Marking Alberta’s Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day
Premier Rachel Notley is celebrating Alberta’s first annual Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day with flag raisings and a series of cultural performances.
The Ukrainian flag was raised at the Alberta legislature in Edmonton and McDougall Centre in Calgary to mark the occasion. The Premier will also welcome the Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, the Ukrainian Male Chorus of Edmonton and the RUTA singers to perform at the south bandshell on the legislature grounds in the evening.
“Our government is proud to recognize the remarkable contributions that Albertans of Ukrainian heritage have made to our province. From business and industry, to academia, public service, culture and sports, Ukrainian-Albertans have played a pivotal role throughout Alberta’s history.”
In 1891, Ivan Pylpiw and Vasyl Eleniak were Alberta’s first documented settlers from Ukraine. Last year, 125 years later, the Alberta government designated Sept. 7 as Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day.
“We can all be proud of the strong role Ukrainian-Canadians have played in building a vibrant culture in our province and country. Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day will ensure that the stories of Alberta’s Ukrainian ancestors continue to live on. Congratulations!”
Today, the province is home to more than 350,000 Albertans of Ukrainian descent – the largest population of Ukrainian-Canadians in Western Canada.
"Many of our ancestors made their journey to Alberta fleeing strife and even persecution; they overcame incredible hardships for a new start. As a Ukrainian Albertan, I'm proud that we are honouring all that they did to help build our prosperous province and keeping their memory alive for future generations."
Alberta’s cultural links to its Ukrainian heritage are shared through performance groups, educational programming and historical preservation like the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, an open-air museum where the life of early Ukrainian pioneers is recreated.
There are also strong economic ties, bolstered by the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) which came into force on Aug. 1, 2017. CUFTA reinforces the potential for trade and investment growth between the province and Ukraine.
Advisory Council on Alberta-Ukraine Relations (ACAUR)
To continue strengthening the Albertan and Ukrainian bond, the ACAUR was established to provide strategic advice and recommendations to government on how to manage relations with Ukraine. The council also serves as a two-way information resource to Alberta’s Ukrainian community and the government.
Ten public members have been appointed to the advisory council. Three of the public members have been re-appointed while seven are new appointments. The council members represent a diverse range of professionals and community leaders, and were selected through an open recruitment process. ACAUR is chaired by Jessica Littlewood, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville.
“I am honoured to continue the work of the Advisory Council on Alberta-Ukraine Relations. I recognize the importance of being able to identify and promote how Alberta and Ukraine can cooperate on matters of mutual interest.”
Albertans are invited to join Premier Notley on Sept. 7 to celebrate Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. on the Alberta legislature grounds. There will be performances and activities for all ages organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council.
Municipalities and schools are encouraged to organize community celebrations by flying the Ukrainian flag, visiting the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village and enjoying the food, music and dance of Ukrainian culture.