Croatian Society: Schumacher has launched a fundraising campaign to keep the historical Croatian Hall going.
The goal is to raise about $150,000. Funds are needed to do roof insulation and to fix the foundation in the basement that has suffered from water damage.
“We want the hall to keep going not just for Croatians but for the whole community,” said society's board member Kathy Vukobratic. “The hall has played an integral role in Timmins for over 88 years. And there aren’t a lot of cultural clubs left really in Timmins.”
The organization has already received about $6,000. The first donation in the amount of $3,100 came from Randy Gattesco, whose business The Victory Tavern had its 90th anniversary in August. All proceeds from that event went to the Croatian Hall.
The rest of the money was received through email transfers from community members, Vukobratic said.
There are four different donation levels: bronze ($50), silver ($100), gold ($200), platinum ($1,000) and diamond ($5,000 and over). Donors’ names would then be engraved on a permanent plaque and displayed in the front lobby at the hall.
“We’re kind of calling this campaign, Help Save the Hall, Buy Bricks in the Wall. Each donation would be like a brick,” she said.
The hall on Father Costello Drive in Schumacher was first built as a theatre in the 1920s. A group of Croatians then bought the building and renovated it to have a place where they could gather to celebrate their heritage, Vukobratic said.
Throughout the years, the building has served as a hub for all types of social gatherings, weddings, parties and even funerals.
“It’s been a place where people gathered for entertainment. We had dinners there, we have our parties, dances, we bring entertainment from out of town. We cook, we have excellent meals there,” Vukobratic said. “So, the hall has always been central not only for Schumacher people but for Timmins people.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, building rentals had to be cancelled, so the only current source of revenue comes from the society’s involvement with Timmins Charitable Gaming Association.
Vukobratic noted the hall is open to anyone, not just members of the Croatian Society.
“Many people have walked through our doors to dance, to eat, to listen to the music,” she said. “We need to our culture going … This is the first time we’ve asked for help from the public and we’re just doing it because we really, really want to keep our hall going.”
Cheques can be mailed to Schumacher Croatian Society, Box 477, Schumacher, Ont., P0N 1G0.