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Back in Time: Flin Flon’s early cultural societies

Given the nature of Flin Flon and the many people from different backgrounds who came to the community, it is no surprise that so many cultural organizations were created in the town’s early years.
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Dancers from the Flin Flon chapter of the Canadian Hungarian Cultural Society pose during their May 1935 celebration of King George V’s Jubilee. - PHOTO COURTESY FLIN FLON HERITAGE PROJECT

Given the nature of Flin Flon and the many people from different backgrounds who came to the community, it is no surprise that so many cultural organizations were created in the town’s early years.

Many people likely missed their lives back in Europe and these societies helped make the transition to living in Canada easier.

The Canadian Slovak League Branch No. 4 was founded on Jan. 3, 1932. A total of 18 people attended the first meeting, with the group being founded by Mike Dopater, who was a smelter labourer. For the next several decades, the organization would continue to operate in Flin Flon, reaching a height of 80 people, before slowly falling to 40 members in the 1970s. The organization was created to celebrate anniversaries and coronations among the family of the Commonwealth.

Another group created around the same time was the Icelandic Ladies Group, which would send parcels to the servicemen during the Second World War. That was the main focus of the organization and when the war was over, the organization continued for three more decades but would disband completely in the 1970s. Prior to the ending of the organization, the group would often make donations to the Betel Home in Gimli.

When King George V celebrated his Jubilee in May 1935, the Canadian Hungarian Cultural Society was formed. Individuals of Hungarian origin got together in the community and put on a celebration that included dancers, violins and the awarding of a Jubilee plaque. The organization would continue to function for the next 35 years before it disbanded in 1970.

The Flin Flon Zionist Association was formed in November 1936 for the purpose of fostering goodwill in Flin Flon. The group was non-political and they purchased a property on Church Street with the plans to build a synagogue. A Hadassah Chapter was also formed to assist the association with activities. Both organizations came from the earlier organization of the Hebrew Friends of the North. Unfortunately for the synagogue, the young people were growing older and moving and their parents were retiring, which meant shrinking numbers of people to get the building constructed.

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