Migration and Settlement
With the outbreak of World War I, immigration virtually ceased and unnaturalized Ukrainians were classified as "enemy aliens" by the Canadian government; at the same time, over 10 000 Ukrainians enlisted in the armed forces. Between the 2 world wars some 70 000 Ukrainians immigrated to Canada for political and economic reasons. They included war veterans, intellectuals and professionals, as well as peasants. Between 1947 and 1954 some 34 000 Ukrainians, displaced by World War II, arrived in Canada. Representing all Ukrainian territories, they were the most complex socioeconomic group. While the Prairie provinces absorbed the bulk of the first 2 immigrations, the displaced persons settled mainly in Ontario. From the mid-1950s through the 1960s, only a few Ukrainians entered the country annually. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, limited renewed immigration from Poland and the Soviet Union saw perhaps 10 000 ethnic Ukrainians and Soviet Ukrainian Jews come to Canada. Since 1991 independent Ukraine has contributed a modest but growing number of immigrants.
By 1914 the Prairie provinces were marked by several rural Ukrainian block settlements, extending from the original Edna (STAR) colony in Alberta through the Rosthern and Yorkton districts of Saskatchewan to the Dauphin, Interlake and Stuartburn regions of Manitoba. While most Ukrainians chose to homestead, some became waged workers in resource industries in places like the Crow's Nest Pass, northern Ontario and Cape Breton. Around 1900, immigrants and migrants from the rural blocks also began to develop Ukrainian urban communities in selected Canadian towns and cities. Winnipeg was by far the largest and most important. In the early 1990s approximately 15% of the residents of Winnipeg, Edmonton and Saskatoon had at least some Ukrainian heritage, compared to 2.5% in Toronto. In 2006, 52% of Ukrainian Canadians resided in the Prairie provinces, 28% lived in Ontario and 16% in British Columbia. Of the 1 209 085 Canadians who reported Ukrainian origins, 300 590 reported Ukrainian as their only ethnic origin and another 908 495 reported partial Ukrainian ancestry.
Ukrainians homesteaded initially with limited capital, outdated peasant technology and no experience with large-scale agriculture. High wheat prices during WWI led to expansion based on wheat, but during the 1930s mixed farming came to prevail. Since WWII mechanization, scientific agriculture and out-migration in the Ukrainian blocks have paralleled developments elsewhere in rural western Canada. Largely unskilled, Ukrainian male wage earners found jobs as city labourers, miners and railway and forestry workers; their female counterparts became domestic servants, waitresses and hotel help. Discrimination and exploitation radicalized many Ukrainian labourers. As a group, Ukrainians benefited from occupational diversification and specialization only after the 1920s; teaching was the first profession to attract significant numbers of both men and women.
By 1971 the proportion of Ukrainian Canadians in agriculture had decreased to 11.2%, slightly above the Canadian average, and unskilled workers to 3.5% of the Ukrainian male labour force. In 1991 Ukrainians remained overrepresented in agriculture compared to Canadians as a whole, but they were well distributed throughout the economic spectrum, including the more prestigious and semiprofessional and professional categories. With Ukrainian integration into Canadian society, it has become increasingly difficult to determine if or how ethnicity affects the occupational and career patterns of younger Canadian-born generations.
Social Life and Community
The first Ukrainian block settlements and urban enclaves cushioned immigrant adjustment but could not prevent all problems of dislocation. Local cultural-educational associations, fashioned after Galician and Bukovinan models, maintained interest in the homeland and instructed the immigrants about Canada. Three pioneer charitable societies still function. In subsequent decades the Ukrainian Canadian community assisted the adjustment of both interwar and postwar immigrants. It also extended material and moral aid to various humanitarian and political causes in Ukraine, including state-building efforts after independence.
National organizations emerged in the interwar years. The procommunist Ukrainian Labour-Farmer Temple Association (established 1924) attracted the unemployed in the 1930s. The Ukrainian Self-Reliance League (established 1927) and the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood (established 1932), together with their women's and youth affiliates, respectively represented Orthodox and Catholic laity. Organizations introduced by the second immigration reflected Ukrainian revolutionary trends in Europe. The small conservative, monarchical United Hetman Organization (established 1934) was counterbalanced by the influential nationalistic republican Ukrainian National Federation (established 1932).
Despite tensions, all noncommunist groups publicized Polish pacification and Stalinist terror in Ukraine in the 1930s. The Ukrainian Labour-Farmer Temple Association criticized foreign rule in western Ukraine but condoned the Soviet purges and artificial famine of 1932-33 that killed 6 million people; its successor, the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians (established 1946), has declined steadily with first the Cold War and then the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1940, to unite Ukrainian Canadians behind the Canadian war effort, noncommunist organizations formed the Ukrainian Canadian Committee (now Congress). It became a permanent co-ordinating superstructure with such political objectives as the admission of Ukrainian REFUGEES after 1945,MULTICULTURALISM and Canada-sponsored projects in independent Ukraine.
The major organizations introduced by the third immigration were the intensely nationalistic Canadian League for Ukraine's Liberation (established 1949), now the League of Ukrainians in Canada, and the scouting Plast (established 1948). Both groups maintain ties with like-thinking Ukrainians around the world. In the 1970s the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation (established 1965) was politically significant, able to secure public benefits for the Ukrainian community.
With few exceptions, outside procommunist circles women's organizations have always been responsible for activities in their own sphere, which traditionally have emphasized education, culture, handicrafts, museums and child rearing. Youth affiliates have had both ideological and social dimensions. Only 10-15% of Ukrainian Canadians belong to the organized community; others identify with its cultural but not its national-political goals.
Ukrainian Canadians have published nearly 600 newspapers and periodicals, most of which espouse a particular religious or political philosophy. Canadian-born generations increasingly no longer find the ethnic press relevant, but there is still a healthy interest in Ukrainian topics and affairs. English and bilingual publications compensate for the decline in Ukrainian-language readers.
Religion and Cultural Life
While Ukrainians from Galicia were Eastern-rite Catholic (see CATHOLICISM), those from Bukovina were ORTHODOX. No priests immigrated initially, and other denominations - especially the Methodist and Presbyterian churches - tried to fill the religious and social vacuum. Until 1912, when they acquired an independent hierarchy, Ukrainian Catholics were under Roman Catholic jurisdiction. The Russian Orthodox Church worked among Orthodox immigrants but rapidly lost popularity after 1917. In 1918 Ukrainians who were opposed to centralization and Latinization in the Ukrainian Catholic Church founded the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church (since 1989 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church) of Canada. It became a metropolitanate in 1951, the Ukrainian Catholic Church in 1956.
Long central in preserving the language, culture and identity of Ukrainian Canadians, the 2 churches have seen their religious dominance, moral authority and social influence undermined by assimilation. In 1991, 23.2% and 18.8% of single-response Ukrainian Canadians belonged to the Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox churches respectively; 20.1% were Roman Catholic and 10.9% United Church adherents; another 12.6% reported no religion.
Most agricultural pagan-Christian rituals of Ukrainian peasant life were discarded with urbanization and secularization. Embroidery, Easter egg ornamentation, dance, music and foods remain popular and have also won widespread appreciation outside the Ukrainian Canadian group. Ukrainians also introduced a distinctive church architecture and decoration, characterized by exterior domes, interior wall murals and a partition (the iconostasis) separating the nave from the sanctuary. Many Ukrainian Canadian artists look to their heritage in both Canada and Ukraine for inspiration and subject matter. Community archives, museums and libraries - like the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre in Winnipeg - actively preserve the Ukrainian Canadian heritage. They have recently been supplemented by government-funded public institutions, most notably the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village east of Edmonton.
Certain art forms have remained static while others have evolved. Dance ensembles have experimented with Ukrainian Canadian themes; Ukrainian Canadian country music has combined Ukrainian folk and western Canadian elements; and church architecture has skilfully integrated traditional Ukrainian with contemporary North American designs. The paintings of William KURELEK, inspired by his Ukrainian prairie pioneer experience, have been widely recognized in Canada; in the musical field, the 1980s Juno-winning "Luba" (Kowalchuk) began her career in Ukrainian popular music. Numerous Ukrainian-language poets and prose writers have described Ukrainian life in Canada; George RYGA is one of a handful of English-language writers of Ukrainian origin to achieve national stature. Since the 1970s several films have recorded and critically interpreted the Ukrainian Canadian experience; once-vibrant live theatre, particularly important to immigrant generations, has all but disappeared. Today, Ukrainian Canadians publicly celebrate their heritage through a number of annual events; the best known is Canada's National Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin, Man.
After 1897 Ukrainians in Manitoba took advantage of opportunities for bilingual instruction under specially trained Ukrainian teachers. Bilingual schools operated unofficially in Saskatchewan until 1918 but they were not allowed in Alberta. Criticized for retarding assimilation, they were abolished in Manitoba in 1916 despite Ukrainian opposition.
Vernacular community-run schools expanded rapidly after WWI to preserve the Ukrainian language and culture. Today, they reach only a fraction of youth; most schools exist in urban areas at the elementary level and are particularly popular in Ontario. Pioneer residential institutes provided Ukrainian surroundings for rural students pursuing their education and produced many community leaders. Four of 5 surviving institutes serve as Ukrainian Orthodox community centres and university residences.
Russification in Soviet Ukraine spurred Ukrainian Canadians to mobilize politically and seek public support for their language and culture. Between the 1950s and the 1980s they obtained Ukrainian-content university courses and degree programs, recognition of Ukrainian as a language of study and subsequently of instruction in Prairie schools, and a Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (established 1976) at the University of Alberta. The 2006 census recorded 141 805 people who reported Ukrainian as their mother tongue (first language learned). Ukrainian and Ukrainian Canadian studies have developed as a discipline in Canada since the early 1950s; Ukrainian independence offers new opportunities for intellectual interaction with the homeland.
Illiteracy, common among the first peasant immigration, has virtually disappeared. Ukrainian women were traditionally disadvantaged compared with Ukrainian men and all Canadian women, and Ukrainians as a whole were less well educated than Canadians from more privileged groups. Today, any persisting educational disparities between Ukrainians and their fellow citizens are largely age- and immigration-linked. Otherwise, Ukrainian educational levels generally reflect Canadian norms.
Ukrainians originally entered Canadian politics at the municipal level, and in rural areas where they were numerically dominant they came to control elected and administrative organs. William Hawrelak in Edmonton and Stephen JUBA in Winnipeg have been prominent mayors. The first Ukrainian elected to a provincial legislature was Andrew Shandro, a Liberal, in Alberta in 1913. In 1926 Michael Luchkovich of the United Farmers of Alberta became the first Ukrainian in the House of Commons. Since then many Ukrainian candidates have been successful provincially and federally, and Ukrainians have been appointed to federal and provincial Cabinets. There have been 6 senators of Ukrainian origin. Two Ukrainian Canadians have received vice-regal appointments. Stephen Worobetz was lieutenant-governor of Saskatchewan (1970-76) as was Sylvia FEDORUK (1988-93). In 1990 Ramon HNATYSHYN became the second governor-general of non-British and non-French origin. Other notable figures of Ukrainian origin have included Roy ROMANOW, premier of Saskatchewan, and Mary Batten, the first woman to sit as a District Court judge in Saskatchewan and the second woman to sit on the Federal Court of Canada.
During WWI approximately 6000 Ukrainians were interned as enemy aliens and those naturalized less than 15 years were disenfranchised. Ukrainians initially tended to vote Liberal, but their low socioeconomic status also drew them to protest parties, and later many approved the anticommunism of the Diefenbaker Conservatives. Increasingly, Ukrainians' voting patterns reflect those of their economic class or region.
Author FRANCES A. SWYRIPA
J. Balan, Salt and Braided Bread: Ukrainian Life in Canada (1984); D. Goa, ed, The Ukrainian Religious Experience: Tradition and the Canadian Cultural Context (1989); J. Kolasky, The Shattered Illusion: The History of Ukrainian Pro-Communist Organizations in Canada (1979); M. Kostash, All of Baba's Children (1977); L. Luciuk and B. Kordan, Creating a Landscape: A Geography of Ukrainians in Canada (1989); L. Luciuk and S. Hryniuk, eds, Canada's Ukrainians: Negotiating an Identity (1991); M.R. Lupul, ed, A Heritage in Transition: Essays in the History of the Ukrainians in Canada (1982); M.R. Lupul, ed, Visible Symbols: Cultural Expression among Canada's Ukrainians (1984); O. Martynowych, Ukrainians in Canada, 1891-1924: The Formative Years (1991); M.H. Marunchak, The Ukrainian Canadians: A History (2nd ed, 1983); J. Petryshyn, Peasants in the Promised Land: Canada and the Ukrainians, 1891-1914 (1985); W.R. Petryshyn, ed, Changing Realities: Social Trends among Ukrainian Canadians (1980); H. Potrebenko, No Streets of Gold: A Social History of Ukrainians in Alberta (1977); O. Subtelny, Ukrainians in North America: An Illustrated History (1991); F. Swyripa, Wedded to the Cause: Ukrainian-Canadian Women and Ethnic Identity, 1891-1991 (1993).
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Multiculturalism Day
Canadian Heritage's guide to celebrating Canadian Multiculturalism Day.
Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies
An extensive information source about the the Ukrainian community in Canada. From the University of Manitoba.
View a Heritage Minute about the community funding and construction of hospitals in Myrnam, Alberta, and other rural towns in the West. From the Historica-Dominion Institute. See also related learning resources.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
Living Traditions — Ukrainian Church
A multimedia exhibit about the Ukrainian Church in Canada from the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
This biography of William Kurelek is from the Tundra Books website.
Prisoners in the Promised Land
A review of the book "Prisoners in the Promised Land: The Ukrainian Internment Diary of Anya Soloniuk, Spirit Lake, Quebec, 1914." From the Manitoba Library Association website.
The website for Yevshan, a professional Ukrainian Folk Ballet Ensemble based in Saskatoon. Check out the video clips of their performances.
Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
This site offers a tour of the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. Through maps, interviews, music, photographs, dictionaries, bibliography and descriptions, you will discover more about the buildings that are preserved here, and about the history and lifestyles of Alberta's early settlers.
Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada
This website offers Canadian population data (2006) by ethnic origin. Also, find information for individual provinces and territories by clicking the "Select a view" window above the chart. For more information, click on the "Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada" link at the top of the page. From the website for Statistics Canada.
Ukraine to honour Brant MPP
A news story about Brant MPP Dave Levac being named a chevalier of the Ukraine Order of Merit for his role in bringing in the Holodomor Memorial Day Act in Ontario. From brantfordexpositor.ca.
In Fear of the Barbed Wire Fence
An extensive document that chronicles events related to Canada's internment of Canadians of Ukrainian origin and other minority groups from 1914 to 1920. With many photographs and related archival material.
Ted Baryluk's Grocery
A documentary film that features Ukrainian-Canadian Ted Baryluk and his enduring grocery store in Winnipeg's North End neighbourhood. From the National Film Board of Canada.