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Ukrainian-Canadians celebrate 125th anniversary of first immigration

August 7, 2016

CBC News | Ukrainian-Canadians showcased more than 100 years of history at Alberta’s Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village on Sunday.

Their celebration marked the 125th anniversary of the first Ukrainian immigration to Canada.

“Ukrainians have touched upon everybody’s lives,” said Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alberta Provincial Council.

“As Ukrainians we are farmers, we’re agriculturalists, we’re teachers, we’re nurses, we’re doctors. We are Canadian. We have integrated into the Canadian fabric, but we’re also a very strong fabric on our own.”

The event launched an official year of the Ukrainian-Canadian in Alberta, where more than 345,000 people can trace their roots back to Ukraine.

“This declaration recognizes and commemorates the accomplishments and contributions of Ukrainian-Canadians to our society in every way from culture and the arts, to education, to business and public service,” said Deron Bilous, Alberta’s minister of economic development and trade.

“They helped build this incredible province and — as one of their many descendants — I take tremendous pride in honouring that contribution on behalf of the Government of Alberta,” he said.

Along with perogies and garlic sausage, the event served up a heaping helping of history.

Visitors got a preview of Stelmach House, the restored home of Alberta’s 13th premier Ed Stelmach. It has been re-purposed as an interpretive learning centre showcasing the lives of early Ukrainian pioneers.

“We have maintained our culture, we have maintained our language but we can no longer be looked upon as an immigrant culture,” said Radomir Bilash, the official historian of the congress.

“We are Canadians, but we are Canadians who proudly celebrate our origins.”

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