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1952 - 1985 (Creation)
- Canadian Slovak Benefit Society Branch 43
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The Canadian Slovak Benefit Society (C.S.B.S.) Branch 43 was founded on January 3, 1953 in Sudbury, Ontario. Branch 43 was established as a youth group within the C.S.B.S. by members who had split away from the already established Branch 8 youth section. The members of the new Branch 43 felt they could accomplish more as a separate unit by basing their group on the example of youth groups in other towns. Fifteen new members attended the first meeting of Branch 43 at the Slovak National House, where they elected the Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.
Fraternal benefit societies had been popular amongst Slovaks living and working in Canada since the late 19th Century and the first one was established in the Sudbury District in Creighton Mine, Ontario in 1937. At that time, many men realized that neither the company they worked for nor the Canadian Government would compensate them for work time lost due to sickness, injury or death. Slovaks across Canada formed group benefit plans so that in the event of illness or death they and their family members could count on a form of insurance to keep them out of poverty. In December 1946, members of Slovak-Canadian organizations across Canada, voted for the creation of the C.S.B.S. through the merging of many pre-existing benefit groups. While the C.S.B.S.’s main function was to collect money from its members and disperse that money if needed, members also made sick-bed visits and sent flowers or wreaths to sick or grieving members. To decide how to spend the money raised within the branch, all members would vote on when and how to spend the money and who qualified to receive a share of the funds.
Branch 43 gave young members of the Slovak community in Sudbury a place to come together, socialize and maintain their culture while living so far from Slovakia. After monthly meetings, many of the members would stay to discuss their families, politics, Slovakia’s history and their experiences living in Canada. Branch 43, along with other C.S.B.S. branches in the Sudbury area, helped to run the Slovak National House on Alder Street where they would hold concerts and plays filled with traditional Slovak music and literature. Summer picnics, dances, Christmas card sales and New Year’s Eve and Mardi Gras parties also served to bring members of the Slovak community together while raising money for the society.
The Canadian Slovak Benefit Society was dissolved on September 18, 2005 due to low membership.
Branch 43 Chairmen:
Ján Urban Jr. – January 3, 1953 to February 28, 1960
Paul Tomcik – February 28, 1960 to [after December 2, 1973]
Ján Hovanec – [?] to [after June 2, 1985]
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