One Weekend, Four Events: Summer

StephanssonHouse5

Hard to believe that we are already mid-way through August…but the summer isn’t over yet! This upcoming weekend, five of our historic sites and museums have events going on. There’s the music festival over at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village but if that’s not your jam, here’s some other ideas:

  • Remington Carriage Museum: Miniature Chuckwagon Championship Races (August 19-20)
  • Reynolds-Alberta Museum: Motorcycle Ride to Reynolds (August 20)
  • Victoria Settlement: Annual Potato Derby (August 21)
  • Stephansson House: Harvest Fair and Quilt Show (August 21)

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A vision of the future: An interview with Catherine Kluyts

Angela Whyte and Cathy Kluyts

Angela Whyte and Cathy Kluyts at Foote Field, Edmonton

We’re in the middle of the 2016 Rio Olympics, with athletics being a major focus this week. Earlier this morning (August 16), Edmontonian Angela Whyte represented Team Canada in the Women’s 100m hurdle, certainly a dream come true for her. Here in Alberta, hundreds of youth, particularly young women, are watching the Olympics closely, dreaming of the day when they themselves will proudly wear the maple leaf as they go for gold. We caught up with one such young woman to talk about following in the footsteps of Alberta’s Olympic women. Continue reading

PAA records make it into the 2016 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival

BattleRiverSquare

Planning to take in this year’s Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival in Old Strathcona from Aug. 11 to 21?  If so, be sure to check out the production Letters from Battle River: The Adventures of Dr. Mary Percy Jackson inspired and written using archival records from the holdings of the Provincial Archives of Alberta (PAA)!

If you’ve ever wondered what work goes on at the PAA, this project is a wonderful example of the use and application of archival material to breathe new life into records and provide an engaging, enlightening and meaningful platform to share incredible stories of the past.

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Little Chapel, Big History: Explore Alberta’s Beginnings at Mission Hill Day

Angel-in-Crypt

A shy little building stands along St. Vital Avenue in St. Albert in front of the landmark St. Albert Catholic Church. Beyond, a green expanse of treed grounds harbours a tranquil grotto and cemetery. Even though it looks small and humble compared to the rest, that simple structure is Father Lacombe Chapel – Alberta’s oldest building and a designated Provincial Historical Resource.

Surprised that St. Albert has this little treasure? Come and learn more about its history at Mission Hill Day on Sunday, August 14!

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Delicious pyrohy: One reason to celebrate 125 years of Ukrainians in Canada!

Lady_making_pyrohy

You may call them perogies, we know them as pyrohy. Also called varenyky by many Ukrainians, these delicious dumplings have transformed from an ethnic peasant food to a staple in catering menus across western Canada. In fact, did you know that one Edmonton-based company (Heritage Frozen Foods Ltd.) can make up to 3 million pyrohy every day? (If you’ve never made pyrohy before, check out this exclusive, online cooking lesson from the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village).

How Ukrainian culture became woven into the fabric of Canada

As we approach Ukrainian Day on Aug. 7, and the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada, we reflect on how Ukrainian culture and heritage in Alberta is much, much more than just delicious food.

Pyrohy are, however, an example of how Ukrainian culture and heritage has evolved in Canada over the last 125 years to become a part of Alberta’s multicultural identity — a good example of this can be seen by taking a stroll down the frozen food section of your grocery store to see many varieties of pyrohy for sale. Today, Edmonton has the largest population of Ukrainians of any city in Canada!  Across the province, we have the outstanding dance and performing groups performing across the globe, Ukrainian bilingual programs in schools, churches, charities, museums and institutions that celebrate Ukrainian culture and history in Alberta.  Many of these Albertans of Ukrainian ancestry can trace their roots back the earliest pioneers that arrived to Canada prior to the First World War.

History of Ukrainian settlement in Canada

Iwan Pylyow and Wasyl Eleniak arrived on Sept.7, 1891. They were from the village of Nebyliv, Galicia and they had come to Canada on the promise of vast tracks of land being made available to settlers to homestead in Western Canada.  The Canadian Government was in fact offering free 160-acres homesteads to every male settler who, with his family, could own this land after breaking and cultivating the land, residing on it (at least 6 months of the year) and filing a homestead application complete with a $10 processing fee. This presented an immense opportunity (think lotto big) for the average peasant farm in Galicia or Bukovyna, which was typically less than 10 acres in size.

At the end of the 19th century, the regions of Galicia and Bukovyna (now part of western Ukraine), were the most economically impoverished regions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The arrival of these two villagers from Nebyliv to Alberta, and who then went on to share stories of free land and no landlords in Canada, helped initiate the mass immigration of Ukrainians to Canada prior to the First World War.  The beginning of the 20th century saw numerous bloc settlements across Western Canada (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta). However, none was larger than the Ukrainian bloc settlement in east central Alberta.  In 2016, Ukrainians across Canada are paying tribute to these earliest pioneers with celebrations to mark the quasquicentennial anniversary of Ukrainian immigration to Canada.

Celebrate with UCHV: It’s a big party and you’re invited!

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On Sunday, August 7, the celebration of 125 years of Ukrainian immigration to Canada will be highlighted at the annual Ukrainian Day special event at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village (UCHV) from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Whether you are celebrating your family’s history, or you want to help celebrate the rich and vibrant Ukrainian culture in Alberta today, you are invited to attend Ukrainian Day to celebrate all things Ukrainian and to kick-start 125th anniversary celebrations in Alberta! Ukrainian Day is co-hosted with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress-Alberta Provincial Council (UCC-APC).

Event highlights on Ukrainian Day 2016 include:

  • Church services that begin at 9:15 a.m.
  • A sneak preview of the Stelmach House Learning Centre (not currently open to the public) that will formally open on 2017. This legacy project was initiated by the UCC-APC to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian immigration to Canada.
  • Recognition of many of east central Alberta’s early pioneers at the centennial monument.
  • A concert beginning at 2 p.m. that will feature traditional Ukrainian song and dance performances. Confirmed concert performers include: Foma from Ukrainian supergroup Mandry, Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Company (Edmonton), Suzirya Ukrainian Dance Theatre (Calgary), Axios Men’s Ensemble (Edmonton choir), Tanya Onyshenko (Calgary singer), Euphoria Band (Edmonton).
  • Visit to the historical village to see costumed role-players portray real pioneers from the region. Activities include free wagon rides, spelling bee and schoolyard games, horseshoe toss, Morse telegraph demonstrations, butter churning demonstrations and more!
  • Delicious food starting with a strawberry and whipped cream pancake breakfast available prior to 11 a.m., and mouth-watering pyrohy, borshch and other Ukrainian food available after 11 a.m.

We hope to see you out at the Village celebrating on Aug.7!  For more event information, please visit the UCHV website, or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.