Statement Banner

, MLA Brandon East
April 30, 2013

Polish Gymnastic Association

Mr. Speaker, thanks to a rich history of immigration to our region Brandon is a vibrant and multicultural city. Fifty-six different languages are currently spoken in Brandon, and we are becoming more diverse with each passing year. We have many cultural associations that preserve culture, heritage, diversity; essential to welcoming those who come to build new lives in Canada.

Today I rise to recognize the 100th anniversary of the Polish Gymnastic Association, Sokol, which will be celebrating in Brandon this Saturday with a banquet and dance.

The Sokol was founded by Polish immigrants who wanted to preserve their cultures and traditions. At the Sokol, children were taught the Polish language, traditional dances and gymnastics, which is where the organization got its name.

Building a life in a new country is never easy, and especially in those days the Sokol also became a place for adults to take time off from their difficult lives, attend events and socialize with others in the community.

One hundred years later, some of the original activities held at the Sokol have changed. Children and youth are still given recreational opportunities through sports, and events are still held in the facility's rental hall.

Now, however, members of different ethnic groups have been welcomed, and the Sokol supports many charitable community endeavours. The Sokol Association also manages a seniors housing complex on behalf of Manitoba Housing, and a supportive housing complex for residents who need on-site care.

Throughout changing times, the Sokol still provides a chance for members of the community to come together and enjoy a fun atmosphere, and, of course, some delicious food–home-cooked Polish food.

I invite all members to join me in celebrating a century of this great organization's presence in Brandon, and in wishing them luck in their next hundred years.

Dziękuję bardzo, thank you, Mr. Speaker.