Hungarian Heritage Month Act Passes Second Reading

Published on December 09, 2021

Bill 50, a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore, would proclaim the month of October as Hungarian Heritage Month

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MISSISSAUGA – A Private Member’s Bill sponsored by Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore, will proceed to public hearings, as it passed second reading in the Ontario Legislative Assembly today, and was referred to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills.

If passed, Bill 50, the Hungarian Heritage Month Act, would proclaim the month of October in each year as Hungarian Heritage Month in Ontario.

“For over a century, Hungarian Canadians have made invaluable contributions to every sphere of life in Ontario,” said Cuzzetto. “With this proclamation, the Province recognizes these contributions, and their important role in the economy, culture, politics, and identity of Ontario.”

Today Canada is home to over 350,000 people of Hungarian and Magyar descent, as well as Hungarian-speaking immigrants from other areas of Europe, including Transylvania. Nearly half live in Ontario, where they have made remarkable contributions to fields as diverse as accounting, cinematography, finance, government, music and statistical analysis.

“Ontario has benefitted immensely from people of Hungarian descent choosing to call our province home,” said the Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “I am proud to be the son of Hungarian immigrants, and I believe it is time we officially recognized the many members of the Hungarian community who have contributed to the prosperity of this great province.”

“Across every sector, the Hungarian community in Ontario have played a vital role in strengthening our province’s economy and shaping our cultural heritage,” said the Hon. Parm Gill, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. “The designation of Hungarian Heritage Month in October is an opportunity for us all to learn more about their rich culture and traditions, and to celebrate the many contributions they made in building the strong and vibrant Ontario we know today.”

The preamble of Bill 50, the Hungarian Heritage Month Act, highlights the local contributions of Hungarian Canadians in Mississauga, including Paul Szabo, honoured as the “Hardest Working” Member of Parliament, and award-winning Mississauga Canoe Club coach Tamás Buday, a retired Olympic sprint canoer.

“This proclamation will also recognize the importance of the acceptance of Hungarian refugees in 1956 as a turning point in the history of Canada, and Ontario,” said Cuzzetto, “which has helped to shape our open and welcoming views toward new immigrants and refugees, and our respect for diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism.”

“I’m really looking forward to public hearings on this bill,” said Cuzzetto.

Once a date is set for Bill 50 to be discussed at the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills, members of the public may have an opportunity to attend (virtually), and to make presentations on the bill.

 

Quotes

“Hungarians who came to this province throughout more than 100 years have enriched it with their tremendous hard work and skills as entrepreneurs, engineers, educators, scientists and agricultural producers. Hungarian Heritage Month will provide Ontarians of Hungarian origin with the opportunity to share their rich and redolent culture of music, the culinary arts and dance with their fellow citizens of this great province.”

Dr. Susan Papp-Aykler
President of the Rakoczi Foundation

“The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 made the first crack in the Iron Curtain, presaging the opening of Hungary’s border for East Germans, which led to the demolition of the Berlin Wall in 1990. Hungarians have been active contributors to Ontario’s vibrant community for more than 100 years, and this tribute is a wonderful recognition.”

Prof. Levente Diósady, O.C.
Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto

“In the time of need, Hungarians were welcomed by Ontario. Through the kindness and inspiration of the people here, Hungarians have been able to prosper in their new home and contribute to progression of the province. The Hungarians’ hard work, unique language, culture and innovative thinking is a treasure that Ontario has embraced and prospered from.”

Mr. Valér Palkovits
Consul General of Hungary in Toronto

“I think these initiatives are very important. Canada was enriched in countless ways by the people from Hungary who came here in the wake of the 1956 Revolution. What the Hungarians showed all of us in October 1956 was that there were alternatives to authoritarianism and living with a lie. While 1956 did not succeed, the legacy made a series of events possible when we least expected them. We owe the Freedom Fighters of Hungary more than we imagine.”

Prof. Robert Austin
Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, University of Toronto

 

Quick Facts

  • Hungarian immigrants began to arrive in Ontario in the early 20th century to work in Ontario’s steel industry, and to help build the Welland Canal. The Hungarian Self Culture Society of Welland celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.
  • Other Hungarians escaped to Canada following the Nazi occupation of Hungary in 1944, including businessman and philanthropist Peter Munk.
  • Canada welcomed over 37,000 Hungarians following the Hungarian Uprising on October 23, 1956. They escaped communist tyranny, found refuge in Canada, and made important contributions across Ontario.
  • Thirty-three years later, Hungarians celebrated the collapse of the oppressive communist regime, as Hungary became a democratic parliamentary republic on October 23, 1989.

 

Additional Resources

 

Contact

Office of Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP
Mississauga-Lakeshore
(905) 274-8228