With our 125th anniversary contest, we ask each of our winners to submit a reply to the question: “What does being Ukrainian Canadian mean to you?”
Here are the replies:
I was asked to write about what being Ukrainian means to me…it means that I cry a lot. I cry when I see that picture of the Bukovyntsi on the platform newly arrived in Canada. I cry when my kids dance Virsky Hopak. I cry when I hear little kids at Sadochok speaking Ukrainian. I also cry when they play ‘O Canada’ at movie theatres or hockey games. I am so proud to hold both of these loves in my heart!
Growing up as a first generation Ukrainian Canadian, I have had the opportunity to experience the best of Canadian life while being given the opportunity to celebrate and be proud of my Ukrainian heritage. Ukrainian traditions, language and community involvement have and continue to play a very important role in my daily life. When my grandparents immigrated with a young family, it was important for them to find ways to keep ties and continue the traditions that were left in their home land. They registered my mother in CYM (Ukrainian Youth Association), and when the time came she followed suit and enrolled my sister and I. Being a member of CYM has provided me with endless opportunities including networking and meeting with other Ukrainians around the world. As a Ukrainian Canadian, I am hoping to continue the legacy of hard work and determination that the first Ukrainians who immigrated to Canada 125 years ago began. Being Ukrainian Canadian has shaped me into who I am today, and I can only hope to one day pass on both Ukrainian traditions and language to the next generation.
I grew up in a Ukrainian family as a hearing impaired (deaf) person. My father is fully Ukrainian & my mother is fully Polish; they both embrace our Ukrainian culture. My father usually sings in the Ukrainian choir at our church and my mother is also a member of our church, where she loves baking pies and various foods for Ukrainian weddings, anniversaries and other events. My nephew & niece were Ukrainian dancers for many years and now the new generations of grandchildren are Ukrainian dancers; this for me is a very important part our Ukrainian culture. We integrate our Ukrainian heritage throughout our lives, enjoying dancers, singers, music and foods. We will always support our Ukrainian culture for our entire lives. In our opinion Ukrainians are the most beautiful dancers and singers! May God bless all Ukrainian people!
When I think about what being a Canadian Ukrainian means to me foremost is family; a great big family. Strong cultural traditions associated with celebrations of life, death, art, dance and the food. You share a sense of pride and instant familiarity when you meet a fellow Ukrainian (which I’m sure all cultures do). I can’t really put a meaning to it I guess, it’s just who you are and what you do. It’s just in you, I was born in Canada, so I don’t know the hardship of the transition or what it was like “back home” so that alone means courage and strength that our ancestors instilled in us. I don’t know what else I can say but that I love it and I’m happy.
Being Ukrainian to me is about being strong and persevering no matter what. I think back to how life must have been for my great grandparents. They came to Canada with nothing but each other at a time where you had to break your own land with a slim chance of surviving your first winter. They arrived in a strange place with a different language, knowing no one and everything was foreign to them. They rose to the challenge and prospered while raising large families in the process. We Ukrainians also have an amazing culture with a beautiful language, interesting history, and great music and dancing. I’m proud to be Ukrainian.
Being a Ukrainian-Canadian, to me, means embracing and preserving our culture. I think it’s important to learn about the Ukrainian heritage and traditions to ensure that the Ukrainian identity is sustained for Canadians, whether they have recently immigrated here, or are nth generationals. I really enjoy hearing stories about my ancestors in Ukraine, learning to cook traditional meals from my Baba, and keeping conversation in Ukrainian with my Gedo. My hope is to pass on these things to my children, and children’s children.
Well, here’s the thing. I’m not actually Ukrainian; I married a Ukrainian and his family plus the whole community. I’ve been tempted to write my own Ukrainian version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. A lot of Ukrainian people don’t realize that I’m not Ukrainian. Case in point: my first trip as a volunteer at bandura camp with non-English speaking cooks, what an adventure that was. My kids are the only grandchildren on my husband’s side so it’s important to him and baba that they experience the Ukrainian culture. This includes Ukrainian school, dancing, crafting and playing the bandura. We try to attend as many Ukrainian festivals as we can in the summer and sometimes the kids get to dance and play. They have given me the nickname of “big Ukie mama”. Thank you.
I am a very proud Ukrainian Canadian. I immigrated to Canada on Mar. 31, 1966. It has been 50 years since my parents Wolodymyr and Stefania, with their 5 children, set sail on the Stefan Batory America Line from Gdynia, Poland to Montreal. We then boarded a CNR train for our new life in Winnipeg. Our parents left their difficult life in Poland, to create a promising future for their children. During Aktsia Wisla, my parents were displaced from their border town of Dobra to Poland. My siblings and I were born in Poland. LIfe in Poland was difficult if you were Ukrainian. We had some family that eventually sponsored us to come to Canada. In Canada we were free to speak in Ukrainian, attend a Ukrainian Church as well as immerse ourselves in our Ukrainian culture and community. Canada is a wonderful country that allows a person to maintain one’s roots, while still allowing them to be a proud Canadian. Our lives in Canada allowed us to prosper and thrive. We were able to educate ourselves to live a good life, free of discrimination and retribution. My entire family is extremely grateful to call Canada our home.
Almost 25 years ago, a cousin in Ukraine told me that it was “better to be a Ukrainian in Canada than a Ukrainian in Ukraine”. At the time, I didn’t understand how this could be. My heart yearned to live there – to absorb the language and culture and live with my enormous family. I felt I had been born in the wrong country. I have now grown and raised my own family. I still have those yearnings to live in Ukraine. But as I have watched the country evolve in freedom, struggling with democracy, economics, corruption, truth and war, I now understand what my cousin’s words truly mean. As a Canadian, I live in comfort and security – stability and prosperity. I am able to live my culture in peace. As Ukrainian-Canadians, our lives are infused and enriched with a Ukrainian heritage – its culture, traditions, language, art and history. We are able to enjoy this heritage with our ancestors. And as Ukrainian-Canadians, we have both the duty and ability to cultivate that heritage here in Canada, making it part of the diverse Canadian cultural landscape. We truly have the best of both worlds.
What does being Ukrainian-Canadian mean to me? Canada is a multicultural country, meaning that people from all cultures and nationalities are able to express and define their own identities, while coexisting with others. In that regard, although I was born in Canada, I strongly and proudly identify as a Ukrainian-Canadian. The first part of this label represents my Ukrainian ancestry, and cultural heritage. The second represents my birth land, and Canadian identity. Both of these pieces are important to me, and being involved within the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg has allowed me to build a bridge between these two worlds.
To me being Ukrainian Canadian is an opportunity to embrace the hardships endured by my ancestors so that I can live a better life. I am able to live in a free country and express my ethnicity.
My mother was the oldest of three sisters born to Ukrainian immigrants. When I was born, my parents worked day and night to operate a local weekly newspaper so I spent more time in my grandparent’s company than my parents. My grandfather struggled with farming. It was good soil but the nearby creek would flood constantly destroying any chance of a healthy crop. I still remember the yard being completely flooded and the dirt cellar under the house filled up with water. It was pretty fun for a 5 year old! My grandmother had the most amazing garden. Actually, she maintained two huge gardens all by hand. There is nothing more incredible than fresh produce from the garden! She also grew poppies and dried them for their seed. I can still taste the seed as I cracked open the dried pods and poured them into my mouth. My grandmother cooked and baked the most delicious things. She had an old wood stove that everything was cooked in or on. It also heated the three room house. I rarely spoke English until I started school and then I was more at home than on the farm. No matter what happened my grandparents would dust themselves off and get back to work. They were hardworking and persistent but they liked their good food and shots of sherry! My grandmother never talked about why she came to Canada but I know she had to escape from her home during a time of great repression. She worked in France and Germany and eventually Canada where she met my grandfather. The majority of my grandfather’s family just decided to come to Canada for better opportunities. I learned to enjoy food and to not take anything for granted from my grandmother. I learned perseverance from my grandfather. The culture I learned was just part of everyday life. Only as an adult have I come to appreciate the nuances of the Ukrainian culture. I danced in a fledgling Ukrainian Society enjoying the pretty ribbons and red slippers and now my children dance that same Society but they are learning the meaning behind the costumes and the regions the dances come from. It was difficult for many Ukrainians, like my grandmother, to speak of their regional heritage because of the atrocities they had to endure so it makes me glad that organizations such as yours, are celebrating the Ukrainian Heritage. I’m proud to be part of such a spirited people. And I’m proud to share that with my children and hopefully their children.
My ancestors had a connection to the land that never left them, even when they came to Canada from Ukraine. When they arrived in Canada they instilled that connection to the land which is still alive in my family. My family is now 4 generations in Canada. We are a few years away from having this connection to the land for 100 years. The traditions of our ancestors have been passed down through the generations. Being in Canada has allowed us to express our Ukrainian identity without shame or fear. Our culture identity has been able to be expressed through religion, dance, folklore, embroidery, the lovely ceramic folk art and of course food. All of these traditions have been maintained in my family. It is a key way to express our heritage of being Ukrainian Canadian.
My name is Karen and I am proud to be a Ukrainian Canadian. Both sides of my families have come from Ukraine; my Gido on my dad’s side came on the boat. My great Baba on my mom’s side came from Ukraine. My parents, my brother and I were born in Canada. My father passed away when I was 5 years old so my mom brought up my brother Michael and me. From a young age my mom made sure my Ukrainian heritage was continued in my life. We didn’t speak it at home but we were involved in CYMK and went to Ukrainian camp and I remember learning how to make Ukrainian Easter Eggs. We were also in Ukrainian dancing. We attended Greek Orthodox church as much as we could; going to church and getting our basket blessed at Easter. Learning about the foods and the significance of each item that goes into the basket was fascinating. The special time of the year for me is Ukrainian Christmas. I love singing our Ukrainian Christmas carols. My dad’s side of the family was very traditional as my Gido would bring in the wheat sheaf and we wouldn’t eat until we saw the first star. We all enjoyed the 12 traditional dishes on Christmas Eve on both sides of my family! Being Ukrainian Canadian is important to me because of my grandparents! It was because of them wanting us all home to have Christmas and to be together. I am so proud to be continuing the traditions with my family now and know it will continue on… Being a Canadian I stand proud of a country that keeps me safe and supported my grandparents and great-grandparents coming into this country.
Being a Ukrainian Canadian is being proud of my ancestors who had the courage and vision to come to Canada over 100 years ago, and even prouder of the fact that they continued their traditions here and taught them to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I am heavily involved in the Ukrainian Dance scene in Winnipeg as a School Director and Dancer with a Company and am forever thankful that we live in a place where we can practice, promote and share our culture through an artistic outlet with the greater community. I am proud and honoured to continue teaching and sharing our Ukrainian culture through dance!
Being Ukrainian Canadian is my whole soul; it’s not just how I was raised but who I am as a person. The culture is so rich and vibrant, from our dance costumes to our music (and not forgetting our foods of course). It’s in my blood that runs more vibrant every day. I love attending festivals and cultural events such as the Dauphin Ukrainian Festival, Folklorama, and many zabavas throughout the year. I love to keep up traditions like Ukrainian Christmas and the Blessing of the Easter basket. I cook many traditional foods including perogies, cabbage rolls, perishky, borscht, potato and dill buns; these are all staples in my home. I am proud to say I am Ukrainian.
I’m proud and honoured to be a second generation Ukrainian-Canadian. My maternal grandparents came to Canada in the first wave of Ukrainian immigration: my grandmother in 1905 at the age of seven with her family, and my grandfather in 1907 at the age of 24. They married in 1912 (my grandmother was 14!) and raised a family of 13 children on their Saskatchewan farm. My grandfather insisted that all of his children speak only Ukrainian at home and that they attend Ukrainian school as well as regular school. Like many others in his community, he was determined to keep his language and culture alive. While researching my family history, I was proud to discover that my mum’s maternal grandfather was one of the founders of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church in his community. Although I’m Protestant (my mum married outside of her faith and culture), my church and my faith are important to me. Growing up in southern Ontario, my siblings and I were always well aware of our Ukrainian heritage. Our Easter and Christmas celebrations always included ethnic foods and most of us learned how to prepare them and have carried on the traditions in our own families. Both of our sons are excellent cooks and make Ukrainian foods for holiday celebrations. As world travellers in their work, our sons are politically aware and take pride in their heritage. I’m grateful for the sacrifices made by Ukrainian ancestors. One can only imagine the physical demands of establishing a farm in the early 20th century in Saskatchewan. Their language, culture and religion set them apart and they often endured discrimination. But they endured and I am here because of their strength and perseverance, and I’m proud to call myself a second generation Ukrainian-Canadian.
Being Ukrainian means everything. It’s the culture I was raised in and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a way of life and part of your soul. You can’t help but feel proud to say you’re Ukrainian when you hear the music, see artwork/crafts, speak the language and celebrate the traditions.
It is great to be a Ukrainian Canadian because Canada is a beautiful country where we have our freedom. We can still have our traditions and carry on our Ukrainian ways. There are always events to promote Ukrainians and our heritage and Canada is supportive of that. I love going to the Ukrainian Days in the park and all the music and dance festivals. I got to do Ukrainian dance for a few years which was very fun. I am proud to be Ukrainian.
Being Ukrainian is part of my identity, but it is also everything I love about Canada. We all came from somewhere before we became Canadian; even if we were born here, our roots spread far and wide.
Being a Ukrainian Canadian is amazing for so many reasons. I get to enjoy cooking and eating all the tasty traditional foods such as borscht, perogies, holubtsi, nalysnyky, kubasa, and beetniks to name a few. We all know visiting at baba’s involves food. Ukrainian music and dance is comparable to no other nationality. The gorgeous colorful costumes, vinoks, boots, the high energy kicks, jumps and spins wow us everytime. Having my grandchildren call me “Baba” sounds so much sweeter than plain grandma. All the meaning and symbolism of the Tryzub, the blue and yellow flag, delicately hand decorated pysanky. Poets such as Taras Shevchenko, storytellers and all the amazing arts fills me with pride. We all know Ukrainians work hard, love hard, party hard and are true to their roots. That is why I am proud to say I am a Ukrainian Canadian and I wear my Tryzub tattoo with pride.
When I think about what it means to be Ukrainian Canadian, I think of the struggles and hardship that my ancestors went through to come here and try to build a better life for themselves. I think of the hardships they faced in preserving their language and culture during a time when being Ukrainian in Canada was very difficult. I feel lucky to be part of a long line of history, of a people that has contributed and given much to make Canada what it is today (varenyky being perhaps one of the most important, in my humble opinion), that has persevered to keep the rich and unique Ukrainian language and culture alive for so many years.
Being Ukrainian Canadian means embracing a vibrant culture in a country where there are many others with the same interest. We have the freedom to learn Ukrainian not only in Saturday School but in public schools which offer it. Apart from the vast language opportunities, I can stay connected through food, music, dance, religion and events. Being Ukrainian Canadian makes me very proud of who I am. I am lucky to have endless means of celebrating my heritage.
Born and raised in Victoria, BC, I didn’t truly understand what being Ukrainian Canadian was. My parents immigrated to Canada in 1951 and were among the founding members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and Veselka dance troupe in Victoria. I only knew what it was like to be Ukrainian. My parents were both proud to be Ukrainian and taught me to be proud of our heritage. In my teenage years I enjoyed performing at festivals and concerts with my dance troupe and girls singing group. Being Ukrainian Canadian I proudly wear my embroidered blouse and Tryzub ring. I share our wonderful, rich heritage of Ukrainian traditions within Canada’s multicultural society. I love to share being Ukrainian with others…whether it is making Easter paska with seniors, making vareneky with my daughter and her friends, teaching pysanka writing to school children or singing a Christmas Carol; it is never boring being Ukrainian Canadian. It’s what we make of our life in Canada, where we can share and be proud our Ukrainian Heritage.
Being a Ukrainian Canadian speaks to my heritage; remembering my Baba Semeschuk and thinking of her struggles being a single mother due to her husband’s passing. She lived on a farm with 7 children, no modern conveniences and only a team of horses to work the fields, which leaves me in awe. Thank you for the prize.
Being a Ukrainian Canadian means being part of a community and being able to celebrate and take part in our culture and history. I am so grateful to have taken Ukrainian courses at university, be an active participant in a Ukrainian dance group and still be able to walk around the city and find Ukrainian history and culture.
My grandfather on my mother’s side is Ukrainian. As a child he would play games, sing me songs and just teach me Ukrainian. Now that I’m a mother I am now teaching my little one what he taught me, and I can see the joy in her face that I could imagine was in mine. I was born in Germany so my travelling plans are Germany and Ukraine. I see all the beauty there is and I just want to join in the beauty and experience Ukraine for myself.
I am a Ukrainian of the fourth generation and am involved with a group of people who identify with each other through a common heritage, which consists of a common culture and shared language or dialect. It has given me many great gifts of wisdom and knowledge that I am distinctly proud of. I was blessed to have (Бабусі і Дідуся) Babusi i Didusya in my life who had instilled a deep love for my heritage that was shared in a passionate and caring manner. I identify with my heritage as being instilled with love. Canada has offered a great opportunity for many immigrants. My (прадіди) great grandparents took a chance to come to a new country; they prospered and thrived through hard and challenging times and good times, for future generations to truly be able to know what it means to belong to a cultural group and the many bounties it has to offer. I am sharing the Ukrainian culture with my family and friends, instilling the mosaic of traditions and language (Colloquial at times) that is distinct to the Ukrainian language and people with which I identify. I am excited to see and hear the revival of many traditions and customs that are being shared through many organizations. Being Ukrainian is an endless gift full of colours, flavours and sounds, offered and bestowed upon myself and any other individuals who are willing to experience the Ukrainian Canadian mosaic way of life.
I am proud to be a Ukrainian Canadian because Canada is such a beautiful country! We have our freedom to carry on our Ukrainian traditions. I love Ukrainian music and the dancing is amazing, with such high energy and feel good music. Also the food is absolutely delicious – once all my friends that I know try it they become hooked! I go to many of the Ukrainian events they have in Saskatoon here which are so much fun!! I am happy and proud to be Ukrainian! Life is beautiful!!
Being Ukrainian Canadian and growing up in such a supportive and vibrant community has been a blessing. Being constantly surrounded by such beautiful culture and traditions everyday has given me a greater appreciation for all of the arts.
I am a proud Canadian Ukrainian. My grandmother was a descendant of Ukraine and gave me my fondest childhood memories of the best smell of home cooked perogies, borscht and mostly cabbage rolls…mmm. Still to this day I make dozens of cabbage rolls for every Christmas and this pleases everybody. You have to love the culture, especially the dancers which are among the world elite, and Ukrainian churches for their domes and beautiful painted murals. Also, you can’t forget about the art and artists from Canada such as Randy Bachman and Gordon Johnson. We attend Folkfest here in Saskatoon and the Ukrainian Pavilion is always everyone’s favorite. For the most part, being Ukrainian is a part of me and I’m proud of that.
I’m so proud to be Ukrainian; I treasure my heritage, cultures and traditions. I am a member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as well as I volunteer at all the functions of our church. I love to share our traditions and special Ukrainian dishes that we prepare for Christmas and Easter with our girls.
I am and always have been proud to be Ukrainian Canadian. However, it would be more accurate for me to identifying myself as a Canadian of Ukrainian descent. Both of my parents were born in Canada. I am proud of the fact that my paternal grandparents were original homesteaders on land in Saskatchewan, where my Aunt and Cousin lived until about a month ago when they moved into town for health reasons, but they still own the property. I am proud of the fact that my mother was the first Ukrainian child to attend a school in a small community in Manitoba and I am proud to say I also attended the same school. Being a Ukrainian Canadian meant I was proud of my heritage. I was taught to respect my elders and honour our traditions. All in all it was fun being Ukrainian, it meant getting extra days off from school to celebrate Christmas. I especially enjoyed the music and dancing, and I still do. I enjoyed the fact that family was important and that we helped one another.
I have always been proud of my Ukrainian heritage; so much so that I refuse to give up my maiden name. I used to love listening to my aunts tell stories of their childhood (my father was a menopause baby and was raised by his much older sisters as my Baba died when he was 15 months old). My uncle died in WWll (looooong before I was born) and I have a Tattoo in his honour because my Aunts talked about him a lot. I have all his military papers and we had a Lake named in his Honour: “Lake Stawnychka” in Saskatchewan. My grandparents took Canada’s offer of free land out west and came here for a new life. I’m very proud of the courage that must have taken. My only regret is that I never learned to speak Ukrainian but I am trying online classes to learn now!
Being Ukrainian Canadian means being part of a local and national community that is active but steeped in history, united in culture and language but unique and ever-evolving in each city or countryside of the provinces alongside their other special backdrops. Being Canadian is a privilege, and adding Ukrainian to it makes it even more of an honour, and frankly, probably more fun!
Being a Ukrainian Canadian makes me proud and grateful to be a part of Alberta’s history. As many others did, my Baba and Dido arrived in Alberta after WWII with nothing. They worked hard to build the province and a life for their family. I grew up knowing that with hard work you can be successful. Out of all my Baba and Dido achieved, family and tradition were always most important to them. Even though they have passed on my family still maintains these ideals and traditions in their honour and hopes to pass them along to the generations to come.
Passion has to be at the top of what I think of when I think what being Ukrainian Canadian is. Today was the first of 7 days of our Folklorama pavilion. I saw volunteers putting forth great efforts in the Ukrainian food, the imported beer, vodka and wine, as well as our cultural display where we educate our pavilion guests on Ukrainian history and traditions. The passion continued on stage with Rozhanytsia singing beautiful harmonies in traditional folk songs and the huge efforts by Zoloto Ukrainian Dance performers of all ages in all 4 shows. Every culture may say they are passionate about themselves but it truly shines through with Ukrainian Canadians.
Being a Ukrainian Canadian gives me a great deal of pride. I not only have the gift of just being a Canadian as I was born and raised in Manitoba, but our culture has given me the chance to experience the rich Ukrainian culture. This comes from my family and also my community as I belong to a Ukrainian church and I am also involved in the Ukrainian dance community. We as Ukrainians in Canada take great pride in our culture and heritage, and I am happy to pass that on to others and to my daughter as she is the upcoming generation.
I am very proud of being Ukrainian for several reasons. First of all, my parents escaped from Donbas, Ukraine along with their baby daughter during WWII (filled with several perilous encounters), and like many others ended up in Vienna, Austria and were of course placed in DP camps. My father contacted relatives in Canada and my parents (with their daughter and son) arrived at Pier 21 in Nova Scotia in 1946. From there they were sent to Rouyn Noranda Quebec where four more children were born. We lived there until my 5th birthday and then job opportunities in Niagara Falls opened up so my parents and now six children moved, where we created many memories which I cherish to this day. Our Ukrainian church community and traditions were celebrated and I was old enough to appreciate and understand what it meant to be Ukrainian at home and at school. In 1960, we once again packed up the family and drove in our 1948 Chev to Toronto. My heritage, traditions and rich culture resided in me until today where I speak, read, and write Ukrainian, and continue celebrating our traditions and promoting Ukrainian music by singing at St. Demetrius church choir on LaRose since 1988. I’m proud of our Ukrainian immigrants who arrived with their struggles and traditions, hoping to make a better life for their families; they contributed greatly to the building of our nation Canada – our homeland today. Слава Україна, Хироєм слава!
Why I love being Ukrainian: first off, I love all the traditions that my family shares, be it Ukrainian Christmas, Christmas Caroling, Easter etc. I love that there are so many Ukrainian dance schools, and I plan to sign my kids up, seeing as I still Ukrainian dance with a group in Winnipeg. I just love telling people I am Ukrainian, and I am proud of it!
Being Ukrainian Canadian means a lot. There is a rich heritage and tradition in the Ukrainian community in Canada and that is something to be very proud of. I am grateful for all that my grandparents and great-grandparents went through to start their lives in a country that had, and still has, so much potential. It is a true blessing to be part of that community and I love seeing others embrace our culture.
Being a Ukrainian Canadian makes me very proud. Understanding the hardships our ancestors went through, leaving their home country, travelling to Canada via ship, and taking the train across Canada to find land here in Alberta. Breaking the land by hand – they are a hardworking, dedicated, faithful people whom I am glad to say I am a part of!
Being Ukrainian Canadian has always meant the world to me. Ever since I was a little girl my family and I would attend the nearest Ukrainian Catholic Church every Sunday and the Ukrainian Catholic Church located a few miles from my family’s farm once a year. To this day I continue to go and help clean the farm church before we use it as it is over 100 years old. Another reason these churches are special to me for my identity are because if it wasn’t for these churches I would never have been able to speak the amount of Ukrainian that I know; this is because when I was little the services were in Ukrainian and still are once in a while now. I also have been trying to teach myself the Ukrainian language from a book but it is not that easy as I do not have anyone to learn with at the moment. My dad tried to help me when I was growing up but it is hard when he can only translate it into English from hearing or reading it. The Ukrainian community that I got to meet there helped me with knowing my Ukrainian identity as well as my parents. Growing up with no grandparents around to help with my family’s Ukrainian identity was hard but we and my parents would celebrate the few things that they remembered when they were kids. However, Ukrainian food, music, and dance have always been a must in our family. I myself had danced for 13 years in Ukrainian dance and continue to use my knowledge of what I know in my teaching and in my everyday life. Also, in my grade 12 year I was in a Ukrainian choir. I love everything to do with my Ukrainian culture and being able to have the freedom as a Canadian.
Our family is not Ukrainian. Our kids are in Ukrainian dance and most everybody in our community is Ukrainian. To us being a part of the Ukrainian culture is getting together with friends, making perogies and cabbage rolls and having fun drinking (usually vodka). It’s seeing the amazing place settings my friends have out for their Christmas dinners… It’s the fabulous costumes the dancers wear while performing. It’s seeing how different each region is. It’s getting together with family at Easter making beautifully intricate pysanky. It’s the amazing turnout at each year’s Malanka. But mostly being Ukrainian Canadian means closeness, traditions and fun!
I am Ukrainian by marriage. My wife is 100% Ukrainian, and because of that, I get to observe some of the traditions that came with the homesteaders, when they left their homeland to start a new life in Canada. The one tradition that our family follows every year, is the meatless Christmas Eve meal. It is a time when the whole family gets together to prepare for the coming of Christ, on His birthday. That, and Easter are the most important times of the year. So many people have forgotten what the true meaning of Christmas really is, but to those who still follow this tradition, it is a very special time. And I’m glad I get to partake in the celebration. One other thing that I love is a great Ukrainian wedding. The music, the food, and the great company, and the whole party atmosphere. There is nothing like a good Ukrainian wedding.
It is great to be a Ukrainian Canadian because Canada is a beautiful country where we have our freedom. We can still have our traditions and carry on our Ukrainian ways. There are always events to promote Ukrainians and our heritage and Canada is supportive of that. I love going to the Ukrainian Days in the park and all the music and dance festivals. I have many Ukrainian friends and they are wonderful people. Ukrainians add to the diversity of Canada! The cultural diversity is what makes Canada such a great country!
I am a very proud Ukrainian Canadian and try my very best to represent and carry on traditions as I believe this is extremely important not only for myself, but for my children and other families. I have been involved in Ukrainian dance since I was a young child and still perform it to this day. I have performed on many stages to showcase my love for our culture including on the grandstand a few years ago at Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival, and I have also started teaching dance last year. I find it extremely rewarding to share my knowledge and love for Ukrainian dance and other traditions with others, and am very excited to do so with my children as they get older (I currently have a 3 month old and a 22 month old)! I’ve taken some Ukrainian language courses offered in our community. I’ve also been learning how to make perogies, cabbage rolls and other dishes from my great aunts so that we do not lose this knowledge when they can no longer make these dishes. My one and only tattoo is of a vinok which I very proudly wear on my shoulders; it represents the strong bond I have to my Ukrainian heritage, Ukrainian dance, and my family/ancestors! I am a very VERY proud Ukrainian Canadian!
I grew up with Ukrainian-Canadian heritage on both sides of my family – my Mom is third-generation and my Dad second. Our Ukrainian identity has always been important – often expressed through food and family (we all think our Baba’s cabbage rolls are the best!), but I also took an active interest in figuring out what being Ukrainian-Canadian meant to me at a young age. This involved dancing and language lessons as a kid, learning and maintaining family recipes and traditions, understanding the history of our home country. At my recent wedding, we did a traditional Ukrainian toast, began the day with the Ukrainian wedding march, and my dad and I even danced a traditional polka to a less than traditional polka-punk song. I have always been proud to be Ukrainian-Canadian – it represents resilience, pride, beauty, and strength, and my Ukrainian heritage is central to who I am as a person. I strive to represent our culture every day and to educate others – believe me, many people will learn a lot about contemporary Ukrainian politics when I proudly wear that bracelet!
Being a Ukrainian Canadian has completely shaped my life for the last 14 years. I have danced with multiple groups, met a lot of friends and have met my fiancé through being a Ukrainian Canadian. I have pride in being of Ukrainian descent and having such a strong and rich background. Our community is so tightly knit and close, that we bond and work together as much as possible. No matter where you go, or what you do, there are other Ukrainian Canadians who can share a similar story.
– Кевин (Kevin)
From a young age, we were connected to the community in a variety of ways. My siblings and I followed the Ukrainian bilingual program from садочок to grade 12. On Saturday mornings, we attended Рідна Школа. We were all involved in Ukrainian dance from a very young age – something that I continue to do to this day! We attended festivals, church services, and zabavas. For so many years, I took for granted the fact that we have so many opportunities to explore and express our Ukrainian heritage here in Alberta. I assumed that the things we did were things that everyone did growing up! As I got older and met more people from outside of our Ukrainian community, I began to realize that we really are a part of something special. I feel such a sense of pride to know that I am helping to keep alive the traditions and culture of Ukraine here in Canada, and the connection that I feel to others across Canada (and around the world) as a result is such an amazing thing!
Being Ukrainian Canadian means to be proud of both cultures, to embrace who you are, to be happy to learn the history of both cultures. I am proud to live in Canada we learn so much about every different culture, foods, and languages.
I love everything Ukrainian. Not only am I proud to be Canadian but I am also a proud Ukrainian. I partake and volunteer for almost all Ukrainian events in our city. I have recently joined Incredible Eggs which is world-known for pysanky.
To be Ukrainian Canadian means to embrace the heritage and eats lots of pierogies!
To be Ukrainian Canadian has always been a great source of pride for me and my entire family. Ever since I have been a small child I have been taught the struggle our family has gone through to simply be living in Canada. My whole family survived the famine and genocide that occurred in Ukraine. Without their daily struggle to survive and persevere my parents and I would not be here today. From a young age being in Ukrainian dancing, Plast, Cymk, and even in a Ukrainian bilingual elementary school I have incorporated my heritage into my everyday life. Being Ukrainian has always been a source of pride. Being part of a strong community that has always had to overcome obstacles throughout history makes me feel a very strong bond with every Ukrainian out there. I have always felt fortunate to be able to live in Canada where not only I can be proud to be Ukrainian but share and enjoy my heritage and customs with everyone around me.
To me, being Ukrainian Canadian means: culture, amazing food, dancing and welcoming others always for a feast. I grew up raised by my Ukrainian family originally from the Ukraine, and then my baba raised my mom in Dauphin, Manitoba. There were very hard times where men worked all day and night, cooked food off of wood stoves, no TV, no washing machines; just hard work in cold days and nights. We were always taught as kids how to make homemade perogies, cabbage rolls, soups and babka baking. We never went hungry and always celebrated two Christmases on the 25th with family we know and Ukrainian Christmas as well. I used to dance for Veselka for years when I was a young girl. I loved it. The music, the culture and all the fun I had will never be forgotten. My baba was the most amazing Ukrainian lady I knew, and my mom keeps all her traditions alive to this day. My mom is 70 now and still volunteers at Ukrainian culture center and serving at monthly dinners. I help when I can. It is so nice to be around our culture and to share it with others. This great prize will be shared with my family and used through this upcoming Christmas. Thank you so very much. I am extremely proud to have been raised Ukrainian Canadian.
I have always been proud of my Ukrainian heritage. I know how hard my ancestors had to work to get here, and once here, how hard they had to work just to survive. I am proud of their strength and work ethic and I believe that through their efforts they have added to the positive growth of our Canadian nation. I share stories, photos and of course, delicious dishes with my children so that they too can be proud of their Ukrainian family.
Being Ukrainian Canadian means a connection with cultural treasures and tragedies – pysanky and pyrohy, holupchi, horilka and Holodomor, Dido and didukh, Baba, bandura, and Boh Predvichny, korovai, vyshyvanka, vinoks, and the kitchen. It means not expecting something for nothing, but recognizing the importance and value of honest hard work. It means doing what you can and trusting in God to help with what you can’t. It means always striving to be better, to take advantage of the opportunities presented, but not at the expense of someone else. It means sacrifice, but also maintains the supreme importance of faith, family and heritage. It means appreciating and making time for “simple things” like the natural world and good company. And it means some of the best food, and most beautiful art, dance, and music I’ve ever experienced!
I am proud to call myself a Ukrainian Canadian. When people ask me my nationality it’s always been Ukrainian in my reply and not Canadian. Traditions are very important to me; without tradition we are not unique, our traditions are deep rooted and I will always have them with me and celebrate them as they make us what we are. Strong, proud, and hard, working people. I belonged to a Ukrainian dance group many years ago, CYM, Ukrainian school. I enjoy going to Ukrainian events where music and dance has always captured me; we Ukrainians love life and enjoy the community. When I recently viewed the Independence Day ceremony in Ukraine, it brought be tears and chills to look out our troops in Ukraine. How proud I was to see such young, strong soldiers and also sad for all those who died for our freedom – I will live to see Ukraine free.
I am very proud of my heritage! Of course living in a small town in Kalyna country gives me the opportunity to uphold many of the old traditions. I am also very proud of my 3 oldest grandchildren, already the 6th and 7th generation in Canada, that are in Ukrainian dancing, and are knowledgable of our roots and customs…..even if they won’t eat some of the food (like studenets, haha) I am saddened when I remember the days when Ukrainian was spoken in the streets and stores, and how wedding guests would gather around and sing at the end of the night, and I realize that a lot of our traditions are being lost as our community changes with the times.
I am very proud to be a Ukrainian Canadian. This is a country where you are free. A lot of my ancestors have come to Canada to escape the hardships of Ukraine. In Canada you have nothing to fear and you have a place to be safe. In our community we have a lot of Ukrainian people. Our whole family is Ukrainian. We keep up with the traditions and hopefully one day our children will carry on the traditions. You are not a Ukrainian woman unless you love food. Being a Ukrainian Canadian means community and togetherness. Family is the most important thing in the world. Where would we be if we didn’t have family? Canada is a beautiful country and I am glad to call it my home.
Proud to be a Ukrainian Canadian to carry on the traditions of the old country, adjusted to the new country style. Cooking wonderful food, the embroidery, the music; to continue them even today means being proud of where we came from.
To be Ukrainian Canadian has given me a pride in a beautiful culture. My great grandparents came to Canada in 1899 and 1901, settling in northern Alberta. Growing up I was taught how to make Pysanky by my Great Aunt, how to dance through the Hopak Dancers of Calgary and how to be proud of my heritage through my family. These traits are now being passed on to my boys (aged 3 & 8) through the traditions that I hold dear. We continue to make Pysanky and we continue to dance as a family now. The pride that I felt at a young age is now showing in my sons. I thank my grandparents for instilling these traditions. This picture says it better than I can.
Being Ukrainian Canadian is an important part of my identity. It gives me a strong sense of connection to generations of my own family, and to our wider cultural heritage. I’ve always felt comfortable being able to identify fully as Canadian while also being free to celebrate and engage with my Ukrainian roots. Visiting Kyiv a few years ago really illuminated for me how much I am connected to both countries, and how both work together. As a librarian, I’m proud to share Ukrainian Canadian history and literature with others. And as an amateur artist, I’m particularly proud of our artistic cultural heritage, and find that traditional Ukrainian embroidery, beading, and other textile crafts influence my own work. I can’t imagine not having that rich tradition behind me.
To me, being Ukrainian-Canadian means nurturing a connection to a culture from a land that I was not born in, but feel strongly connected to through my ancestral roots and what my Gido and Baba have passed on to me. It means remaining true and loyal to friends and family, being confident and speaking from the heart, having fun, and fostering new relationships by warmly welcoming others into your world and sharing traditional Ukrainian culture with other people in both traditional and new, creative ways.
I am very proud to be Ukrainian Canadian. Both of my grandparents come from Ukraine. They used to tell me stories about the homeland and how they escaped from the war to have a better life. When I graduated I had the opportunity to visit Ukraine. It felt like I was home. We still carry on the same traditions: Ukrainian Easter, Christmas, and New Year’s. I hope my Ukrainian heritage will continue in my grandchildren and their children.
Being Ukrainian means keeping old traditions / lifestyles alive. Ukrainian was the first language I learned growing up. We still speak it with our children. I am third generation born in Canada! We also take Ukrainian dancing. My father in law was one of the original founding members of Shumka. My parents both also taught Ukrainian dancing. We’ve all attended zelenyj hai (green grove) camp in Wakaw. My daughter dances with Svoboda & even I as an adult continue to dance with an adult class, Zorya. We are keeping our heritage alive!
Ukrainians are friendly and welcoming people; they party and they always make delicious food. I love their big hearts and how the traditions are kept from one generation to the next. The freedom in Canada is well known to newcomers and I am grateful that we can truly participate in parades and other social arenas. I am open to helping by donating clothing and food to newcomers like our family was helped in the beginning. We always display the Canadian flag on our balcony on July 1st. We proudly stand embracing our new country. Cultural food is an important part of Ukrainian culture, including perogies. My boyfriend’s mother and friends make them for weddings and special occasions in volumes.
Being Ukrainian to me means knowing how to put a smile on the faces of others. Through music, dance and/or food it is impossible not to speak to and touch someone’s heart. It means for a Baba to be that I am strong, determined and talented…and I am beautiful doing it.
Being Ukrainian-Canadian means being able to explore my heritage in dance, food, music, language and art. I have been an avid pysanky maker since the age of 4 and a dancer since I was 5. I just recently visited Ukraine with my aunt this past summer and revelled in the culture that has been in my heart forever. Canada has allowed us to share our culture with others and to hold onto our cultural identity. There are Ukrainian festivals and dance competitions, Ukrainian churches splashed across the country and a giant pysanky that becomes a pilgrimage for many (went there with my family when I was 8). We have Ukrainian heritage museums and so much history of Ukrainians in Canada!
I am a proud Ukrainian Canadian. My husband and I are passing down our Ukrainian traditions to our three daughters, all who Ukrainian dance and love learning how to make traditional Ukrainian food. We hope to instill in them how proud we are to be of Ukrainian descent.
My great-grandparents immigrated before 1900 but our family has continued some traditions over many generations & are keeping the culture alive. I am very grateful for my forefathers’ & foremothers’ decision to settle in Canada as they have given me and my family the best opportunities for a fulfilling life. I am grateful for the safety, equality, freedom & comfort of life in Canada. I am proud of the farming tradition from which my family was able to survive and contribute to Canada & the hard-working and adaptive people who came before me. I am very proud to be of Ukrainian heritage!
I myself am not Ukrainian but my son is and one of my great aunts is married into a Ukrainian family. Being part of a Ukrainian family has been a wonderful experience of delicious food, colorful costumes and graceful dances. They are hardworking people who enjoy family get-togethers around plentiful food and laughter. I learned to make perogies and have an appreciation for garlic.
I was born to a Ukrainian father who could not speak or read English. He was ashamed to say he was Ukrainian. I grew up very poor and later became a psychiatric nurse. I married a Ukrainian man in the Orthodox Church and was so happy to learn how to cook all the traditional meals. We took Ukrainian with our children and they all did Ukrainian dancing. My father then was so proud. I am so happy to continue with all the traditions and each year we invite 50 or more people of different cultures to our home to celebrate Ukrainian Christmas Eve and all the wonderful food. We have been very excited to have it on TV and the radio. We now have a little granddaughter who is 21 months old and loves perogies. I travelled to Ukraine with two of my children and was so proud to be a Ukrainian living in Canada. I believe my roots have led me to be president of Saskatchewan association on human rights and spring free from racism.
First off I am not Ukrainian, but my husband is! He loves being Ukrainian, and I love being married to him and his Ukrainian culture; he has taught me a few Ukrainian words. I have learned how to cook quite a few Ukrainian foods. I love to see the Ukrainian dancers with their beautiful costumes. My mother in law was happy to know that I was learning some of the Ukrainian cultures. I love going to her house at Christmas. It was always so beautiful: the different foods, the beautiful painted dishes and clothes. I really enjoy learning the spoken language. Being Ukrainian is quite an honour for my husband and for me being married to him, and his Ukrainian ways and culture is a great honour for me as well. Our children have embraced being Canadian Ukrainian as well.
I am very proud to be a Ukrainian Canadian. My father came to Canada in the late 1920’s and we have always kept the Ukrainian traditions. We still follow the Julian calendar for certain holidays. Christmas and Easter were all about tradition….in fact the traditions were always the best part of Christmas. I love the food, and I plan on keeping the traditions my mother and baba passed on to my children. I am especially proud to take my grandchildren to Folklorama, and would love to teach them how to do pysanky….even though I am not very good at it.
My grandparents immigrated to Canada in the early 1900’s. It was unfortunate that I didn’t get to spend as much time with my Ukrainian grandparents as I would have liked to. In the 60’s my family didn’t travel very far. It wasn’t until I met my husband and the birth of our two beautiful daughters that I really started to learn and appreciate the Ukrainian culture. Our daughters have been Ukrainian dancing for 15 years here in Edmonton and we are involved in many Ukrainian events. Born and raised near Dauphin, Manitoba, we frequently attend CNUF and we are so proud and honoured when our oldest daughter performs there with her Edmonton Ukrainian dance group. We connect with so many family and friends at the CNUF. Ukrainians know how to throw a party!! I am very proud to be a Ukrainian Canadian!
I am proud to be Ukrainian! I love the language, the music, the food, religion and the dance. I can pass all of these things on to my kids by showing examples through my everyday life. Our family takes dance lessons, teaches dance lessons, attends a Ukrainian Catholic Church weekly and enjoys listening to live and recorded music and supporting these artists. I am proud to be able to share being Ukrainian with a strong community in Canada and across the world. Thanks for these opportunities and your Facebook page to spread the word!
My grandparents were taken from their beloved Ukraine during World War 2, coming to Canada after spending a few years post-war as displaced persons. To them, Canada represented freedom, and a chance to pursue their dreams. Although they had become Canadians by nationality, they made sure to maintain their Ukrainian roots, and pass down the traditions and customs to their grandchildren. To me, being Ukrainian Canadian means that I am allowed to have the rights and privileges that my ancestors longed for, especially being allowed to express my Ukrainian heritage; a part of my heart and soul that my grandparents were so proud of.
Being Ukrainian Canadian is something which I’m incredibly proud of. Being a 4th generation Ukrainian Canadian, I’ve had the privilege of learning about the contributions Ukrainian Canadians have made to our country for generations, as well as the contributions my great grandparents made to my original community in Winnipeg, and the struggles they encountered. Not only is being Ukrainian Canadian something to be proud of, it’s something in which I find community.
Being Ukrainian Canadian means pride and legacy to me. As a second generation Canadian, I’ve been honoured to grow up hearing the stories of my grandparents who left Ukraine in the hopes of independency, freedom of speech and religious practice, and finally, ownership of land. They arrived in Canada through Pier 21, being sent to Thunder Bay for logging, southern Ontario for quarrying, and Moosejaw for cleaning. They worked hard to achieve their goals and saved every bit of money, to finally settle and begin their lives in their new country. They taught me my Ukrainian traditions and life lessons: fight for what you want, and to be always proud of the country I was born in and the country my ancestors are from. I am fulfilling my grandparents’ legacy by becoming involved in the community and cherishing and upholding my Ukrainian roots wherever my life may lead.
Being a Ukrainian Canadian fills me with so much pride! The stories I’ve heard about life in the old country, and then the struggles here in Canada during the early days make me marvel at the strength and perseverance of these people. Through all the hardships, they’ve retained their pride in their culture, their incredible hospitality, and their humour. I’m second-generation Canadian born, but I still make vareneky and bortsch; I still eat kutia at Christmas; I still paint pysanky almost every Easter; and I put dill on every single thing I eat!
I first want to extend sincere thanks for the more than generous contests you have been offering. I can say that they have been useful in engaging the community in Ukrainian arts: I have noticed dozens of my own friends liking and sharing the posts. Thank you, and congratulations on having such a lovely idea! Being Ukrainian is integral to the person I am. My parents and grandparents have raised me with pride in my heritage since I was a young child. The Ukrainian culture has truly shaped me into the person I am. If I had not been graced with the blessing of being raised as I was, as a Ukrainian, I would not be a religious person. I would not be a dancer. I would not have a deep appreciation of music and melody. There are countless stories and pieces of literature which I would have missed out on. I would certainly not be the Co-President of the University of Saskatchewan Ukrainian Students’ Association. Our culture is uniquely diverse, and through its celebration, I have learned so much about the world and that can never be taken from me. I could not be more thankful to live in Canada, because this country gives us the freedom to celebrate our roots: no matter what they may be. My family who came before me endured so many hardships so that they could create a better life for those who come after them. I need these people to know that it paid off, and we remember them and love them for what they selflessly did for us. They left their homes, and I cannot imagine how difficult and painful that was to do. But, because of their sacrifices, we are now home. And we honour them and the culture that gave them their strength and pride; it lives on through us and we are beyond grateful.
I was born Icelandic but married a first generation Ukrainian man after I met him at a “Stag & Shower” or wedding social as they are now called. I had been persuaded by my girlfriends to come with them although I did not know the engaged couple. He had a disagreement with his girlfriend at the time and decided to join his friend who was playing in the band that evening. He strode across the room in his brown tweed suit, white shirt and tie and asked me to dance. We continued to dance the entire evening, polka, waltz, schottische, and more polkas. He told me his name was Casmir, a name I had never heard before. There was only one family of Ukrainians in the small Interlake town where I grew up.
Being a Ukrainian Canadian means so much to me. One thing is that we have a rich history to be extremely proud of, whether it is our delicious cooking or beautiful dancing. Another thing it means is a connection with people all across this nation. This connection lets us share stories of our history and the history we are making in Canada as Ukrainian Canadians. A final thing that being a Ukrainian Canadian means to me is the knowledge that I come from ancestors who have overcome hardship and evolved to persevere in our new home land.
I am a proud Ukrainian Canadian; proud of my great grandfather for having the courage to come to Canada. I love my heritage and traditions such as making pysankas with my mom, the cross stitch, and the church my great grandfather helped build (the cemetery of which he is buried in). It’s truly amazing that it’s been 125 yrs since my great grandfather arrived in Canada and my church celebrated its 100 year anniversary.
When people hear that I am Ukrainian, their first thought almost immediately goes to food. Yes, as Ukrainians we have some wonderful traditional dishes…but that is just the beginning. Being Ukrainian is about having a culture full of traditions: in the arts, religion and everyday life. These traditions as well as my faith have always been there for me…in times of joy and in times of doubt (in either myself or the people around me). We have a certain brotherhood or common bond with fellow Ukrainians as we celebrate the battles of our ancestors. We come from a proud people who believe their stories are worth sharing. Be it Shevcheko’s Poetry, Virsky’s Hopak, but the colours and sounds of Ukraine make me proud to say I am Ukrainian. I was born in Canada with Ukrainian roots. Though my name is Barnes and my Ukrainian is only so so (though I am quite fluent in Uke-lish)…I am a very proud Ukrainian. I have Ukrainian danced for almost 40 years and my daughter is a member of the Tryzub School of Ukrainian Dance. I love sharing my culture with friends, family and strangers alike. Bu’dmo!
I am third generation Ukrainian Canadian. My grandfather came to this wonderful country when he was seventeen years old from Kniaze in Western Ukraine to immigrate to Canada. He arrived in Halifax in May 1906. He worked for CPR after arriving by train to Calgary. Then after homesteading in northeast Alberta (before it was a province) he brought the rest of his family to Canada. To make ends meet he worked the mines for a few years. My heritage makes me proud of his traditions and how he originated our feelings for these traditions, which live on in my family through involvement in the arts of the community. My daughter and two grandsons are committed to Ukrainian dance, and my daughter makes Ukrainian Easter Eggs. She also makes the traditional Easter egg and gives them away to family and friends. I am proud to be a Ukrainian Canadian.
For me it means being able to keep my national identity far from my homeland and belonging to the huge and active national community with rich cultural traditions. It also means having friends with very similar stories like mine, who can understand and support each other.
As a Ukrainian born in Canada, I am very proud of my heritage. My mom was a young Ukrainian lady born in Poland during the Second World War and was taken from her family and put into a prison camp. After the war she came to our great country, and she made sure that we maintained our heritage and to this day, l am very proud to be Ukrainian. As l previously worked in a special care home, being able to converse with many of the residents of my native language made them feel like they were important to me, which they were!