Hungarian

Hungarian

Subtitle
The Hungarian Community

The area known as “Little Budapest” can be found in two sections of Toronto: along Bloor Street West, between Spadina and Bathurst streets, where Hungarian restaurants serve goulash and shops carry traditional sausages and pastries; and on St. Clair Avenue West, centring around the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre, the largest Hungarian community centre outside of Hungary.
Many of Metro Toronto’s 50,000 Hungarians have emigrated from Hungary or neighbouring countries such as Czechoslovakia, Romania, or Yugoslavia from areas that were part of Hungary for a thousand years, until the Trianon Treaty of Versailles, in 1920. The earliest Hungarians to arrive in Canada in the 1880s were drawn to the prairies by the promise of free land. By the early 1900s, there were Hungarian groups in Welland, Hamilton, Windsor, Brantford, and the Niagara region. Many who settled in the Delhi district of southern Ontario became successful tobacco farmers.
More Hungarians came to Canada as a result of the quota system imposed in the United States in the early decades of this century. New settlers included skilled tradesmen, butchers, carpenters, shoemakers, and blacksmiths. By the 1920s, the Hungarian community was large enough to organize itself into Roman Catholic and Presbyterian denominations. Toronto’s Hungarian neighbourhood in the 1930s was bordered by Queen Street West, College Street, Spadina Avenue, and McCaul Street, and consisted of boarding houses, grocery stores, steamship and travel companies, and social clubs.
In the 1940s, a Hungarian neighbourhood developed in the area of Bedford Road and Bloor Street. The Toronto Independent United Hungarian Society bought a house at 245 College Street to serve as a cultural centre and welcome home. In 1974, a larger building was purchased at St. Clair Avenue West, which today houses the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre.
Hungarians arrived in Canada in large numbers following the Second World War. They consisted of emigrés who left Hungary for political reasons. Many were professionals—lawyers, doctors, engineers, military officers, embassy staff, journalists, and writers. These newcomers organized many of the first Hungarian cultural groups. Among the most popular were dramatic troupes who wore traditional costumes and used props typical of the Hungarian theatre. First started by settlers who arrived prior to the Second World War, the troupes were continued by the emigrés, who placed emphasis on passing on the culture and traditions of the homeland to their children.
The first troop of the Hungarian Scouts Association was founded in 1952 in Toronto. At present, there are six troops in the province, and three are located in Toronto. There are language schools in many churches as well as the Arany Janos Hungarian School in the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre, which promotes the education of Hungarian Canadian youth and adults. Following the 1956 revolution in Hungary, approximately 41,000 Hungarians immigrated to Canada; most were young, single, and had received their education from universities or technical schools. The newcomers founded new theatre companies, folkdance groups, and choirs.
Toronto is the centre of Hungarian publishing activity in Canada. The Vörösváry-Weller Publishing Co. (Stephen Vörösváry-Weller) published biographies, the Memoirs of Admiral Horthy, Regent of Hungary and The Memoirs of Cardinal Mindszenty, as well as countless fine literature works of Hungarian emigrè-authors like Sándor Márai and Ferenc Fáy. In 1978, a chair of Hungarian Studies was established at the University of Toronto. The former Central Hospital on Sherbourne Street was founded by two Hungarian doctors, Janos and Paul Rekai, who saw the need for a hospital serving those who speak little English. In the arts, Toronto sculptor Dora Pedery Hunt introduced medal sculpture to Canada and her design was used for the Canadian Olympic gold coin in 1976.
Places to Go
In 1966, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising and to express the gratitude of Hungarians to Canada, a steel sculptural fountain by Victor Tolgesy, inscribed with the words “Freedom for Hungary—Freedom for All,” was erected in Wells Hill Park at the foot of Sunnyside. The site was renamed Budapest Park at the time of its dedication, and every year memorial services are held on the weekend nearest October 23rd.
The Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre, (Tel. 416-654-4926, 840 St. Clair Ave. W), houses many activities. The World Federation of Hungarian Veterans maintains a museum of Hungarian military history containing hundreds of artifacts; along with a Hungarian Gendarmerie section, it features uniforms, weapons, documents, and insignia. The centre features weekly movies and also houses the Dr. Halasz Janos library collection of more than 24,000 books. A huge chandelier in the shape of the Hungarian Holy crown hangs over an enormous dance hall, and paintings hanging on the walls were completed by Toronto artist Lajos Kay. Reproductions of paintings by the Hungarian masters, including Szonyi Istvan (1894–1960) and Meszoly Geza (1844–1887), are also kept in the centre.
Hearty Hungarian cuisine includes soups and stews such as gulyas or goulash (traditionally cooked in a kettle and made with beef, veal, or pork, potatoes and onions) and tokany (pork and beef seasoned with paprika). Accompanying most meals are nokedli (noodle dumplings), goulash gravy, sour cream sauces, onions, and tomatoes. Popular dishes are lecsos kolbasz (stew with garlic sausages, onions, green peppers, tomato, and paprika), stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage, and roast duck. The fatanyeros or wooden platter (mixed grill of breaded pork and sausages, served with pickled cabbage, cucumbers, and potato salad) dates from when the dish was prepared on a tree stump. Paprika flavours many dishes, such as chicken, veal, or chicken livers. Desserts are palacsinta (crepes filled with jam and sprinkled with ground walnuts), rigo Jancsi (chocolate-cream cake), poppyseed strudel, sacher torte (apricot jam between chocolate layers), and linzer (a tart filled with jam). Egribikaver (Bull’s Blood of Eger) is the famous Hungarian red wine and Tokaji Aszu (Tokay) is a favourite sweet dessert wine.
The original “Little Budapest” in the Bloor-Spadina annex remains an area where you can hop from one restaurant or deli to another to enjoy authentic Hungarian foods. Country Style Hungarian Restaurant, (Tel. 416-536-5966, 450 Bloor St. W), owned by Judit Goda, is a homey restaurant popular with university students. The menu features daily specials that are typical of a dinner served in Budapest, including chicken soup with liver dumplings, ragout, fresh rye bread, beef with onions, lecso with sausages, hunter’s stew, creamed lentils, chicken paprika, and Ujhazi chicken soup. The choices of schnitzels include wiener, parisien, natur, and Gypsy steak. Noodles Hungarian-style come with cottage cheese, and for dessert, poppyseed and ground walnuts, homemade strudel, and Hungarian-style crepes with cottage cheese or apricot are available.
Pannonia Hungarian Bookstore, (Tel. 416-966-5156, www.pannonia.ca, 300 St. Clair Ave. W), sells Hungarian novels, history books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, magazines, and records.
Other restaurants serving Hungarian foods include: Gypsy Hungarian Restaurant, (109 McCaul St);
European Sausage House, (Tel. 416-663-8323, 145 Norfinch Dr);
Tuske Delicatessen, (Tel. 416-588-8014, 586 Bloor St. W);
Paprika Restaurant, (Tel. 416-789-3478, 3450 Bathurst St).
The Coffee Mill, (Tel. 416-920-2108, 99 Yorkville Ave), offers homemade soups, open-faced sandwiches, salads, hot entrees, and a variety of coffees, teas, and pastries. It also has a gourmet take-out counter.
Hungarian Honey Bear Delicatessen, (Tel. 416-733-0022, 249 Sheppard Ave. E), carries Hungarian lekvar (jam), coffee, candies, herbal remedies, and beauty supplies.
Religious Centres, Schools and Other Institutions
The Hungarian community includes Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Presbyterian, United, Anglican, Lutheran, and Baptist congregations.
  ST. ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, (Tel. 416-225-3300, 432 Sheppard Ave. E). Established in 1928. It was originally located on Spadina Avenue; the church moved to its present location in 1985. It was the refugee reception centre for those fleeing Hungary during the 1956 Uprising. Many organizations are active at the church, including The Hungarian Friends Circle, a weekend language school, choir and scout troops, and the St. Elizabeth Hungarian school. In 1978, a Hungarian Jesuit noviciate—the only institution of its kind in the Hungarian diaspora—was established in Toronto.
  FIRST HUNGARIAN BAPTIST CHURCH, (Tel. 416-783-2941, 157 Falkirk St).
  FIRST HUNGARIAN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, (Tel. 416-656-1342, 439 Vaughan Rd).
  HUNGARIAN FULL GOSPEL CHURCH, (Tel. 416-760-9524, 51 Scarlett Rd).
  HUNGARIAN LUTHERAN CHURCH, (Tel. 416-977-4786, 116 Bond St).
  HUNGARIAN UNITED CHURCH, (Tel. 416-652-3809, 73 Mackay Ave).
Holidays and Celebrations
  REVOLUTION DAY. March 15 commemorates the anniversary of the 1848 revolution led by Louis (Lajos) Kossuth. Kossuth attempted to rid Hungary of the Austrian Hapsburg rule. For a short time, Hungary was virtually an independent state which abolished feudalism and established responsible government. Russia, upon request of Austria, invaded Hungary in 1849, ending its independence. The anniversary is commemorated on the nearest weekend to the date with speeches by prominent Hungarians and a cultural program.
  ARPAD DAY, usually held in April, honours the Hungarian national hero. The occasion is celebrated with a dinner and dance and recital.
  HEROES DAY. The last Sunday in May is known as Heroes Day in remembrance of those killed in the revolutions of 1845 and 1956 and the two World Wars. A service is held in most Hungarian churches and in the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre by the World Federation of Hungarian Veterans.

Miss Budapest, elected at the HungarianCommunity Centre.
  ST. STEPHEN’S DAY, August 20, is held in recognition of the King of Hungary, who in 1001 A.D. embraced western Christianity and received his crown from Pope Silvester II. St. Stephen is regarded as the founder of the kingdom of Hungary. It has been celebrated in Toronto since 1937, with church services, lectures, and cultural programs.
  OCTOBER 6 honours the 13 Hungarian generals who took part in the revolution of 1848 and were executed at Arad by the Austrians on October 6, 1849. The day of mourning is commemorated with a program in memory of the martyred heroes.
  THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION, October 23. The rebellion against Communist rule was quashed on November 4th by the Soviet army. Thousands of people were killed and 200,000 refugees left the country. On the weekend nearest to October 23, solemn services are held in memory of those who lost their lives.
See Holidays and Celebrations in Glossary.
Media
  INDEPENDANT HUNGARIAN RADIO TORONTO, CIAO 530 AM, (Tel. 416-693-8312, 695 Coxwell Ave., Apt. 601). Saturday, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Host: Bede Fazekas Zsolt.
  KANADAI/AMERIKAI MAGYARSAG (CANADIAN/AMERICAN HUNGARIANS), (Tel. 416-656-8361, 747 St. Clair Ave. W, Suite 103). Established in 1951, it is the largest Hungarian weekly newspaper outside Hungary. Publisher: Irene Vorosvary.
  MAGYAR ELET (HUNGARIAN LIFE), (Tel. 905-472-5704, 390 Concession 7, Pickering). A weekly newspaper published since 1957. Editor: Lazlo Bessenyei.
Organizations
  THE HUNGARIAN CANADIAN CULTURAL CENTRE, (Tel. 416-654-4926, www.icomm.ca/magyarhaz, 840 St. Clair Ave. W). Houses the Hungarian Canadian Federation, an umbrella organization for 42 cultural and church groups across Canada. Founded in 1951, its objectives are to represent Hungarian Canadians, assist refugees, and encourage and preserve Hungarian culture and tradition. President: Zoltan Forray; Secretary General: Steve Szabo.
Other clubs at the same address:
  HUNGARIAN HELICON SOCIETY AND THE HELICON YOUTH ASSOCIATION were established in 1951 to preserve, explain, and promote the cultural and historical heritage of the Hungarian nation. Lectures, performances, sports, and social events are organized. The highlight of the year’s festivities is the Helicon Ball, where young women are introduced to society.
  RAKOCZI ASSOCIATION, composed of many former officers in the Royal Hungarian Army, operates a historical society, a memorial society, and a foundation to promote scholarships and funding for projects such as a Heritage Handbook.
  THE HUNGARIAN FREEDOM FIGHTERS ASSOCIATION is made up largely of refugees from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and promotes the interest of political refugees.
  THE HARGITA CIRCLE, which preserves the folk arts of weaving, embroidery, wood burning, and ceramics paintings, was founded by Dr. Kover Janosne. The Kodaly Choir and Dance Group, founded in 1960 by Gyorgy Zaduban, performs traditional Hungarian dances and songs and has made several international tours.
  THE KODALY DANCE TROUPE, (www.kodaly.ca), founded in 1960.
  THE KOROSI CSOMA SANDOR HISTORICAL SOCIETY presents lectures from artists, musicians, poets, and writers.
  UNITED HUNGARIAN FUND, (509 St. Clair Ave. W., P.O. Box 73604). The fundraising arm of the Canadian Hungarian Federation; it promotes Hungarian cultural and educational activities, Hungarian language schools, and emergency fundraising for refugees. President: Gyula Keddy.
Other groups include: the Bihari Dance Group; the Golden Age Club; Sports Club; Hungarian Veterans’ Association; Hungarian House Women’s Club; Hungarian Tradesmen’s Circle; Hungarian Hunters and Anglers Association; Toronto Hungarian Landscapers; World Federation of Hungarian Engineers and Architects; Canadian Hungarian Authors Association; The Upper Hungarian Association; and the Royal Hungarian Gendermerie Veterans’ Benevolent Association of Toronto.