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Daniel Herman, Czech Minister of Culture, visited Toronto

On November 13 - November 18, 2016 Minister Herman conducted a bilateral visit to Canada during which he visited Toronto (13.11-16.11), Ottawa and Montreal (16.11.-18.11). The principal aim of the visit was the further development of bilateral cultural co-operation, strengthening ties among Canadian and Czech cultural institutions as well as the intensification of dialogue with compatriot Czech organizations and associations.

The itinerary started when Minister Herman paid a visit to Precision Records Pressing Company located in Burlington, a city located in the Greater Toronto Area. The company was founded as a joint-venture between a Canadian publisher/publishing house and a Czech company called GZ Media and is one of the largest manufacturers of vinyl records worldwide.  The joint-venture confirms that Canada can be a promising destination for investments by Czech companies. During the visit, Minister Herman discussed the possibilities of entering Canadian markets and using them as a base for expansion into other North American markets.

Minister Herman also met with representatives of the Czech and Slovak Community in Toronto, The Masaryk Memorial Institute. The Institute is a Canadian compatriot charity and cultural organization that has been serving people of Czech and Slovak origin living in Canada since 1945. Minister Herman participated in discussing current political issues in the Czech Republic and answered many questions concerning government support for Czech associations abroad. He also gave interviews to local Czech print and electronic media - Nový Domov (New Homeland), Nová Vize and Satellite 416.

MMI Památník obětí komunismu

MMI Památník obětí komunismu

Up next on the minister‘s schedule was the University of Toronto, where he gave a lecture on the topic „Coming to terms with the past“ to an audience of students, experts, members of the diplomatic community and Czech community. He described the transformation processes in society after 1989. During a lively discussion, participants raised many questions on such topics as the instruments of support of culture and the possibility of a wider presentation of Czech art and Czech artists abroad, the development of tourism to the Czech Republic and Czech government support of maintaining the Czech Studies program at the University of Toronto. The lecture was followed by a social function where Minister Herman had a chance to informally meet with various important local countrymen such as M. Kroupa, G. Steinsky and Honorary Consul General in Calgary, J. Jelinek, to name a few.

A meeting with representatives of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was dedicated to the possibility of further involvement of Czech cinematography in future TIFF seasons. The Minister acknowledged the high quality of TIFF, expressed an interest of the Czech Republic in film co-productions and described film industry incentives in the Czech Republic. He articulated a desire to update an outdated bilateral treaty of film co-operation from 1987 and introduced the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary.

This was followed by a meeting with Mr. Simon Brault the director of the Canada Council for the Arts (which is a public organization for the financing of cultural projects). The Minister informed his partner of the funding of such projects in the Czech Republic and issues related to such funding.

Apart from his main agenda in Toronto, Minister Herman met with Ms. Sonja Bata, the widow of Tomáš Baťa Jr. at the Bata Shoe Museum , which she founded and still largely finances. After that he paid visit to the Consulate General of the Czech Republic, where Consul General Ivan Počuch presented the Consulate's principal activities and priorities for the upcoming term and introduced the staff.