HISTORY OF UKRAINIANS IN CANADA
First Immigration (1891-1914)
Ukrainian Settlements in Manitoba
Second Immigration (1922-1939)
Third Immigration (1946-1961)
TO CANADA by
been three Ukrainian immigrations to Canada, each differing in numbers,
the conditions in Canada which attracted them and the conditions in their
homeland which made them leave. The first and largest immigration began
in 1891 and ended with the coming of the First World War; the second
immigration arrived between the two wars; the third began in 1946 and
is still continuing, though after 1961 its numbers were reduced to a
of people arriving is estimated to be about 170,000 for the first immigration,
about 68,000 for the second and 37,000 for the third.
First Immigration (1891-1914)
eighty percent of the Ukraine’s land was part of the Russian empire,
most Ukrainians that landed on Canada’s shores during this period
were from the western portion, then under Austrian rule. The first immigration
consisted almost entirely of land-hungry peasants from the provinces
of Galicia and Bukovina.
Denied any opportunities to improve their lot in their homeland, they were
attracted to Canada by its policy of granting virtually free lands or "homesteads" to
Eleniak and Ivan Pillipiw are commonly considered
to be the first Ukrainian immigrants to Canada.
one of the first Ukrainian settlers to make Canada his home, was born
on 22 December 1859 at Nebyliv, district Kalush in Western Ukraine.
In 1883 he married a local Nebyliv girl named Anna Roszko.During his
early married life Wasyl was employed in the lumbering industry, driving
rafts down the river Limnytsia. He had heard tales of Canada from some
of the German colonists who had relatives in Canada, a land, it was
reported, "where the settlers received 160 acres of land for nothing." His
parents owned only three morgen of land (1 morgen is equal to approximately
2/3 of an acre) and, therefore, he decided to emigrate to Canada.
to make a better life in Canada, he was joined by two fellow villagers,
Ivan Pylypow (Pylypivsky) and Yurko Panischak. At the end of the summer
of 1891, they left their native village and proceeded to Hamburg where
they were to board a ship and sail to Canada. Yurko Panischak, short
of money, was turned back by officials; but Wasyl Eleniak and Ivan Pylypow
paid the fare of 100 golden each for the passage and began their journey
for Canada on the S.S. OREGON. They arrived in Quebec 7 September 1891
and proceeded to Winnipeg. Prior to settling on their own homesteads,
the two new Ukrainian settlers went to work on Mennonite community farms
in Gretna, Manitoba. After two years, Wasyl Eleniak had saved enough
money to afford a return trip to Nebyliv, where he intended to gather
his family and a few friends and bring them back to Canada with him.
He obtained a regular passport from the district office in Kalush (dated
26 February 1894) and together with six other Nebyliv families proceeded
to Hamburg. He found himself short of money to pay the passage for all
members of the family and was forced to return to Nebyliv to work for
another month driving rafts on the Limnytsia river. Once he had saved
enough money for his passage he left again for Hamburg, where he boarded
the S.S. MONGOLIAN which arrived at Quebec on 25 June 1894.
for Eleniak on the prairies was not easy and required a lot of hard work.
For the first four years in Canada he worked as a herdsman in Manitoba
before he took his family to Alberta in 1898 where they settled on a
homestead within the Edna-Star district (later became Chipman, Alberta).
There, his family prospered. He became a successful farmer, raised a
large family and on January 3rd, 1947 was chosen by the Canadian Government
to be one of the honorary recipients of Canadian Citizenship Certificate
during the First Citizenship Ceremony held at the Supreme Court of Canada
in Ottawa. The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King,
was the first recipient.
Pillipiw, the eldest son of Hawrylo Pylypiwsky, spent most
of his early years in
Nebyliv, working on the family farm. Unfortunately not much is known
or has been recorded about his youth in Ukraine except that he may
have worked as a logger. After spending a few months in Canada he returned
to his homeland in 1892 with the intention of bringing over to Canada
his family for permanent settlement. Upon his return to Galicia, Pylypiw
convinced six families from his home village of Nebyliw to move to
Canada. Consequently, in 1892, the so-called Nebyliw Group established
the first permanent Ukrainian settlement in Canada in the locality
of Edna-Star, near Edmonton in present-day Alberta.
to Canada on the S.S. Laurentian, landing at Quebec in May 1893 with
his family and soon after filed his application for homestead in the
Bruderheim district. However, he eventually cancelled it in favour of
a new spot near the Edna settlement. His new application for a homestead
in Edna was granted in 1894 and that is where he established his family
homestead and lived out the rest of his life. He died in an accident
in 1936 and was buried at Chipman, Alberta. His farmhouse has been designated
an historic building and now resides at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage
Village, located east of Edmonton.
followed in the next few years; but immigration did not begin in earnest
until 1896, after Dr. Joseph Oleskow, an agriculturist
from Galicia, had visited Western Canada and had personally confirmed
that homesteading could be successfully carried on. The immigrants came
as families and settled in colonies in the treed areas of what are now
the Prairie Provinces - on land that was not always good -and quickly
earned a reputation for perseverance and hard work. Place names like "Ukraina" and "Komarno",
school names like "Shevchenko" and "Slawa" and post
office names like "Mazeppa" and "Sich" attest to
the establishment of such settlements.
newcomers was a handful of informed individuals with liberal views who
had taken part in reform movements at home. There were also a few descendants
from the landed though impoverished gentry. Together they provided the
immigrants, who were mostly illiterate and lacking in national awareness,
the first leadership in educational, community and religious affairs.
the Ukrainian immigration was small compared to the total immigration
to Canada at that time, it was confined to the Prairie region and to
a narrow and fairly homogeneous agricultural belt within that region.
The Prairies required settlers to pioneer and to endure hardships and
the Ukrainians were able to meet this need well. Accordingly it can be
said that the Ukrainians contributed more to the opening up of the Prairies
than their numbers alone would indicate.
on farms in closely-knit groups greatly influenced Ukrainian development.
Nearness to each other gave them security in a strange land and Canada's
democratic ways provided an opportunity to use their language and practise
their old-country traditions without hindrance from their non-Ukrainian
neighbours. The pioneer society around them was on much the same footing
as theirs; preoccupied with the problems of existence in a new and harsh
land, it accepted people at their face value and cared little about its
neighbour’s peculiar ways.
for expression not available before, and with leadership provided by
their few intellectuals, the Ukrainians began to develop an awareness
of themselves as a separate group and to take an interest outside their
farming occupation. Early in their settlement, "Prosvitas" or
local reading rooms and "National Homes” or community centres
were started, and several Ukrainian newspapers. The settlers began to
send their young people to schools, and though much of the training was
elementary, it was more than they had been able to obtain themselves;
a few trained as teachers and became the first professionals of Ukrainian
origin to be educated in Canada.
to give their children more schooling, in both English and Ukrainian,
the settlers supported the bilingual school system in Manitoba under
which English and another language could be taught in public schools.
When bilingual schools were abolished in 1916, they began to provide
Ukrainian instruction after school hours. They also began to organise
educational hostels for Ukrainian students, whose residents attended
high schools, teacher training colleges and the University and also received
instruction in Ukrainian subjects. These educational institutions, called "Institutes",
were founded in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton.
to be a great deal of confusion describing the Ukrainian settler. Some
of these people came from Galicia, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire. Others came from the Kiev area as well as several other places.
They were often described in early emigration records as Austrians, Galicians,
Bukowinians, Ruthenians, Little Russians, Routhainians, and Gallatians.
awareness or identity of the Ukrainians was motivated at first by a desire
and opportunity to assert themselves as a distinct ethnic entity which
had a language culture and tradition of its own, even though it had no
independent country; later it was also motivated by the desire of the
Ukrainians to take part in Canadian life, for they had decided that they
would be staying in Canada permanently. The two motives have been complimentary
and not contradictory: developing an identity helped them gain the necessary
self-esteem and respect outside the group and gave them the confidence
to partake in Canadian activities; in turn, achievement outside their
group contributed to the growth of a more distinct identity.
The first immigration also provided the dual religious base upon which their
identity was to grow. Those from Galicia were Greek Catholic, those from
Bukovina were Greek Orthodox, and this division still pervades their lives
Settlements in Manitoba
especially its capital city Winnipeg, will always have
great historical significance in the settlement of Ukrainians
in Canada. This was the first stopping place for groups
of Ukrainian immigrants who dispersed from here to their
final destination, the homesteads. Even though only one
hundred years have passed since the accepted date of the
first wave of Ukrainian settlers which was initiated by
Ivan Pylypiw and Wasyl Eleniak (as opposed to individual
immigration at earlier dates), Canada, Manitoba and especially
Winnipeg were much different than they are at present.
name Manitoba is derived from the Indian words "Manito
waba", which probably refer to the echoing sounds produced
by the waves as they dash against the rocks in a narrow
straight of Lake Manitoba. Manitoba encompasses 251,000
sq. miles of which 26,789 sq. miles is covered by water.
The northern region of Manitoba is dotted with many lakes,
forests and peat bogs. Its two major rivers, the Churchill
and the Nelson, are utilized for hydro electric power.
The central region, the so called interlake region, contains
three very large lakes Winnipeg, Winnipegosis and .Manitoba
and is prolific with fish and wildlife, although the soil
is mainly of poor quality. The fertile plains extending
from the Red River contain some of the finest agricultural
land in western Canada. The southwestern part of the province
consists of rolling hills and contains many forests and
lakes which are highly suitable for recreational use. The
western uplands are blessed with fertile, black soil which
is ideal for agriculture. Manitoba is also rich in mineral
resources, notably nickel in the Thompson area and zinc
and copper near Flin Flon. Untold deposits of minerals,
including gold, silver, and iron in the northern regions
are yet to be mined. In areas of the north which are unsuitable
for farming, forests, which thrive in this continental
climate, contain trees of commercial value.
1891, the year of the first wave of settlement, there were
4,833,000 souls in Canada and 152,506 in ,Manitoba. At
that time Winnipeg had a population of 25,638, two large
train stations, the C.N.R. and C.P.R., and a large immigration
home with about 150 smaller ones in the vicinity.
the time of the first large wave of Ukrainian immigration,
the areas that were the most heavily populated were in
the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, the Atlantic provinces
and along the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia. The vast
expanses between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains
remained undeveloped and reserved mainly for hunting and
trapping of wild animals.
1870, the Canadian government took control of the territories
which belonged to the Hudson Bay Company. On July 15 of
that year Manitoba joined Confederation and when British
Columbia joined a year later it became apparent that to
maintain communications within the vast country, a railway
would have to be built. Also in 1870, attempts to develop
a variety of wheat that would mature before the frosts
of the continental climate in the prairie regions set in
were successful due to the introduction of Galician origin
wheat named "Red Fife’’. This development made
wheat growing in Manitoba and the prairie provinces possible.
What was needed now, however, both for the building of
the railway and for the cultivating of the land were willing
and capable hands Besides the pockets of settlers of British
origin in the prairie regions, a Scottish colony near the
Red River between Winnipeg and present day Selkirk was
established in 1912. There was an influx of Mennonites
mainly from Ukraine in 1874; Icelanders in 1876, and Germans
and Hungarians in 1886. Even though these settlers were
allotted the choicest sections of land free of charge,
and received financial assistance from the government,
in most cases the harsh continental climate drove them
to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Intensive settlement
of the prairies began only when Clifford Sifton, the minister
of internal affairs under Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier,
turned his attention to obtaining settlers from central
Europe, especially from Austro-Hungary. The result was
a clandestine agreement in 1899, renewed in 1904, with
the North Atlantic Shipping Co. based in Hamburg to pay
the company $5 for the procurement of every head of a family
of settlers and $2 for every family member. The outcome
was a massive immigration campaign.
immigration propaganda fell upon very fertile grounds.
At this time, western Ukraine, which was the focus of the
campaign, was experiencing severe political and economic
oppression. When the peasants heard of the virtually free
parcels of land and the political and religious freedom
offered in Canada, they eagerly applied for immigration
in great numbers. Contributing factors were two booklets
written by Joseph Oleskiv, "About Free Lands" and "About
Emigration", which redirected the emigration thrust from
Brazil called the "Brazilian fever", where our people were
sorely manipulated by unscrupulous agents and suffered
greatly in a climate to which they found difficulty adapting.
first booklet was written by Dr. Oleskiv before his departure
to Canada on July 25, 1895; the second was written upon
his return and was published in December of that year.
Within a month of his return, Dr. Oleskiv was instrumental
in establishing an Emigration Assistance Committee whose
responsibility was to ensure that there would be individuals
in each emigrating group that would report to the committee.
In this way Dr. Oleskiv could track the progress of the
groups and confirm that the assistance he had arranged
while he was in Canada for their settlements was utilized.
It should be mentioned here that Dr. Oleskiv met with representatives
of the Canadian government in Ottawa to formulate a memorandum
regarding the immigration of Ukrainians to Canada. In Winnipeg
he met with the Commissioner of Dominion Lands and in Edmonton
with the Minister of Internal Affairs. He also tried to
arrange for the spiritual guidance of the people which
will be dealt with elsewhere in this book. Unfortunately,
the assurances made to Dr. Oleskiv during his stay in Canada
did not safeguard our immigrants, especially in the early
years, from unscrupulous agents and immigration officers
who were in charge of settlement. In addition, changes
in governmental and ministerial officers contributed to
harsh grievances and long remembered suffering in the first
years of settlement.
Ukrainian immigrants arrived by boat in Halifax or ;Montreal
and then continued their journey by train to Winnipeg where
they were detained in an immigration home. It was here
that the location of their homestead was decided. Up to
1895, the immigrants were able to choose the location for
their homesteads. After this year the decision was made
by the immigration officers which often led to unpleasant
and dramatic confrontations. (See the settlement of Saltcoats,
Fish Creek. Saskatchewan and elsewhere. M.N. Marunchak,
The History of Ukrainian Canadians, vol. 1.) Compounding
these difficulties was the lack of financial resources
which would enable the immigrants to buy more productive
land, or land near rail lines which often was not available
in the 160 acre homesteads offered by the government for
a cost of $10. This sum did not include farming equipment
essential for the cultivation of the land. The government
offered no financial assistance and long term loans were
not available at that time. The Ukrainian pioneers, abandoned
to their own resources had no choice but to leave their
families on the bleak homesteads, most often in temporary
dugout shelters without even the basic necessities for
survival, and seek summer employment at more established
homesteads or with the railroads. These and other intolerable
circumstances were often the cause of the staggering number
of human tragedies, some of which are recorded in memoirs,
while others are buried forever in the many prairie graves
of the pioneers.
men who laid the foundation of Ukrainian immigration were
Wasyl Eleniak and Ivan Pylypiw from the village of Nebyliv,
District of Kalush in Halychyna. On September 7, 1891,
they disembarked from the steamship "Oregon" in Montreal.
On September 10, they arrived in Winnipeg, and after a
short stay they found employment in Gretna, a colony south
of Winnipeg. Eleniak continued to work in this area while
Pylypiw left on December 15, 1892, to bring his and Eleniak’s
wife, Anna, and children back to Canada. In his village
of Nebyliv, Pylypiw’s was punished for his efforts
to recruit immigrants to Canada. He returned to Canada
in May of 1893 with his wife Maria and their four children,
(the fifth being born in Canada). Shortly after his return,
he settled in the Edna Star area, Alberta. He died in a
tragic accident on October 10, 1936, in his 77th year and
was buried in Chipman. Wasyl Eleniak returned to Ukraine
for his family in 1893. Even though they experienced great
financial difficulties, they were able to immigrate to
Canada in 1894 and settled in Chipman, Alberta. There were
seven children in their family. Eleniak died in Edmonton
at the age of 98 on January 12, 1956 and was buried in
these first groups of immigrants, which paved the way for
massive immigration and small groups of settlers, was the
first large transport of 107 persons which set out for
Canada on April 30, 1896. Almost all of these immigrants
settled in Edna, Alberta, which was renamed Star, and began
the oldest Ukrainian colony in Canada. (Marunchak, Vol.
1, pg. 46) A large group of immigrants from the steamship "Sicilia",
monitored by Kyrylo Genyk, arrived in Winnipeg in July,
1896, and settled in Manitoba. This group which was comprised
of 27 families and a few single men mainly from the village
of Senkiw, in Borshchiw county, set out to establish a
colony south of Winnipeg which they wanted to name ‘‘Rus’’ (Ukraine).
Thus was begun the oldest colony in Manitoba. However,
the name "Rus" was superseded by "Stuartburn", called "Shtombury" by
the Ukrainian settlers, which was the name of the post
office and railway station in the area. From this initial
group developed 15 church communities, whose present day
administrative centre is Rosa. Among its oldest communities
are Stuartburn 1898; Tolstoi 1902; Caliento 1907; Zhoda
1909; Lonesand 1913; Sopiwnyky 1913-1915 and others. Another
group mainly from the villages of Zavalia and Berezova
in the Terebovlia county, under the leadership of Wasyl
Ksionzyk, settled north-west of Winnipeg in the Dauphin
Lake region near the Drifting-River (south-west of the
town of Dauphin which was established in 1898) and named
it ‘‘Trembowla’’ (Terebovlia).
The name of the railway station, "Valley River", which
was located about 6 miles from the colony, was chosen over
the name given by the colonists. Thus, this historic name
of the church district was used only to designate a school
district, "Trembowla School No. 1040" which was organized
in the fall of 1897 and survived until the 1960’s.
The settlers in the area of Terebovlia joined in the building
of the Church of the Holy Trinity which was blessed on
April 12, 1897 by Father Nestor Dmytriv who also oversaw
the erection of the Cross of Freedom and blessed the Holy
Trinity cemetery which remains to this day. (In 1908, a
part of the congregation, along with the church building,
was assimilated by the Russian Mission, and separated from
the Ukrainian Catholic Church.) In 1898, St. Michael’s
Church became the centre for communities from the Terebovlia
area which settled near Mink River, and it still stands
today as a historical monument. (See Mink River Volkivtsi.)
In 1906, in the area south of the two above mentioned church
communities, a congregation was organized at Ashville which
was preceded by a congregation in Keld in 1902, Mink Creek
in 1903 and others who make up the eight parishes under
the present day jurisdiction of Gilbert Plains.
February of 1897, approximately 1100 Ukrainian immigrants
arrived in several steamships. Some found jobs and remained
in Winnipeg, others continued on to Alberta while 475 of
these immigrants joined the settlers in the Dauphin area.
Here at Sifton they built a chapel upon their arrival in
1897, which grew to a large centre presently encompassing
nine parishes. In time. congregations were established
at Ethelbert and Venlaw in 1900, Zoria in 1903, and Ukraina
in 1917. There was a great influx of immigrants in May
of 1897; 672 from Halychyna on the steamship "Prussia";
558 on the "Arabia" and 672 on the ‘‘Armenia’’.
These immigrants settled in the Dauphin area, and called
the area and the school "Kosiv" because it reminded many
of them of the terrain of their villages in the Carpathian
Mountains. At that time a large community was formed at
Winnipegosis, north of Dauphin, which presently encompasses
9 church communities and parishes. Among the first to incorporate
were Winnipegosis in 1905, Toutes Aides in 1910 and South
Bay in 1913.
north and somewhat later, communities were established
in the Pine River area, with 7 church groups including
those at Garland in 1910-1911; Fletcher in 1914-1915; Pulp
River, Cowan and Sclater in 1918. In June of 1897 a group
of settlers comprised of eleven families, formed a community
at Pleasant Home located about 40 miles north of Winnipeg
near Lake Winnipeg. Presently under the church jurisdiction
at Gimli are ten church communities that were first organized
at Foley North in 1900, Gimli farms in 1903, Fraserwood
farms in 1906, Arnes in 1910, Zbruch in 1912, Komarno in
1914, and elsewhere. These settlements further strengthened
the Ukrainian communities which in 1898 numbered 150 families,
(as reported in "Svoboda’’ no. 8, 1903) and
encouraged additional immigration. Although this Interlake
area, between Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, was heavily
forested and had poor stony or swampy land, the settlement
increased to several thousands of Ukrainian settlers who
were eager to join established settlements regardless of
the condition of the land. Thus about 15 communities were
established further north near Fisher Branch where the
people joined in the building of churches at Chatfield
in 1910, Poplarfield in 1913, Rembrandt in 1915-1917, Silver
in 1918, Meleb and Sylvan in 1918 and elsewhere.
the spring of 1899 groups of Ukrainian immigrants began
settling along the slopes of the Riding Mountains in the
vicinity of Shoal Lake, call "Shoylyk" by the settlers,
and Sandy Lake. First among the eight communities that
formed here were Ozerna in 1904, Sandy Lake in 1911, Horod
in 1917 and others. In the area of Rossburn 11 church communities
were organized. Among these were Rossburn-farms in 1901,
Olha and Lakedale in 1904, and Dolyny in 1907. At the time
of settlement Oakburn was the centre of the colonies and
the name given to the area. To the east of these settlements
near the town of Neepawa evolved seven more communities,
the oldest to be established were Mountain Road in 1904
and Glenella in 1909. The transport of settlers in 1899
is especially significant in the history of Ukrainian settlement
because of the terrible tragedy that befell it. (See graves
of the 40 children and some adults along the shores of
settlements spread in Manitoba to the Saskatchewan border
where, in the area of Roblin, ten communities evolved;
the first being Zelena in 1910, then Merridale in 1923,
Shortdale in 1933, Roblin-farms in 1935, Petlura in 1936
and others. Directly west of Winnipeg a Ukrainian community
was established in 1906 at Portage la Prairie which gave
rise to a small Ukrainian farming community at St. Claude.
Further west the settlers joined in the building of a church
at Brandon in 1903-1905, nearby at Rivers in 1909 and at
Menzie in 1947.
immigrants settled also near Winnipeg. To the oldest communities
belongs Goner where the church dates back to 1899, followed
by the Beausejour area with the church at Ladywood built
in 1903, Brokenhead in 1904 and then Thalberg in 1913 and
six others witch presently belong to this area of parish
communities. The district of Selkirk has five parishes
of which the oldest dates back to 1908 in East Selkirk.
The district of Rossdale-‘‘Parky’’ consists
of seven church parish communities of which the oldest
is St. Norbert established in 1906, Elma in 1909-1912 and
Hadashville in 1911. Later settlers seeking employment
moved to the northwest and far north. In 1937 a church
community was formed in The Pas, in 1949 in Flin Flon and
in 1972 in the northern city of Thompson. Many settlers
remained in Winnipeg from the onset of immigration and
formed communities around their churches. Thus in 1901,
a congregation was established at St. Nicholas Church which
was called the "small church" and in 1906 the "big church" was
built. In 1916-1917 the church in Winnipeg-Transcona was
built; the first church at Winnipeg-Boyd was built in 1926
and others followed which presently total 16 church parish
transports provided a continuous influx of immigrants to
established communities, and also formed new communities
in the northern areas as already mentioned. The organization
of a community which centred around the building of a church,
school or cultural centre will be dealt with in the individual
histories. Generally speaking, this did not coincide with
the date of settlement but was determined by the ability
of each settlement to ensure that the basic needs were
met for the individual families, most of whom began with
virtually nothing. Statistics indicate that from the time
of the accepted date of formal Ukrainian immigration in
1891 to the First World War in 1914, between 100 to 170
thousand Ukrainian immigrants arrived in Canada. (Conflicting
data is a result of confusion between place of birth and
of the immigrants settled in the three prairie provinces;
the largest number going to Manitoba. In the rest of Canada,
Ontario received the largest number. Between 1915 and 1925
there was negligible immigration because of the war and
difficult economic conditions in Canada. However, between
1926 and 1929 approximately 50 thousand Ukrainians immigrated
to Canada with an additional 16 thousand in 1939. The next
large wave of Ukrainian immigration occurred after the
Second World War. In one year alone, between 1948 and 1949,
10,500 immigrants, mainly displaced persons from refugee
camps in Germany, entered Canada. The number of immigrants
during the post war years of 1945-1954 totaled 34,232.
In the 1951 census there were 14,004,429 people in Canada.
Of these, 395,043 were of Ukrainian origin. Manitoba at
that time had a population of 776,541 of which 98,753 were
of Ukrainian origin; half of whom lived in the cities and
the other half on farms. Winnipeg had a population of 354,069
of which 41,337 were or Ukrainian origin. The latest statistics
in 1988 gives the population of Canada as 25,334,000. Of
these, 754,980 persons indicated their origin as being
Ukrainian. Manitoba’s overall population was 1,071,000,
with 130,285 single origin Ukrainians. Winnipeg had a population
of 265,000, with 84,565 of single origin Ukrainians.
hard work Ukrainian settlers in Manitoba transformed much
of its wilderness into productive fields bringing an ordered
beauty to the land and wealth to the province and Canada
as a whole. They contributed a lion’s share of the
labour that carved out roads, built railways, developed
commercial enterprises, established cultural educational
centres and enhanced the political life of the nation.
Though downtrodden and forsaken in the early years of settlement,
Ukrainians were able to ignite the life-giving spark of
holy faith, and with their unceasing prayer and hard work
overcame the scorn and hostility all around them to emerge
strong and confident in their sound husbandry of the Canadian
entity, their adopted homeland. The descendants of these
pioneers continued to contribute the finest elements of
their cultural and artistic expression which has its source
in spiritual communion with Ukraine. In the one hundredth
anniversary of Ukrainian settlement they stand secure in
their contributions to the development of Canada and their
share in the responsibility of shaping its future.
taken from Ukrainian Catholic Churches of Winnipeg
Archeparchy, History of Ukrainian Catholic Churches
in Canada, Volume 4 by Anna Maria Kowcz-Baran
January 30, 2005
Second Immigration (1922-1939)
Immigration (1922-1939) was smaller than the first and numbered about
68,000 people. The immigrants began to arrive in numbers in 1923 after
the Ukrainian Republic had fallen, and its partition between Poland,
Roumania. Czecho-Slovakia and the Soviet Union was completed. Ukrainian
immigration increased throughout the prosperous twenties and nearly half
of it arrived in the three years from 1927 to 1929. With the coming of
the "great" depression, Ukrainian immigration fell sharply, but rose
again in the late thirties as the danger of war began to loom in Europe.
flow of immigrants continued to come from Bukovina and Galicia,then under
Poland and Roumania. For the first time, immigrants began to arrive in
numbers from Volynia, which also had fallen under Poland. Most of the
immigrants were still farmers, the unskilled and semi-skilled who were
being pushed out of their homeland by the bleak economic and political
future which they faced. They still sought land in Canada, but the good
homesteads were gone, and they had to choose between free land which
was poor or too far from settlement, or better land at a price. The pull
of non-farm jobs was increasing and more and more of the immigrants were
drawn into Canadian cities and towns.
had taken part in unsuccessful wars for Ukrainian ndependence during
1917 to 1922, and brought with them a strong sense of nationalism and
an old-country orientation, These attitudes complicated the emerging
views of the first immigration which were becoming more and more orientated
towards Canadian problems. Some skilled and professionally trained immigrants
also came, adding to the small numbers already in Canada.
of the thirties, damaging as it was in other ways, was a great economic
and social leveller. But it was not enough to overcome differences, which
had arisen among the Ukrainians. Controversy between the two churches
and several lay organisations with different political orientations was
using up too much of the creative energies of the Ukrainians and it was
becoming obvious that more co-ordination of their efforts was essential
if their development in Canada was to be unimpeded. The brief independence
of Carpatho-Ukraine in 1939 and the strong patriotic sentiments, which
it aroused also, showed the need to co-ordinate activities regarding
Third Immigration (1946-1961)
Immigration (1946-1961) contributed the smallest number of people, some
37,000 in all. The majority had entered by the end of 1952, though appreciable
numbers continued to come until 1960. The immigrants had one common feature
-they were political refugees from behind the Iron Curtain -and many
differences. Some were professionals from the sciences, humanities and
the arts, others were craftsmen, and still others were labourers and
farmers. For the first time they came from all regions of the Ukraine,
so that in this sense the New World became representative of the old.
small in numbers, the third group of immigrants made a great impact on
the Ukrainians already in Canada. Many of the newcomers accepted fairly
quickly the existing institutions developed by the Ukrainians. This was
to the benefit of both. It bolstered the institutions with much needed
membership and gave moral support and fresh impetus to their efforts;
at the same time it provided a haven from which the newly arrived could
more quickly find a job and begin to integrate into Canadian life. There
were, however, instances in which the third immigration participated
too zealously in the work of these institutions, turning away some of
the more loosely attached Canadian born Ukrainians.
also made noteworthy contributions in the academic, professional, literary
and artistic fields. They helped establish and staff Slavic Departments
at universities, providing advanced training in Ukrainian subjects and
enabling instruction in Ukrainian to develop from the elementary level.
With a high proportion of professionals, they were able to increase Ukrainian
participation in universities, government and business. They established
new journals and newspapers and helped to put Ukrainian language newspapers
in the forefront of Canada's ethnic press. Through Canadian branches
of the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences and the Shevchenko Scientific
Society, they contributed to Canadian literature by their prolific output
were able to make an easy adjustment to the new conditions. Some could
not find jobs immediately or could not find jobs in line with their abilities,
training or preferences; others had to take supplementary schooling,
generally past school age, to bring their education in line with Canadian
needs. Still others retained their strong beliefs on old country politics;
they could not accept the generally Canadian orientation of the Ukrainian
institutions and founded new organisations of their own more in line
with their thinking. The Ukrainian Canadian Committee has, however, proven
flexible enough to accommodate these organisations without losing its
primarily Canadian orientation.
ways the first two immigrations contributed to the adjustment problems
of the third. Considering themselves charter members, they did not always
accept the new arrivals readily. Having established a niche for themselves
in Canadian society they were sceptical of the views and motives of the
new arrivals and were not ready to accept them fully until they had "proven" themselves
sufficiently. The attitude of estrangement on both sides was an inevitable
adjustment phase that is gradually dying, to themutual benefit of each.
A "Fourth Wave" of
Immigrants from Ukrainestarted from 1991 as a result of the breakup
of the former Soviet Union.
The first: How well are the new Ukrainian Canadians adapting to the Canadian
economic system? This is examined within the context of Canada's immigration
policy which, from the mid-1970s to late 2001 (a major overhaul of Canadian
immigration policy was announced recently), sought to match immigrants directly
with existing labor needs.
The second: How well, if at all, do the new immigrants integrate into Toronto's
Ukrainian community? This is considered through the prism of the theory posed
by Louis Hartz, a sociologist best-known for his study "The Founding of New
Societies," that new immigrants live for a long time by issues that were
significant to them in their home country before their departure.
Getting into the subject matter proper, Prof. Isajiw provided a basic profile
of the immigrants. Ninety percent were born in Ukraine, and 90 percent came
as independent immigrants (the remaining 10 percent arrived sponsored). Just
over one-quarter (26 percent) have taken Canadian citizenship.
They are divided almost equally between males and females. Most (78.6 percent)
are married, while 11 percent are single and 9 percent divorced or separated.
Their average age upon arrival was 35.4, while their average age at the time
of being interviewed was 39, indicating that they had been in Canada, on
average, for just over 3.5 years.
An interesting statistic, considering the Toronto housing market, is that
22 percent are homeowners.
Seventeen percent have no children, while 31.9 percent had one and 45 percent
have two. Eighty-nine percent are working full-time, although only 43 percent
use specific skills acquired in Ukraine in their work.
The principal area from which they emigrated was "Greater" Ukraine (i.e.,
Central and Eastern Ukraine, 50 percent), with western Ukraine (Halychyna
and Bukovyna) following at 41 percent, and southern Ukraine (and "other" regions)
coming in at 9 percent. Significantly, 26 percent of all those who emigrated
from Ukraine to Canada came from Kyiv and 24 percent from Lviv.
Later in the seminar, Prof. Isajiw noted the high educational achievement
of the immigrants: 12.8 percent had degrees from an "uchylyshche," or a "tekhnikum," 37
percent from an "instytut," and 36.1 percent from a university. As well,
he noted their religious affiliation (at the time of emigration) as being
split among Ukrainian Orthodox (37 percent), Russian Orthodox (16 percent),
Catholics (27 percent) and non-believers (11 percent).
Prof. Isajiw noted that while Ukrainian immigrants are fairly well integrated
into the Canadian economy, they generally tended to be overqualified for
the work they were doing. As such, Canada has done very well by Ukrainian
A host of statistics preceded this conclusion. Regarding employment before
and after emigration, Prof. Isajiw noted that the field of computing became
significantly more important for immigrants (with the ratio of their employment
in this field rising from 15.2 percent while in Ukraine to 20.1 after arriving
in Canada). Business and entrepreneurship also saw a rise, from 3.4 percent
to 6.4 percent.
On the other hand, engineering (an astonishing decline from 22.4 percent
to 0.7 percent) and "professional" work (12.1 percent to 3.7 percent), as
well as work in the humanities (13.8 percent to 2.0 percent) and management
(7.6 percent to 2.7 percent) took sharp dives. Unskilled manual labor, meanwhile,
experienced a temporary spike from 0.0 percent (in Ukraine) to 19.1 percent
as a first job in Canada to a current level of 4.0 percent.
The speaker also examined the issues of "difficulty finding work" (where
lack of Canadian contacts and Canadian experience, as well as a lack of English
fluency were cited as major problems) and "attitudes and opinions" (in which
it emerged, in unrelated questions, that almost half of the respondents felt
that they were overqualified for their current jobs, yet over half were generally
satisfied with their jobs).
Prof. Isajiw then turned to the integration of the new immigrants into the
Ukrainian community, the other major question addressed by the study. The
conclusion was unequivocal: new arrivals have not linked up with the "hromada" in
any significant way. Their active participation in existing Ukrainian organizations
stood at 9 percent and in Ukrainian organizations for new arrivals at 4 percent.
Their attendance of activities sponsored by Ukrainian organizations was 8.0
percent "very often"; 23.7 percent "time to time"; 20.1 percent "rarely";
and 48.2 percent "never."
Even informally the new immigrants have maintained a certain social distance
from local Ukrainian Canadians: less than 27 percent agreed or strongly agreed
that it was "easy to make friends with Ukrainian Canadians" (compared to
just over 41 percent for making friends with non-Ukrainian Canadians).
Nevertheless, the new arrivals by and large are interested in Ukrainian matters.
A full 92.3 percent indicated that they feel it is important to pass on a
sense of Ukrainian culture to their children, 50 percent send their children
to a Ukrainian school, and 24 percent send their children to dance lessons.
Almost 82 percent read Ukrainian Canadian newspapers often or from time to
time, while 66.8 maintain a strong interest in Ukrainian politics.
In conclusion, Prof. Isajiw reiterated his major findings and revisited some
of his statistics on language (which are not mentioned in this report) and
cultural identification. He also noted that the Russian Ukrainian language
mix among the recent arrivals - to some degree an object of derision among
local Ukrainian Canadians - is still very common and unlikely to change in
the foreseeable future.
Several significant matters were raised during the subsequent question-and-answer
session. The first question asked how representative a sample was the group
studied, given the fact that the name list for possible interviewees was
generated from a Canadian Ukrainian Immigrant Aid Society list. Prof. Isajiw
replied that the fact that the list includes over half of the "Fourth Wave" immigrants
renders it fairly neutral in scope and that the names were picked at random
Another query focused on what the results for a comparable survey in the
United States might yield. The speaker remarked that there were numerous
differentiating factors between Canada and the United States, so that it
is not realistic to speculate on this matter. At the same time, he added
that the backers of this undertaking were interested in the possibility of
extending this examination to the situation in the United States.
One commentator subsequently suggested that the larger numbers of new Ukrainian
immigrants to the United States and the relatively weaker condition of community
organizations in that country rendered them more likely to being taken over
by recent arrivals. Conversely, the very strength of Toronto's Ukrainian
community may well mitigate the successful integration of recent immigrants
from Ukraine, insofar as they are unable to assume dominant positions (i.e.,
take them over or enter the scene on their own terms).
Finally, socio-linguistic and regional questions were raised. Questions were
asked about the recent immigrants' relations with the large Russophone population
in the Toronto region, as well as the impact of the close Galician/Ukrainophone
identification upon the survey results. Regarding the former, Prof. Isajiw
noted that the matter was simply never explored; as for the latter, he added
that the data are still very fresh and had not yet been examined.
Andrij Makuch is research coordinator of the Ukrainian Canadian Program at
the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies.
and fresh -- home Canada I Can we,
Born far o'er seas, call thee our country dear?
I know not whence nor how the right may be
Attained, through sharing blessings year by year.
We were not reared within thy broad domains,
Our fathers' graves and corpses lie afar;
They did not fall for freedom on thy plains,
Nor we pour out our blood beneath thy star.
ancient worlds by Wrong oppressed swarmed,
as ants, to scatter on thy land;
Each to the place you gave, aided, unharmed,
And here we fear not kings or nobles grand.
you not, 0 Canada, our own?
Nay, we are still but holders of thy soil,
We have not bought by sacrifice and groan
The right to boast the country where we toil.
Canada, in Liberty we work till death!
Our children shall be free to call thee theirs,
Their own dear land, where, gladly drawing breath,
parents found safe graves, and left strong heirs,
and native freedom, and the heart
To live, and strive, and die if need there be,
In standing manfully by Honor's part,
To save the country that has made us free."