Daniela Lojkova (left) and her husband, Michal Gjurisic, are the owners of the Prague Cafe on Marina Way. Submitted photo

Multicultural Champions: Bringing Czech Republic culture to Canada with love

When they first arrived in Penticton in 2012, their first stop was a coffee shop on Marina Way

Celebrating multiculturalism and diversity in the community, 14 multicultural champions were selected to be featured and have their stories shared in the Penticton Western News on a monthly basis in partnership with the South Okanagan Similkameen Local Immigration Partnership Council, South Okanagna Immigrant and Community Services and Respect Network.

Daniela Lojkova came to Canada from Prague, Czech Republic in 2010 with the intention of studying English for one year. Nine months later her husband came over — they got permanent residency — had a baby and started two new businesses.

“Everything just fell into place,” explains Lojkova. “Quite a lot of progress for immigrants who could barely speak English.”

Related: Escaping a difficult life in El Salvador

When they first arrived in Penticton in 2012, their first stop was a coffee shop on Marina Way. They fell in love with that place and the view. Low and behold, the owner of the coffee shop announced her intention to sell. Michal Gjurisic worked as a manager in the restaurant industry and was co-owner of a restaurant back in Prague. So, starting his own café was a perfect fit — and thus, the Prague Café was born.

“We offer European styled food and service at our café. It’s fresh, healthy and free of preservatives. We also feature old style Czech recipes. The decor is European so when someone comes to our café they can escape to Europe with their imagination,” said Gjurisic.

Related: Landing in wine country

Lojkova and Gjurisic are proud of the quality of product and service at their café but they are still open to ideas on how to improve it.

“If you ask Canadians about something they will tell you it’s good. They are too polite to offer criticism. But we welcome it,” said Lojkova.

Lojkova is a wellness and lifestyle coach by profession with a bachelor’s degree in sports, fitness and wellness. Lojkova offers her services in Penticton and in the spring 2017 released her first English book titled, Change Your Body, Mind and Life – Wellness and Fitness Guide.

“We see no reason to return to Prague now. We’re thinking of applying for Canadian citizenship. A lot has happened in our lives in a very short period. I love my job and Michal loves his. Everything we provide comes with love.”

Related: Shifting from an era of fear to love

Lojkova and Gjurisic feel that Canada offers endless career opportunities, unlike their homeland.

“In Prague, once you choose a career, you’re stuck in it forever. In Canada, you can change careers anytime and no one judges you,” said Lojkova. “We had a very high standard of living in Prague and made very good money. But in order to maintain that standard you have to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, keep up with the status quo and if you take a break, for even two weeks, it is difficult to catch up. Here, in Canada, it’s a more laid-back lifestyle. We can still earn a good salary here but there is also more time to spend with family.”

Related: Multicultural community champions celebrated

Speaking of family, Lojkova and Gjurisic will make another major contribution to Canada. They are expecting their second child shortly.

Lojkova and Gjurisic are extremely grateful to the staff at South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services for the help they provided.

“When we came to Penticton they helped us with English lessons, filing taxes, maternity leave and more. Every time we went there with a question, they answered them for us. They also provided childcare that allowed me to take English lessons. I really appreciate that,” said Lojkova.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Family Day move a welcome change: poll

Okanagan readers voted that the new date for Family Day in B.C. is a positive change

Penticton athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Businesses directly impacted by Hwy. 97 closure

Members of the Penticton Wine Country Chamber of Commerce faced late deliveries. no staff, etc.

Fundraiser started for mother who had stroke while visiting Central Okanagan family

Tina Parry was visiting her daughter Rita Bruce Nanakeain and grandsons when she had a stroke

Vote for your favourite Penticton photo

Over 700 photos were submitted to the Snap Your City photo contest.

‘Just like Iron Man’: Calgary surgeon undergoes experimental spinal surgery

Dr. Richi Gill was in a freak accident on a boogie board during a family vacation in Hawaii

A Mother’s Wish: Ryan Shtuka’s mother wants her son to be ‘forever known’

‍‍‍‍‍“Let me tell you a story …. it all began with a boy named Ryan”

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

Okanagan College professor awarded for promoting financial literacy

Leigh Sindlinger received a Distinguished Service Award for inspiring financial literacy in youth

Poll: What do you think of Family Day weekend’s move?

Until this year, Family Day has fallen on the second Monday in February

Sicamous farmer’s A2 milk could help those with trouble digesting dairy

The milk which contains no A1 beta-casein, a cause of digestive problems for some, hits stores soon

Most Read