Serbs of Toronto

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The Serbs of Toronto (Serbian language: Срби у Торонту, Srbi u Torontu) are a Canadian minority. Toronto is said to be[who?] home to the third-largest Serb diaspora population, after Vienna and Chicago.

Demographics[edit]

The 2006 census showed that the total of single and multiple ethnic origin responses for Serbian was 25,160. Single ethnic origin responses were 17,265, while multiple ethnic origin responses were 7,890.[1] The total of single and multiple ethnic origin responses for Yugoslav was 12,685. Single ethnic origin responses were 4,950 while multiple ethnic origin responses were 7,725.

Toronto population by language in 2001 showed 13,635 Serbians.[2]

History[edit]

One of the first Serbian immigrants in Toronto was Sremac Herceg, who arrived in August 1903.[3] A great number of Serbian settlers who came in 1912 were from the Niš region. Between the Balkan Wars and World War I, more than two hundred Serbs lived in Toronto.[4]

Culture[edit]

In 1954 the Serb Youth Club in Toronto was formed, and its folk-dance group Stražilovo became one of the first highly successful dance groups in Canada.

Toronto's folk-dance group Hajduk Veljko (founded in 1964) danced at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 and at Expo '86 in Vancouver, and Toronto's Oplenac (1973).[5]

From the early 1950s to 1984 the Serbian Cultural Club St Sava was active in Toronto, publishing eight volumes in Serbian dealing with Serb history.

In 1968 the Serbian Orthodox Church of St Michael the Archangel hosted the "Belgrade" pavilion of the Toronto Caravan cultural festival, organized by the late Colette Sekulovich (née Leroy) which displayed many Serbian cultural artifacts, showcased Kolo dancing and other performance arts, and gave the people of Toronto a chance to taste Serbian delicacies. The annual festival ran for over 30 years, winning, in 2001, the Zena Kossar "Best Pavilion Award".

The Serbian Heritage Academy (Srpska Nacionalna Akademija), initiated, founded and spearheaded by Sofija Skoric in Toronto in 1981, has organized academic conferences, exhibits, and lectures. In 1984 it installed a bronze plaque at the University of Toronto's Medical Sciences Building honouring Canadian doctors and nurses who had worked as volunteers in Serbia during World War I.

Serbian Cultural Association Oplenac was founded in 1987 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Serbian folk dancing has been a major activity in SCA Oplenac since its inception as a non-profit organization. All proceeds from its events go to the preservation and presentation of Serbian culture and tradition in North America. In 2012 the company consisted of 8 large ensembles, choir and orchestra as well as a large recreational ensemble. They established a drama school for children that performs theatre plays in Serbian language, as well as a Serbian language school. Since 2000 it has been clear that the association is undoubtedly the biggest Serbian folklore group in North America.[6]

Serbian Theatre Toronto (Srpsko pozorište Toronto) was established in 2004 and is the oldest Serbian theatre in Canada and North America. In more than ten years of activity, the theatre has produced more than twenty plays by Serbian writers. The group has more than 20 members, but has had three times as many in the past. Serbian Theatre Toronto has performed in many cities in Canada and the USA.[7]

The first Serb bookstore, Srbica Books, was opened in Toronto in 1990 by Živko Apić.

Established in 2008, Toronto's Pulse Theatre (Пулс Театар) is the biggest drama club and theatre for children in Serbian language in Canada.[8]

Serbian Toronto Television is a weekly 30-minute current affairs Serbian television show that is filmed throughout various locations across Canada and Serbia. Hosted by Miljana Ristic, Serbian Toronto Television delivers latest news in health, education, arts, economy and literature significant to Serbian communities across Canada and abroad. Serbian Toronto Television is the voice and vision of the Serbian community in Canada and aims to promote the Serbian heritage in Toronto and across Canada. Since its original broadcast on October 11, 2014 at 6:30pm EST on OMNI Television, the show allows its viewers to stay connected with their Serbian roots while abroad by providing timely, local information on the hottest and most essential shopping, dining, cultural attractions and entertainment. The power of Serbian Toronto Television is its local depth of Serbian culture and its high quality production values. Serbian Toronto Television is produced by Milan Cobanov and Miljana Ristic on a weekly basis and broadcast across Canada by OMNI Television network every Saturday at 6:30pm EST. Serbian Toronto Television is also proud to work in co-operation with the Serbian Heritage Academy of Canada, Consulate General of the Republic of Serbia, Serbian Church and other organizations that promote our Serbian heritage in Toronto and across Canada. Please visit the website: http://www.serbiantoronto.tv for more information.[9]

Media[edit]

  • Newspapers
  • TV
    • Serbian Television Toronto[12]
    • Serbian Toronto Television (SerbianTorontoTV) [13]

Prominent individuals[edit]

Churches[edit]

  • St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church
  • St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]