980 it inaugurated the Saturday Slovak School, which is still going strong. It also lobbied for and supported the Chair in Slovak History and Culture at the University of Ottawa. Three of its members (Imrich Stolarik, Mark Stolarik and George Frajkor) also sent regular reports to its weekly “Kanadsky Slovak.” Imrich Stolarik also edited five issues of the annual “Kalendar Kanadskej Slovenskej Ligy” and compiled and edited two books about the Canadian Slovak League.
On the social front, Branch 63 provided the Slovak community with all sorts of entertainment. It sponsored countless dances, plays, and musical performances in the basement of St. Hyacinth church, as well as picnics on the properties of the late Jan Geleta, Hyacinta Belloni and Margita Moore. In the last few years Branch 63 has sponsored the 15th Anniversary of Slovak Independence Ball at the Embassy of the Slovak Republic (2008) and an Oktoberfest “Dozinky” Dinner and Dance in October 2009.  It plans to organize many more such celebrations in the future.

Finally, Branch 63 has contributed the largest number of national officers in the history of the League: one honorary life president (Imrich Stolarik1987-2000) and four presidents (Imrich Stolarik, 1978-1981; M. Mark Stolarik, 1994-1999; George Frajkor, 2004-2007 and Mary Ann Doucette, 2007 to the present.   

M. Mark Stolarik


The Canadian Slovak
259 Traders Blvd. East,
Unit 6
Mississauga Ontario
L4Z 2E5 Canada