It was their first visit to the North American continent, organised by the Hrvata Bura Production group in collaboration with the Split branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation. The band consists of Ante Marinčić, Nediljko Križanac Dugi, Ivan Juričić, Stipe Pervan, Josip Prcela and Ivan Nižić.
The main event in September for the Croatian community in Canada was a performance by Tomislav Bralić and the Klapa Intrade a cappella band out of Zadar on 29 September a the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. This 1,300 person capacity hall was sold out for the concert of the winners of the Split 2012 festival. It was their first visit to the North American continent, organised by the Hrvata Bura Production group in collaboration with the Split branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation. The band consists of Ante Marinčić, Nediljko Križanac Dugi, Ivan Juričić, Stipe Pervan, Josip Prcela and Ivan Nižić. Certainly one of the most touching moments was when the entire audience joined in to sing Kroacijo, iz duše te ljubim (Croatia, I Love You From My Soul).
The massive public interest saw a second, more informal concert staged at the Franciscan centre of Our Lady the Queen of Peace in Norval. There the klapa band was hosted by Fra’ Marko Puljić and visitors had an opportunity to meet the singers, collect their signatures and take photos with them. On behalf of the klapa, Tomislav Bralić presented Fra’ Marko with a Croatian coat of arms sculpted in Brać limestone by Joško Biliškov of Kaštel Lukšić.
There were other concurrent events in Toronto. The Federation of Croatia Fraternal Union lodges in Ontario selected Robert Nizich for their 2012 Man of the Year. Nizich’s father Božo came to Canada from Herzegovina back in 1927 and worked on the construction of roads and railways. Robert Nizich was born in Canada and has done much for the community. His mother enrolled him into Croatia Fraternal Union membership before his first birthday. The award ceremony was held on 23 September at the Slovenian Hall in Toronto.
A Croatian Gourmet Food and Wine Event was held on 25 September under the auspices of the Croatian general consulate in Toronto, led by General Consul Ljubinko Matešić, at which Croatian wines from Istra County and the Dalmatian region were presented along with our famed white truffles.
A new academic year has kicked off at Waterloo University near Toronto, home to the only chair of Croatian language studies in Canada. The chair was opened thanks to the efforts and assistance of respected Croatian emigrant Anton Kikaš. A Croatian Studies centre is also active in the frame of the chair and Croatian is taught at the university for the fourth year running by professor Helena Burić of Split. A few years ago Waterloo University, home to some 34,000 students, was cited among the top ten universities in the world only half a century since it was founded. It has played host to Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking. The existence of a chair of Croatian language studies in a country that, according to the 2006 census, is home to 110,000 Croatians is certainly a great acknowledgement for our people.
Text by: Branka Bezić Filipović