NP-UN Western Bureau / UCC National.
The long-awaited Consulate of Ukraine was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony in Edmonton, September 7.
The Consulate is located in the Ledgeview Business Centre, located at 9707 – 110 Street NW, but since the facilities are currently undergoing renovations, consular services will be provided at the UCC Alberta Provincial Council office until January.
The Consulate will serve Western Canada – Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia – and will serve to meet growing demand for consular services.
Manitoba will continue to be served by the Toronto Consulate.
The opening of the Consulate will also facilitate and enhance the development of cultural, social, economic and trade linkages between Canada and Ukraine. Western Canada is home to over 670,000 Canadians of Ukrainian descent, and many Ukrainian citizens.
Ukraine’s Consul in Edmonton is Nadiya Kostenko, and she will be joined by additional staff including a Consul General in the coming months.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin and a number of dignitaries including Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Canada’s Minister of Science & Sport Kirsty Duncan, Ambassador Andriy Shevchenko and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.
Representing the Ukrainian Canadian Congress were Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz, President of UCC Alberta Provincial Council and Andrea Kopylech, Vice President of UCC National. Also participating were Natalia Jatskevych, President of UCC British Columbia Provincial Council, MaryAnn Trischuk, President of UCC Saskatchewan Provincial Council, Orysia Boychuk, President of UCC Edmonton branch and Ihor Michalchyshyn, CEO of UCC National.
Minister Klimkin welcomed guests at the Consulate opening with warm words, and noted the strong historic, economic and political ties between Canada and Ukraine. He especially thanked Canada for supporting Ukraine in the struggle against Russian aggression since 2014.
“This is a landmark event, through which Ukraine recognizes the special role played by the Ukrainian community in the west of Canada and which opens the door for trade and investment contacts,” said Minister Klimkin.
Premier Notley noted the special significance of the Consulate opening taking place on September 7, which has been designated as Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day in Alberta. Earlier in the day the Ukrainian flag was raised at the Alberta Legislature in a special ceremony attended by many members of the Alberta’s Legislative Assembly. “Ukrainians settled in Alberta more than 125 years ago, and generations of Ukrainian-Albertans have made an enduring impact on our province with contributions that span business and industry, academia, public service, culture and sports” said Premier Notley.
Minister Duncan spoke on behalf of the Government of Canada, saying that for her the opening of the Consulate and celebration of Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day was deeply personal, as her own family immigrated from Ukraine in the early 1900’s. Minister Duncan noted the strong Canadian support for Ukraine since the illegal Russian occupation of Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine in 2014.
“You have our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine and your territorial integrity, and we are eager to continue working with Ukraine to strengthen our ties” said Minister Duncan.
Bringing greetings of behalf of UCC National, Kopylech thanked all those who hard worked hard to make the opening of the new Consulate possible. “This is truly an historic day for our Canada Ukraine relations, and we look forward to working closely with the team at the new Consulate for many years to come. Congratulations! Многая Літа!” said Kopylech.
Representing Alberta’s Ukrainian Canadian community was Luciw-Andryjowycz.
“When Ukrainians first began coming to Canada over 125 years ago, they settled in Alberta. Since then, the bond between our two countries has grown ever stronger, and the opening of the Consulate will ensure even closer links between Canada and Ukraine,” she said.
Following the official opening of the Consulate and the commemoration of Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day, a banquet was held in recognition of the opening of the Consulate, which was attended by over two hundred guests.