Around 100 people marched through downtown Edmonton on Saturday afternoon, waving Ukrainian flags and wearing traditional embroidered clothing - known as Vyshyvanka.
The colourful procession wove through the streets before ending up at the Alberta Legislature to show support for the embattled country of Ukraine. Participants were also advocating for peaceful and democratic elections, which will be taking place on May 25.
A similar parade also took place in Toronto.
Ed Thomson, who is Ukrainian on his mother’s side, stood in the crowd at the Alberta Legislature with a Ukrainian flag draped over his shoulders.
He has family in Ukraine and said he wants them to know they are supported here in Edmonton.
“We came to support Ukraine and its fight against corruption and just to let them know that the rest of the world is with them,” said Thomson. “It’s a great way to show the world that we’re a peaceful people and we just want Mr. Putin to leave us alone.”
Olha Hyzha is the vice president of the Ukrainian student society at the University of Alberta. She moved to Canada just two years ago but still has much of her family living in Ukraine.
“Our family is back home and they are really really scared,” she said. “We don’t know what to do.”
Hyzha said the march in Edmonton is important to show support for the Ukrainian people during this time of turmoil.
“It doesn’t really matter [where we live],” she said. “We’re still one big family.”
What hurts the most about the conflict, said Hyzha, is that the fight is still going.
“It’s the 21st century,” she said. “It really hurts that we have to still fight for our country. It’s been 20-years of independence and we’re still fighting.”
The young woman says she is constantly checking Facebook and Ukrainian websites to stay updated on the news coming from her homeland.
“Every single second everything changes,” Hyzha said. “You can wake up in the morning and the news can be completely different. You never know what can happen.”