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Photos provided by Rose Laki Rodrigues

Rose Laki came to Canada from Slovenia in 1957 at the age of 3, and has lived in the Harbord Village area ever since, marrying and bringing up her own children in the family home on Major Street. Her extensive photo collection spans 50 years and shows a family enjoying new conditions while maintaining some elements of their European culture. The photos display both a close-knit family and an abundance of group events. Many show people preparing old-country food.


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[date unknown] Louie Laki (third fom left) and other workers in the Austrian work camp from which he came to Canada.

Late 1940s. Louie Laki (left) and two other mounted soldiers, shown against the backdrop of a Slovenian town.

February 10, 1952. Louie and Ana Laki on their wedding day in Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia. Louie later escaped from Yugoslavia via Austria. After time in a work camp in Austria, he came to Canada in 1954. He was able to bring Ana and Rose to Canada in 1957.

1954. Louie Laki (front row, second from left), aged 26, and other men in lifejackets on board the ship to Canada. He kept in touch afterwards with several of the people from the work camp and the transport ship, but rarely talked to his family about his experiences there.

December 1956. Louie Laki and his family friend Maria Skalic at 95 Lippincott, where a group of Slovenians lived on first arrival in Canada. Louie grew up in Slovenia with Maria's husband; Maria escaped from Slovenia to Austria as a teenager, telling only her father that she planned to go, and knowing that she would never see her family again.

1957. The reunited Laki family at 95 Lippincott with other newly-arrived Slovenian immigrants. Rose's father Louie is sitting at bottom right holding a baby [name unknown], with his friend Ivan P. holding Rose. Rose's mother Ana is standing, second from left.

June 1957. On the lawn outside 95 Lippincott, Rose (lifting her face to the sun) with neighbourhood children and adult visitors from Montreal.

1957. Terezija Laki (Louie's sister, who had escaped to Austria by runring barefoot through the snow and climbing a barbed-wire fence) and family friend Maria Skalic at the side of 91 Lippincott, where Ana and Louie moved that year. The elongated side porch is still present on that house.


1957. Slovenian friends beside 91 Lippincott. Back row: Maria Skalic, Nicolas, Joe, Ana Laki. Front row: Terezija Laki, Rose, another friend.

1957. Louie Laki and his daughter Rose in what was then a vacant lot (now a house numbered 87) south of the long side porch at 91 Lippincott.


1957. Rose "drives" her father's motorcyle in the vacant lot south of 91 Lippincott. In the background are the playground of King Edward School and houses on the west side of Bathurst.


November 1957. Louie Laki on the phone in the family's rented quarters at 91 Lippincott, likely just after painting the room.


December 1957. In the same room at 91 Lippincott, the Laki family and friends celebrate the season. Rose is the child at front left.


1958. Rose, Louie, and Ana Laki on the family motorcycle, on the vacant lot south of 91 Lippincott.


July 1958. A visitor (not Rose) standing at the front of the vacant lot south of 91 Lippincott, with the College-Lippincott intersection in the background.


February 1957. Louie Laki with his rifle and a hare he had shot on the northern edge of Toronto. Note the special hunting hat with brush. (See also the 1960 photo of Giuseppe Porretta with a similar catch.)


March 1959. Slovenian friends making sausages in the basement of 120 Borden. The group used the whole pig to make pork chops, sausages, and prosciutto.


Early 1960s. Louie Laki (front left) and Slovenian friends in the basement of 95 Lippincott, celebrating the year's vintage of homemade wine.


Early 1960s. Louie Laki (third fom left) and workmates at Crouse-Hinds electrical plant, where he worked for many years.

Early 1960s. The Laki family and friends on the porch of 159 Major, which they bought in 1960. Rose (standing front row left) still lives in the same house. The bench is still there too, though the leaded windows were broken later in a teenage chemistry experiment.


Early 1960s. Neighbourhood children, some from a family that had escaped from Hungary after the 1957 revolution, in front of 159 Major shortly after the Lakis moved in.


Mid-1960s. A neighbour borrowing a very large saw from Louie and Ana Laki, seen on the porch with Rose.


1980s. Louie and Ana Laki making wine in the back yard at 159 Major, with Rose's son Christopher and daughter Danielle. They combined their own grapes with some picked in Niagara and some bought from California. Rose and her husband Jack Rodrigues lived with her parents at 159 Major and brought up their children there.


Early 1990s. Making sauerkraut at 159 Major. Louie (in the darker hat), with Rose's uncle and aunt. They used special hard cabbage picked on a farm at St. Catharines, and kept the sauerkraut in large barrels.


1980s. A classic Ontario farmhouse near Breden, Lake Simcoe, that the Laki family bought in 1968. Rose and her two children are seen on the steps. The extended family stayed there in the summers, renting out the fields to local farmers but tending a large garden.


2012. Another example of Laki gardening: the current front yard of 159 Major. The porch and bench seen in earlier photos are still in place, but hidden by lush foliage. Rose's clematis vine is a neighbourhood attraction.


2011. Naming ceremony for Louie Laki Lane, which runs east from Major and north between Major and Robert. From left: Rose and her mother Ana, daughter Danielle, husband Jack, and son Christopher. At right: Adam Vaughan, Tim Grant behind. The citation says: "Well-known in the neighbourhood for his commitment to his community and generous, hospitable nature, Louie Laki exemplified the tremendous contribution that immigrants have made to Canada."


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