On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Ontario Provincial Council organized a flag raising ceremony on the grounds of the Ontario Legislature in Toronto to commemorate the 6th annual Ukrainian Heritage Day.
The flag raising event started at noon. Marichka Duncan, Board Member of UCC Ontario Provincial Council, who served as the master of ceremonies, greeted the crowd and introduced the Hon. Dave Levac, MPP (Brant), Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, who opened the official ceremony.
Mr. Andrii Veselovskyi, the Consul General of Ukraine in Toronto congratulated all Ukrainians in Ontario and Canada on behalf of the Government of Ukraine. His address was followed by the singing of the National Anthems of Canada and Ukraine. The Consul General helped to raise the Ukrainian flag outside of Ontario Legislature.
The event attended the Ministers and the Members of Provincial Parliament. Yvan Baker, MPP (Etobicoke Centre) congratulated the Ukrainian Canadian community and read a Personal Message from the Premier of Ontario, Hon. Kathleen Wynne. In her message, the Premier stated: “The Ontario government is firm in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We stand with the international community in our commitment to ending foreign aggression and intervention in Ukraine to ensure its freedom, democracy and independence. I stand in solidarity with you and all those who seek a peaceful, democratic and independent path for Ukraine.”
John Yakabuski, MPP (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke) shared his greetings on behalf of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Caucus and stressed that Ontarians of Ukrainian heritage have made tremendous contributions in every aspect of Ontario society.
Next, Taras Natyshak, MPP (Essex) delivered a congratulatory message on behalf of the Ontario New Democrat Caucus and emphasized the role that Ontario has played in successfully welcoming generations of Ukrainians.
Hon. Kathryn McGarry, MPP (Cambridge), Hon. Liz Sandals, MPP (Guelph), Nathalie Des Rosiers, MPP (Ottawa – Vanier), Amrit Mangat, MPP (Mississauga-Brampton South), Todd Smith, MPP (Prince Edward—Hastings), representatives of Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Ontario Provincial Council, members of the Ukrainian Canadian community and general public also took part in the flag raising event.
The musical performance of duo Ihor and Andrianna Artemiak enriched the official program of the ceremony. This was followed by the commemorative remarks delivered by Walter Kish, President of UCC Oshawa, Vice-President of UCC Ontario Provincial Council.
Earlier, on Thursday, September 7th, members of the Ukrainian Canadian community celebrated Ukrainian Heritage Day at an event organized by the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, Ontario Branch, the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Center, St. Vladimir Institute and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Ontario Provincial Council.
The program included a historical unveiling of a plaque honouring Corporal Filip Konowal, Ukrainian immigrant, World War I soldier, VC. The guests also enjoyed the museum exhibits, museum tours, film screening, lectures and other activities.
“We would like to thank our co-organizers, speakers, volunteers, attendees, and everyone who contributed to the success of these events,” stated Anna Kuprieieva, President of UCC Ontario Provincial Council. “Ukrainian Heritage Day is very special day for our community. The Province of Ontario has strong social, economic and cultural links to the Ukrainian heritage. Thousands of Ontarians trace their roots back to Ukraine. It is therefore important to recognize and celebrate Ukrainian heritage and the tremendous history and achievement as part of Canada’s multiculturalism.”
Photo credit: Mykola Swarnyk