Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day celebrated in Alberta

Ric McIver, Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz, and Oleksandr Danyleiko raise the Ukrainian falg as students from St. Brendan Catholic School sing the national anthem. Photo: Marco Levytsky

NP-UN Western Bureau.

The Ukrainian flag was raised in both Edmonton and Calgary to celebrate the third annual Ukrainian Heritage Day in Alberta September 6.

September 7, which this year fell on a Saturday, is the actual day Ukrainian Canadian heritage is celebrated in both Alberta and Ontario. It is the anniversary of the first of the first Ukrainian pioneers, Wasyl Eleniak and Ivan Pylypiw, in Canada in 1891. Manitoba celebrates this day on the last Saturday in July to coincide with Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin.

“Albertans of Ukrainian heritage have been an important part of our province’s story for over 120 years,” said Transportation Minister Ric McIver on behalf of the Government of Alberta at the Edmonton ceremony held on legislature grounds.

“From leaders in politics like Premier Ed Stelmach, leaders in education, health care, agriculture and so much more, we owe our thanks and gratitude to the Ukrainian community for helping build the Alberta we know today.

“We are here to celebrate these many contributions by raising the Ukrainian flag here, and in Calgary, in recognition of Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day.

“To Albertans who trace their roots back to the first Ukrainian pioneers, and to those who have more recently emigrated from Ukraine, thank you for enriching Alberta’s cultural tapestry,” he added.

Speaking for the Government of Ukraine, Edmonton’s Consul-General Oleksandr Danyleiko said:

“Here in Alberta and Edmonton we feel the Ukrainian spirit and see the Ukrainian heritage everywhere – in the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, at the Alberta Legislature, observing the monument to the first Ukrainian settlers, praying in the Ukrainian churches around the province, and honoring the memory of millions of innocent victims of Stalin’s regime at the world’s first monument dedicated to the Ukrainian Holodomor – next to the City Hall.

“But it would not be possible if the provincial government and city authorities did not create the necessary environment for the free and sustainable development of Ukrainian community, and did not support Ukrainian culture and traditions.

“On behalf of Ukrainian government, I would like to thank Government of Alberta for strong and continuous support of the local Ukrainian community.”

Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz, President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council, paid tribute to the perseverance of our pioneers from every wave of immigration which came to Canada over the past 128 years.

“Perseverance, resilience and sheer tenacity is in our genes, as Ukrainians have survived and overcome centuries of persecution, only to rise on top. Over 376,000 Alberta with Canadian Citizenship identify themselves as having Ukrainian roots, and the Ukrainian community in this province remains a strong contributing force in its development.

“Today we are proud Ukrainians who fill the ranks of every profession. And we are Ukrainian Canadians and proud to call Alberta, Canada home. We indeed helped build this province and we continue to add to it every day. We are strong and proud and are growing,” she added.

David Makowsky, Director of the Ukrainian Cultural heritage Village served as Master of Ceremonies, and students from St. Brendan Catholic School’s Ukrainian bilingual program sang the Ukrainian and Canadian national anthems.