mother often told him the story of their arrival in Canada. His father had
been offered a job by the government of Canada before leaving Europe. The
job was to see if he could help out in the field of agronomy because of
his expertise on plant life - he was to grow plant life in these barren
After the boat docked in Halifax they boarded a train and headed West. The
train took them to Saskatchewan where Anthony's father had been promised
land to cultivate. During the train ride, there was only one other
passenger on the train, a Hungarian man who shared his food that he had in
a wicker basket. They learned he was a farmer and as Anthony's dad grew up
in the golden era of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (he was even present once
at the Court of then Emperor Franz Josef), he was able to converse with
him in Hungarian. When they arrived at a place called Windthorst, another
platform that served as a station, the farmer got off. Anthony's father
and mother continued alone, passing seas of wheat and shrubs---no
The train station
At Regina, they boarded a trunk train, riding in a satin-lined coach. They
traveled from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with nothing to eat; there were not
even toilets. The train would only stop long enough for the passengers to
liberate their bladders.
When they got to Davidson, a town on the rail line about half-way between
Regina and Saskatoon, they were let out in the middle of the prairie which
was so desolate and wind-blown that, apart from the rickety train station,
there was nothing to be seen as far as the eye could see but tumbleweeds
and blowing sand. There, a fellow by the name of Franz Tiggler, who
Anthony's father had arranged to have meet them, picked them up in a 1914
Model-T Ford. He drove them to a large building in the middle of nowhere.
The main room had shelves of canned food. Franz never threw away any of
his empty cans---he would just put them back on the shelves. There was a
windmill and a well. Franz scooped up some water for mother---there was a
rat in the water. The beds had dirty linen with no clean linen to change.
There was a generator and a freezer (a guess that was an icebox).
Anthony's mother cooked a meal with veal that was in the freezer. Franz
put his hands, with his dirty fingernails, into the stew. So, she taught
him how to eat; cut his hair and cleaned him up. He became devoted to her.
One day Franz vanished. He went to some small village about 75 miles away
to buy mom a few chocolate bars---that took him 2 days.
They stayed at this place until the end of October. During this time,
Anthony's father got to work and began to do something with the desolate
and barren land and had three train cabooses fitted with bunk beds for his
Life was not rosy and there were many hardships for the Jurak's during
these trying times and before one year was out, Anthony's mother could not
cope with the hardship after having a rather 'life of Riley' in Europe and
she pleaded with her husband to return to the old country. Well, his
father could see what was happening and he understood the breakup was
forthcoming in Europe, so he was reluctant to leave the great North
American continent that certainly seemed to be a land of plenty. Anthony's
father convinced his wife to move to Winnipeg, which was a little more
developed, and there he continued his work and some months later, their
first child, Lauretta, was born in 1927. Well, as his mother related to
Anthony, Winnipeg was just as desolate and the hardship was just as great
and the Great Depression was now upon them. In order to avoid some of the
more unpleasant things happening to most people, they sold off all the
valuables that they had brought from Europe. Since things were still
bleak, Anthony's mother again pleaded to return to Europe, and in 1932,
they headed off east to Quebec City to wait for a boat to take them back
to their homeland.