At first glance, Ottawa doesn’t seem to be a town with a highly-visible Ukrainian presence. There’s nothing like Winnipeg’s North End, or Toronto’s Bloor West Village. But look a bit deeper, and you’ll see that we have left our mark on the city in a whole range of ways, from public monuments to street names, from cemeteries to gardens. The lumber, and other, industries have been attracting Ukrainians to Ottawa since before the First World War. In the period just before and just after WW 1 a number of community institutions took root, including two parishes and a labour temple. These would continue to grow until the early post-WW 2 period. The war, the developing Cold War and the arrival of the post-war immigration changed the face of our community.
The post-war period saw the growth of new institutions, such as the credit union, and the slow demise of others, such as the labour temple. The third wave also brought its own political orientations and groupings, which thrived for a period. As well, Ottawa became the focus of much Ukrainian-Canadian political activity, from delegations to government to protests in front of the Soviet Embassy, from appearances in front of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism to massive youth rallies on Parliament Hill and the grounds of Rideau Hall during Centennial Year. The sociology of the community changed as well. More and more Ukrainian Canadians joined the civil service. Government attempts to make the public service reflect the regions added to this trend.
All these trends and activities have been, in one way or another, captured in sites, names, exhibits and other marks on the geography of Ottawa. Borys Gengalo writes a series of articles for the UCPBA(O) newsletter which bring out the obscure and well-known, the famous and infamous, in Ukrainian history in Ottawa. You can read them by clicking on the appropriate link below. Every few months a new one will be added, after it has appeared in the newsletter.