September 7 marks Ukrainian Heritage Day in Ontario – the day when 125 years ago in 1891 Ukrainian settlers arrived in Canada. Members of the community celebrated Ukrainian Heritage Day at an event organized by St. Vladimir Institute.
Ukrainian Heritage Day was created when in March 2011, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed Bill-155 – the Ukrainian Heritage Day Act, which proclaimed September 7th of each year Ukrainian Heritage Day. September 7, 1891 is the date on which the first Ukrainian immigrants, Vasyl Eleniak and Ivan Pylypiw, arrived in Canada.
Bill-155 was introduced by Gerry Martiniuk, MPP (Cambridge) and was co-sponsored by Donna Cansfield, MPP (Etobicoke Centre) and Cheri DiNovo, MPP (Parkdale-High Park).
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Ontario Provincial Council, then under the leadership of now MPP Yvan Baker, played an important role in the drafting of the bill and solicited feedback on the legislation from community leaders across the province.
In his greetings, Liberal MPP for Etobicoke Centre, wrote in his greetings: “For 125 years, Ontario has welcomed Ukrainian immigrants seeking freedom and a brighter future. Ukrainian Heritage Day provides a special opportunity to celebrate with Canadians of all backgrounds our Ukrainian heritage, the role that Ontario has played in successfully welcoming generations of Ukrainians seeking a better life here in Canada and the contributions of Ukrainian Canadians to our political, economic and cultural life across our great country.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne’s message on the occasion of Ukrainian Heritage Day in Ontario: