The town of Schumacher located in Ontario, Canada has a rich history of culture and community. For the past 88 years, the “Hrvatska Narodni Dom” has been the home of Croatian culture in our small mining town providing opportunities for the community to gather for cultural events, weddings, dinner-dances, concerts, meetings, annual banquets, Christmas parties and other special occasions. In the early 1900’s, so many Croatian families settled in Schumacher that the town was nicknamed Mali Zagreb, a nod to our motherland’s capital city.
Schumacher was also called Little Croatia as Croatian immigrants desired a gathering place where they could celebrate their cultural heritage. They banded together to purchase the Maple Leaf Theatre building in 1932 and a volunteer labour force worked for many months remodelling, redecorating and transforming the building into the Croatian Hall as we know it today. The official opening of the Croatian Hall took place on Saturday, December 17, 1932 with 200 people in attendance.
Many memorable events have taken place at the Hall over the years including the typical Croatian wedding receptions of the past with two dinner seatings, wine dinners where part of the admission price was a gallon of homemade wine which guests sampled during the evening to determine the best tasting wine, Walter Ostenak Polka Dinner-Dance parties, Schumacher Public School concerts, Croatian drama plays and concerts as well many Friday Night Stags hosted by local sports teams.
We continue to function thanks to a small, but dedicated executive. Our main sources of income have come from hall rentals, dinner-dances, multi-cultural festivals, cabbage roll sales and membership fees. So far we have been able to keep our heads above water, but with the world’s setback due to COVID -19, we have recently invited the public to support us in our endeavours to ensure that fond memories will continue to be made at the Croatian Hall in Schumacher for years to come! We hope that our Hall can continue to stand as a beacon and a reminder of the great cultural pride that is held by Croatian people and community supporters throughout the world. Your support will go a long way to preserving this special part of Schumacher.