Meletiy Zyla, Special For NP-UN, Edmonton.
This year marked the first time the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council (UCC-APC) joined forces with the UCC’s Edmonton Branch to hold a combined Ukrainian Day – Independence Day celebration at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village.
“Ukrainian Day is now part of our celebration of Ukrainian Independence Day” through which the Ukrainian Canadian community in Alberta is “celebrating and commemorating the anniversary of independence,” said Slavka Shulakewych, Provincial Coordinator of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council (UCC-APC).
“For the first time ever UCC Edmonton and UCC-APC amalgamated two important and separate events, which usually were two to three weeks apart. This served to drain the volunteer resources we have in the community, so we decided this year to combine both events. We believe that this was a real success for the community and we’re hopeful that we will continue to combine and build these two significant events in the future,” noted Orysia Boychuk, President of UCC Edmonton.
Visitors to the open-air museum and cultural hub attended morning church services, monument blessings, a reading of “Rediscovering Ukraine” by Andriy Lyubka, and an afternoon concert with performances by Euphoria, Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Company, Theresa Sokyra (Canadian Idol Finalist), and RUTA singers.
Additionally, more than 20 vendors, five food trucks, and two kitchens provided food and drink for the festive guests.
This year’s Ukrainian Day also featured two significant milestones. First, the Stelmach family along with the UCC-APC proudly opened the new Stelmach House Learning Centre. Second, the final set of names was added to the Centennial Pioneer Recognition Monument. In total, there are 7,766 names on this monument. This marks the formal completion of the twelve-year Alberta-Ukraine Genealogical Project.
Consensus is that the celebration was an overall success and another proud moment for the Ukrainian Canadian community in Alberta.
“The Ukrainian Canadian community here in Alberta is fortunate enough to have a place [and event] that celebrates all things Ukrainian, gives us a shadow of where we’ve come from, and lets us remember and appreciate our pioneers,” said Shulakewych.
“We encourage and we always try to embrace and include our rural communities [throughout] the province. When we have Ukrainian Day at the village we have [visitors] from Calgary, Vegreville, Edmonton and the surrounding areas – we try to make this event a provincial event,” she added.