Ludvík Martinů is changing the world (Ludvík Martinů mění svět)

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Man can change the world in many ways: by planting thousands (or one) trees, by building skyscrapers, by writing a poem, painting a landscape, composing a song. Or by trying to find – and finding – ways how to increase our knowledge about the universe or the human brain or how to do things differently and better. A man we wrote about sometime a year ago, Ludvík Martinů, fits in the last mentioned group. Some of us know, that he is a distinguished scientist; some know him as a member of the Montreal unit of the Sokol Gymnastic Organization, and still others as the husband of Alena, the author of a fascinating book. This brief comment is about Ludvík Martinů, the scientist (and entrepreneur).

He graduated in Prague in 1985 in a mysterious field known as Nanocomposite films formed by metal clusters in dielectric matrices fabricated by a hybrid PECVD process. Continue reading

Josef Čermák: Four Encounters with H. Gordon Skilling

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(This article was sent to the organizer of the conference, Professor Vilem Prečan. This is his response: „Many thanks for your excellent contribution. It will be posted on the conference website and distributed in written form to all conference participants.”)

I don’t recall when I met Gordon for the first time. Actually, I feel that I sort of knew him always.

68Publishers

It must have been around the time Zdena and Josef Škvorecky arrived in Canada, because I remember how deeply Gordon was involved in the establishment of 68Publishers (Sixty-Eight Publishers), the institution which started with nothing and was to play such an immense role in the survival of the Czech literature during the 40 years of the Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. My main involvement was as a lawyer doing the legal work in connection with the incorporation of the charitable corporation which received its charter in 1972 and during its existence published more than 220 titles, after the manuscripts of many of them were smuggled from Czechoslovakia. Continue reading

Friends of Bohemian National Cemetery Announces Ceremony Hall Art Restoration Project

Phase One of the Restoration of the Ceremony Hall Begins

CHICAGO, ILL. November 9, 2011 — The restoration of the Ceremony Hall in the crematorium/columbarium building at Bohemian National Cemetery began on November 1, 2011. Noted Moravian-born artist John A. Mallin decorated the Ceremony Hall in 1918 and led previous restoration efforts in 1928 and 1948. The current restoration project, initiated by Friends of Bohemian National Cemetery, is the first in almost 65 years.

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Vladimír M. Rydlo – a Czech Engineer in Atomic Energy of Canada Limited – 80 Today

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In his younger days, he must have been a handsome fellow. Even today – even though time had bowed him a bit, and thinned his once luxurious lock of hair – he looks quite good. If you peered deeply into his eyes, you’d see in them shadows indicating that life did not always treat him (as it had hardly anyone) with much consideration.

Vladimír was born on November 11, 1931 in Pilsen’s maternity hospital (the family lived in Kralovice). It was in Kralovice, where Vladimír attended public school. During the war – in 1941 – his father, a professor at agricultural school, was transferred to Novy Bydžov, where – two years later- he was appointed deputy director. Continue reading

Celebration of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Michel Sokol unit

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The last hurrah (poslední hurá)

The region that witnessed the establishment of the first Sokol unit (and probably of any Czech or Slovak organization in Canada) is a region of magic names:  Rocky Mountains, Crow’s Nest Pass, Turtle Mountain, Elk river, Porcupine Hills, Deception Mountain, Coal Creek… A region where in the autumn dark green spruces and birches (at least I think it’s birches) dressed in gold march up the mountains’ hillsides, where at night a fairy tale  moon shines through the veils of vapor, drawing close to the mountain peaks and when – at daytime – the sun is hidden behind the clouds, the mountains which charmed at night, look down at you threateningly and with utter contempt. Continue reading

Marketa Slepčíková: 8 years and 400 programs on Czech Television in Toronto

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Author: Josef Čermák (CzechFolks.com PLUS)

Czech (or Czechoslovak) television in Canada is nothing new: Vladimír Bubak and David Ševčík started broadcasting their programs in Kitchener-Waterloo in 1978, in Ottawa the first broadcast (Arnošt Wagner) took place even earlier (1973), in London the creators of a television program were a husband and wife team, Josef and Ružena Mára. Perhaps the most significant was the TV program in Toronto, a child of Milo Kubik (I was his happy assistant). But of course none of those programs could match in scope the Nová vize of Marketa Slepčíková-Rešovská.

Whenever I talk to Marketa, it hits me how much the world has changed during the 87 years of my earthly visit. Imagine (for example) a business street in a city of almost any size 87 years ago, a street where women used to come to shop. Prams everywhere. Continue reading

63. Czechoslovak (Czech and Slovak) day at Masaryktown

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Author: Josef Čermák (CzechFolks.com PLUS)

Weather and the opening ceremonies
The Czechoslovak (and later Czech and Slovak) Days used to be held on Sunday and the weather (if my recollection is correct) behaved as it should. Switching the date of our important day to Saturday apparently displeased the gods of weather and they started to spray us. This year wasn’t an exception, even though – although the sky over Masaryktown was full of playful clouds – it didn’t rain there. It rained though all around and that certainly affected the afternoon crowd. Continue reading

Richard Krpač’s Last Day in Toronto

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Author: Josef Čermák (CzechFolks.com PLUS)

An evening in the Mysteriously Yours Theatre in Toronto
Richard Krpač completed his four year tour of duty as the first Consul General of the Czech Republic in Toronto on June 30th. He left behind a terrific amount of work, starting – as we have already reported – with bringing into the Czech-Canadian circle an impressive number of highly successful countrymen and countrywomen, who until that time had little contact with the community. One of his most memorable actions was the evening at the Hart House of the University of Toronto, which he named Glamorous Prague, an event in which he managed to bring together hockey, Canadian Indian children, and Czech models. Continue reading

The saga of the “Prague” deli on the Toronto’s “Queen Street” (Sága “Pražského” uzenářství na “Královnině ulici” v Torontu

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Author: Josef Čermák (CzechFolks.com PLUS)

It all started long time ago. Next year, it will be 60 years. In 1952 Jaroslav Roušal opened in a building municipally known as 638 Queen Street West in Toronto “J. Rousal Prague Ham Shop”. It was the first establishment in Toronto making Prague ham and sausages. The Roušal family continued in this business until 1968 (I stopped there occasionally for sausages or other goodies, but because it happened long time ago and my memory isn’t all that good anymore, I don’t remember too much about the Rousal years, and will move directly to the Pichlik family dynasty). That year (1968, when in Prague and actually all across the land, Prague Spring filled the streets with a new hope – and then came the tanks from the east), in the fall, the Prague Ham Shop was bought by the Pichlik family.  Continue reading

Concert in Memory of Patriška ze Slaného

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Author: Josef Čermák

The concert on Sunday, November 28, 2010, one in the series of Dr. Miloš Krajný’s Nocturnes, was sponsored by the estate and family of Patriška ze Slaného, Vlasty Scheybalová, born Provazníková. Both CzechFolks and the Toronto Satellite published articles about Vlasta a few months ago.

Today, just a few dates: Vlasta was born in 1928 in Slaný and she died there in 2009. For a number of years, she lived with her husband Frantisek and son of the same name in Toronto. Today, all of them sleep in their family grave in a charming little cemetery in Bolton, Ontario. A fate – at least seemingly – not dissimilar to the fate of many Czech and Slovak families. Except that the fate of the Scheybal family was written more tragically. And also, because Vlasta left behind an unusually deep footprint.

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The End of a Consulate (Konec jednoho konzulátu)

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This year’s month of March did not treat our community overly kindly. The row of friends to whom we said good bye this March is longer than other years. Quite a number of us gathered the last day of the month in Montreal to attend a somewhat different funeral: we lost a consulate. And this was not a run-of-the mill consulate. Which is not to suggest that the Czech Republic (and before that Czechoslovakia) ever had in Canada an unusually high number of consular establishments. But the Montreal consulate had much closer ties ties with the Czech (and even more Czechoslovak) history, than is usually the case.

What goes for the Montreal consulate, goes equally for the City of Montreal: it was in Montreal where in 1924 a group of immigrants from Czechoslovakia – mostly Slovaks – established Československý podpůrný spolek (Czechoslovak Mutual Benefit Society); it was in Montreal where in 1929 two newspapers commenced publication: Slovenské Bratrstvo (Slovak Brotherhood) and Kanadské noviny (Canadian Newspaper) – /the first Slovak newspaper in Canada, Slovenské slovo (Slovak Word), was published in Blairmore, Alberta in 1910/. Continue reading

Email interview: Jan Kavalír interviews Josef Čermák (E-mailový rozhovor: Jan Kavalír zpovídá Josefa Čermáka)

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Author: Josef Cermak (CzechFolks.com PLUS)
 
 
 
 
 

 

1.
Q.: When did you emigrate to Canada and why? Was it entirely for political reasons? And why Canada?

A. I left Czechoslovakia (on my knees, secretly, “over the hillocks”) with my blacksmith friend Lada Dufek on October 28, 1949 (we were selfishly counting on the police raging in Prague). ‘Our’ ship, ‘U.S.A.T. Le Roy Eltinge’ arrived in Canada (in Halifax) on April 23, 1949. That ship wasn’t completely ‘ours’ but we Czechoslovaks formed a formidable group: 113 people. Continue reading