Ukrainian Canadian Pioneer Days


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On September 7, 1891, Wasyl Elyniak and Ivan Pylypiw stepped off the steamship 'Oregon' in Quebec and thus began the mass migration of Ukrainians to Canada. They came to Canada to inspect the new lands about which they had heard so many favourable rumours. They were pleased to discover that Canada had no peasants or gentry, all men were equal. They also discovered that a quarter section of land, one hundred and sixty acres, could be had for the unbelievably low price of ten dollars. They felt like they'd hit the jackpot!

Ivan returned to Ukraine to get their families while Wasyl remained in Canada to work. Unfortunately, Ivan was thrown in jail for "agitating" the villagers to emigrate to Canada. In 1892, while Ivan was in jail, a group consisting of family and friends made the trip to Canada. They settled in Edna, Alberta, which became the first Ukrainian settlement in Canada.

Ivan being thrown in jail and negative propoganda about Canada spread by the landlords put a damper on thoughts of emigration and only a trickle of Ukrainians came to Canada over the next few years. However, the problems which had led the Ukrainians to seek a new land to which they could emigrate remained. Soon another man took up their cause.

In the summer of 1895, Dr. Joseph Oleskiw, a professor from Galicia, Ukraine, visited Canada. He met with Canadian federal authorities and paved the way for a vastly expanded migration of Ukrainians to Canada. The following year over 1200 of "Oleskiw's settlers" arrived in Canada. They joined their countrymen in Edna and also settled in the Stuartburn and Dauphin areas of Manitoba.

By 1900, there were six somewhat prosperous parishes with their own churches. These were in Winnipeg, Gonor, Stuartburn and Sifton in Manitoba, and Edna and Rabbit Hills in Alberta. Soon, however, shiny, onion-domed spires were springing up all across the prairies under the sunny blue skies of the New World.

This homepage is presented by "The Art and Architecture of the Ukrainian Canadian Churches in Photographs" with the aim of preserving and promoting the Ukrainian Canadian cultural heritage. It was designed and developed by David Nemirovsky. (To contact him, send your e-mail to "nemmer at eol dot ca".)

Although "The Art and Architecture of the Ukrainian Canadian Churches in Photographs" has researched and presented the information contained herein as accurately as possible, there are difficulties in obtaining and verifying this type of information. Therefore, the AAUCCP apologizes for but does take responsiblity for any errors or omissions.

Many of the photographs shown in this homepage are for sale at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, 910 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. These beautiful 5" x 7" colour photographs, with historical information on the back, are mounted in 8" x 10" blue matting and are ready for framing.

This homepage was last updated on April 13, 2004.

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