Romanians began arriving in Canada in the last quarter of the 19th-century. Most of them came from the provinces of Transylvania and Bukovina which belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They first settled in the prairie provinces and in Quebec. More Romanians immigrated to Canada in the 1920s. A large group of refugees arrived following the Second World War, settling primarily in Ontario and Quebec. Included in this group were a number of officers and military personnel who had been in German camps after the war and others who had fled Romania’s new Communist regime. They found jobs as farmers, tailors, gardeners, cleaners, and in meat slaughterhouses.
One of the first organizations was the Romanian Cultural Society on Dewson Street, formed to help newcomers find employment. The organization started Tribuna Romana, a newspaper published for three years. Cultural events were held at a Ukrainian church hall on Bathurst Street.
In 1954, the community established St. George, which is affiliated with the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America and Canada. The church was located on Broadview Avenue, the former home of the German Club. As the parish grew, it was necessary to move to a larger location, and the present church was purchased at 247 Rosethorn Avenue. The church was decorated with icons, brass inlaid chandeliers, crosses, tableclothes, wood carving, textiles, pottery, and other decorative art. Works by Romanian artists are often exhibited in the newly renovated church hall.
THE UNION OF PRINCIPALITIES of 1859 is celebrated on January 24. It was the day Muntenia and Moldova were united to form the single state of Romania with Bucharest as the capital city. Special church services are held with a program to recall Romanian history and its present state in world affairs. Poems are recited as part of the celebration, along with songs and folk dancing.
BESSARABIA AND BUCOVINA DAY on March 27 commemorates the 1919 reunification of Bessarabia and Bucovina with Romania. Religious and community programs are held with dances and poetry recitals.
INDEPENDENCE DAY, May 10, honours the day in 1877 that Romania gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire. Celebrations are held on the nearest weekend, with religious services, speeches, dances, and cultural programs.
MARTYRS’ DAY is held the Thursday before Ascension Day or 40 days after Easter. A religious and national ceremony takes place at the martyrs’ cross on the Romanian camp grounds near Hamilton.
CAMP. Every year in the first week of August, there is a week-long Romanian camp featuring literature and cultural seminars in addition to recreational activities. It is held at the Romanian camp retreat near Hamilton and is organized by Nae Ionescu, the Romanian Cultural Association of Hamilton. St. Mary’s Chapel is located on the campgrounds along with a modern pavilion with a hall, library, and meeting rooms.
BANAT FESTIVAL. In September, during Labour Day Weekend, the Romanian Banat Festival draws Romanians from across North America to Kitchener, Ontario.
NATIONAL DAY IN ROMANIA. Cultural and religious programs on December 1st celebrate the union of Transylvania with Romania.
CHRISTMAS celebrations include a children’s Christmas party and Colinda, a celebration in which carollers dressed in traditional Romanian costumes carry a star decorated with the nativity scene and share good cheer with their neighbours.
FAPTU DIVERS NEWSPAPER, Rari Press, (Tel. 416-287-6626, or 416-287-6924, www.faptudivers.com, 23 Whiterock Dr).
OBSERVATORUL, (Tel. 416-483-5154, www.observatorul.com, 149 South Dr., #1). Director: Dumitru Popescu.
ROMANIAN SHOW, CHIN 1540 AM, 622 College St., M6G 1B6, Tel. 416-531-9991. Saturday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Host: Maria Cojocaru.
THEBANS.COM Romanian website which presents a comprehensive step-by-step guide to the city of Toronto, targeted to people that are moving here.
CONSULATE GENERAL OF ROMANIA, (Tel. 416-585-5802, 555 Richmond St. W, Suite 1108) Consul General: Valentin Naumescre
ASSOCIATION OF ROMANIAN ENGINEERS IN CANADA, (Tel. 416-663-2029, www.arec.ca, 55 Henry Welsh Dr). President: Vlad Siperco.
ALLIANCE OF ROMANIAN CANADIANS, (Tel. 416-283-9241, www.arcweb.ca, 5795 Yonge St). Preserve, enhance, and promote the cultural and spiritual heritage of the members of the Romanian-Canadian community and pass them to the younger generations.
ROMANIAN BUSINESS NETWORK SOCIETY (RBNS), (Tel. 416-732-8886, www.rbn-society.com).
TORO ARTS GROUP, (www.toroartsgroup.com) President: Andrei Tanasescu.