Oldest Local Croatian-Canadian Families Reunite


For the past year, the Pavelich and Krmpotich families have been planning their first family reunion, to be held July 22-24, 2016. Members of the two families immigrated and established homes in Sault Ste. Marie at the turn of the last century with many to follow in the 1920’s or later. The reunion is expected to attract 200 descendents from Canada and the US.

Planning Committee spokespersons, Ron and Bob Krmpotich, brothers of hockey great Mary Pavelich and Hall of Fame NHL official Matt Pavelich, indicated that there is a full line-up of activities. The Friday evening opener and Saturday dinner will be hosted, where else, but the Croatian Hall. Saturday will feature a Self-Guided Tour with visits to original Croatian neighbourhoods, business locations owned by or providing employment for family members and an opportunity to locate ancestors in their final resting place. Following a mass at St. Gregory’s Church, a good-bye brunch will be held at The Machine Shop. The latter is of special significance as many Croatians found work at the paper mill, as well as the steel plant, in the early years of immigration

Croatian Canadian Internment Project (CCIP) Leader Frank Jankač participated in the opening of the “Enemy Aliens, Prisoners of War” Internment Pavilion at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site in Banff, Alberta on 13 September 2013. Under the auspices of Parks Canada, the $3 million project was the first major undertaking and memorial driven by the Government of Canada to commemorate Canada’s First National Internment Operations from 1914-1920.

A key feature of the weekend will be presentations and interviews conducted by Frank Jankac and Sam Granic from the Croatian Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Jankac is researching the Croatian Canadian diaspora and the internment of Croatians across Canada during WWI as well as their subsequent contribution to Canada. Sault Ste. Marie played a role in providing a holding centre for those determined to be a threat to Canadian security between 1913 and 1920. Mr Jankac’s research indicates at least 16 local persons of Croatian descent, including members of the Pavelich and Krmpotich families, were held in forced labour camps.

Mr. Jankac emphasized that this weekend is about celebrating those who came before us, acknowledging the hardships they shared and recognizing that our heritage will sustain us for years to come.

For more information about the Pavelich and Krmpotich Family Reunion contact 705-779-6346 or [email protected]

To learn more about the Croatian Canadian Internment Project visit their Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/CroatianInternment/

About the Pavelich and Krmpotich Family Reunion 

The Pavelich and Krmpotich families were established in Sault Ste. Marie at the turn of the last century. Family members were instrumental in local business (Holiday Motel, Lone Pine Drive-In, Textile Shop, Pavelich Farm – now Crimson Ridge Golf Course), built the now-demolished Krmpotich block, once a hub for the Croatian community and were founding members of the Croatian Hall and Our Lady of the Highway Roman Catholic Church. Family members will attend from Quebec, Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor, Hibbing, MN and Chicago, IL. The family has a private member Facebook site, Pavelic and Krmpotic Descedents. 


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