Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Bookstores still thrive -- although one is in a museum
For many generations of Ukrainian immigrants in Winnipeg, North End bookstores and reading halls were lifelines to the homeland.
Decades later, those reading halls are long gone, but two bookstores still exist: Kalyna Ukrainian Book Shop, which is still a going concern on Main Street, and Ukrainian Book Sellers, which has found new life in a museum in Ottawa.
Kalyna Ukrainian Book Shop, a Ukrainian co-operative, has served Ukrainians for more than 81 years at 952 Main St.
Two years after the Ukrainian Veterans' Association was founded in 1928, the organization announced it was opening the bookstore to serve as the Canadian representative and distributor of the Chervona Kalyna publishing co-operative in Lviv.
Victor Danyliuk, chairman of Kalyna's board of directors, said the bookstore originally helped disseminate information about what was happening in the homeland, and then expanded into other areas.
"We even used to sell appliances," Danyliuk said. "It was a hub and it was a political hub.
"Older Ukrainian people come in here now and they stand and read the newspapers and then they'll buy three or four (greeting) cards," Danyliuk said.
"But most book sales are children's books, which is nice, because that's where the language is coming from now."
Elsewhere in the store, there are shelves with bolts of fabric to make Ukrainian dance outfits, coloured dyes to make Easter eggs, CDs and DVDs, and souvenir hats and soccer scarves.
Just like it did when it first opened its doors, Kalyna still helps people keep in touch with Ukraine, only in a different way.
Pointing to a stack of large parcels, Danyliuk said the store's main chunk of income comes from the shipping of parcels back to relatives in Ukraine and the transferring of money.
"Ukrainians still live in this quadrant of the city and we're still here," he said.
The Ukrainian Book Sellers store at 850 Main St., was founded by Frank Dojacek more than a century ago. Economy Pawn Shop stands there today. But the original bookstore is now one of the more popular exhibits at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa.
Dojacek came to Canada from Czechoslovakia in 1903, and after working a year as a tailor, started selling books written in Ukrainian, German and Slovak door to door across the Prairies.
He later expanded his business to include music, calling it Winnipeg Musical Supply, as well as becoming president of National Publishers Ltd., the publishers of the Canadian Farmer, at the time the country's largest Ukrainian weekly.
David Morrison, director, Archaeology and History at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, said by the time they were tipped off that Dojacek's iconic store was closing, the space had already been converted to a pawn shop and its contents sent to businesses dealing in antiques, including Junk for Joy outside of Portage la Prairie.
"We went there and bought out all of their stuff and recreated the shop's front," Morrison said.
"It's now in our Canada Hall area, which is the best-visited exhibit here, with half a million visitors a year." The exhibit contains items dating from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 23, 2012 J4
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Photo Store Gallery
Africa is one complex and gloriously unmanageable 'theme' to choose to kick off our 2012 series, Our City Our World, which is why it took up the whole newspaper on Jan. 18.
Hard-working Chinese immigrants, once banned, have risen to the highest echelons of Manitoba.
German immigrants have played a surprisingly large role in the development of the province.
Arriving in Manitoba in the 1870s unprepared for a brutal winter, Icelandic settlers and their descendants have left their mark on our province.
Industrious Italians rose from peasant roots and adapted to Canadian society by mastering L’art d’arrangiarsi (the art of getting by).
It used to be the only time Prairie folks met Spanish-speaking people was when they vacationed down south. More often now, they're the people next door.
When the first Middle East families immigrated to Manitoba, mosques were unheard of and even yogurt was exotic. But now all that has changed.
A booming Filipino community nearly 60,000 strong has transformed Manitoba.
As the city's Indo-Canadian population experiences dramatic growth, its pioneers recall their warm Winnipeg welcome.
Scarred by Holodomor, the Ukrainian community helped shape Winnipeg's cultural mosaic.
Manitoba's history is built on a foundation provided by settlers from the U.K., who came here seeking better lives.
Ads by Google