Boian – the village that crossed the ocean  

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A a couple of years before 1900, a Transylvanian village followed its lucky star West and moved to Alberta, in the Canadian prairies, where they (the villagers) each got a nice piece of land with quite a few strings attached.

20141204_183653Raul Dudnic, the producer of the only Romanian TV show in Toronto – Noi Romanii – made this documentary for OMNI (a Rogers shop), the TV station where, every Saturday, his show airs.

The viewing was announced for 6 pm at the Romanian Consulate and was introduced by Antonella Marinescu, the Romanian Consul General and Raul Dudnic. Some generous and tasty treats were graciously provided by Sonia, Raul’s wife. I had been a few minutes late and, since the elevator was off after 6, it took a while until the cleaning lady took me upstairs. I was then glad to meet the Consul. I then hurried to grab some tea and take my seat. That’s when things got a bit more interesting.

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I went to watch the documentary without any prior reading. I was thus quite surprised to learn about this first (oldest) Romanian community in Canada.

20141205-Screencap001Before I forget here’s a few facts I recall from the documentary (did not take notes and could not check their accuracy, so it’s possible I forgot and/or misunderstood):

  • the community is named after Boian in Bucovina, where most settlers are from
  • they were convinced to immigrate by transatlantic ship salesmen who used to travel through the major towns and advertise on behalf of such lines; some came by cattle transports
  • in Romania they were under Austro-Hungarian (Habsburgic) occupation and could not vote unless they had over a certain surface of land (50 acres?) which almost nobody had and also had to go to compulsory military service
  • they’d get a few acres of land supposedly for free, but they had to register it for $10 (a lot of money for many of them), had to work it first for 5 years, had to “develop” it, build a homestead, and spend most of the year on the land – 6 months at least
  • men would sometimes work on the railway to make ends meet, leaving women alone at home
  • best land was given to Canadian internal migrants, such as those from Ontario
  • racist criteria: “good physique” and a scale of preferences much like USA
  • settled before 1900; church started in 1903, completed in 1905
  • 1909 – Romanian language school

Apart from the videos linked under the images above, you may also find a list with 40+ videos by Florin Dyrda, a celebration by Nelu Defta, a short by Alberta Weekly TV Magazine as well as a 45 min documentary by the same Alberta Weekly TV Magazine.

The documentary is licensed to OMNI (Rogers) for the first year, after which the author regains full control of it, much like Povestea Galbenului before it.

Sources / More info: wiki-boian, nr-ca, yt-FlorinDyrda

Thank you for reading (mulţam fain pentru cetire)! Publicat Friday, December 05, 2014 . Similar articles under the following categories (poţi găsi articole similare sub următoarele categorii): (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe) . Dacă ţi-a plăcut articolul, PinIt-uieste-l, ReddIt-eaza-l, stumble-uieste-l altora, trimite-l pe WhatsApp yMess şi consideră abonarea la fluxul RSS sau prin email. Ma poti de asemenea gasi pe Google. Trackback poateputea fi trimis prin URL-ul de sub Comentarii.
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