Saskatoon's Ukrainian community celebrates heritage, milestones Saturday
More than 7,000 took in the festivities at Saskatoon's Kiwanis Park
More than a century of Ukrainian culture and tradition was celebrated Saturday at Saskatoon's Kiwanis Park - and a super celebration was in the cards to mark a number of milestones during the 14th annual Ukrainian Day in the Park.
2016 is the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada, the 100th anniversary if the of the Mohyla Institute and the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
"It is just a super celebration year," event chair David Prokopchuk said. "We have more food vendors, more souvenir vendors, more of everything this year. It is just awesome."
The event also held a citizenship ceremony on Saturday, another first for Ukrainian Day in the Park. Thirty people took the oath of Canadian citizenship at a mid-afternoon ceremony in front of thousands.
"We seem to have gotten across the idea that we want to welcome everyone here and share our culture with you," Prokopchuk said.
"When I see the dedication, the hundreds of hours the volunteers put in whether it is maintaining Ukrainian culture or helping in events like this, it makes one very proud to be part of that community," he added. "The Ukrainian culture is very, very strong here in Saskatchewan."
And it's changing. Prokopchuk said two-thirds of the event's board are new immigrants to Canada who have been in the country for ten years or less.
"They are amazed at how much of the language and culture are retained here," Prokopchuk said.
2016 was proclaimed the year of Saskatchewan Ukrainians by the province in January.
An evening social was planned for Saturday evening with Ukrainian rock band Klooch from Toronto.