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Ukrainian Voice celebrates 100th anniversary


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This article was published 18/03/2010 (4586 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Ukrainian Canadians across the country are celebrating the anniversary of a North End-based newspaper many credit not only with serving their community, but helping create it.

Since the first edition of the Ukrainian Voice was published on March 16, 1910, the newspaper has been a fixture of Ukrainian Canadian households across Canada.

Dr. Roman Yereniuk of the North End, a professor at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies, said he feels proud of the newspaper’s many successes.

Ryan Crocker Directors and staff of Ukrainian Voice are celebrating the paper’s centennial this year.

“Every (town) had correspondents contributing,” he said. “Ukrainian Voice really did cultivate the Ukrainian Canadian identity.”

Historian Wolodymyr Senchuk of the North End couldn’t agree more.

Senchuk said most Ukrainians who settled in Canada did not have a strong sense of their shared Ukrainian identity. While they shared a common language, most considered themselves Galicians, or Ruthenians, or Bukovinians — choosing one from any number of identities based around specific regions of what is today Ukraine.

Ukrainian Voice had a tremendous impact in Canada,” he said. “It really shaped our Ukrainian Canadian community. It brought all of us together.”

Bill Scherbatiuk of North Kildonan, a member of the newspaper’s volunteer board of directors, said bringing together all of Ukraine’s regional identities into a unified whole formed the foundation upon which all of the community’s successes were built.

“Still today, it helps us keep our language and culture alive,” he said.

All three men still remember growing up reading the Ukrainian Voice.

Yereniuk, who grew up in Edmonton, remembers his parents eagerly awaiting every edition. Senchuk to this day has to bring a copy of each edition to his elderly mother-in-law. Scherbatiuk still recalls his father reading him stories from the newspaper and using it to teach him Ukrainian.

Olena Garrity of St. Vital said the Ukrainian Voice remains one of the strongest connections she has to her late parents.

“They’re gone, but the newspaper still connects us,” she said. “My parents first started getting it in 1930. It would come every Wednesday and you just had to read it that day, not the next.”

In 1943, she started submitting letters to the newspaper’s Dear Grandfather column.

“We just wrote what we were doing, social news. I did that until 1950,” she said. “And then when I moved on my own, got married — the first thing I did was subscribe to Ukrainian Voice. We just need to have it.”

Helen Parij, who isn’t of Ukrainian descent, is one of the newspaper’s most loyal subscribers. She hasn’t missed an issue since arriving in West Kildonan from what is today Belarus in 1947.

“To me, it’s the best paper,” she said in heavily accented English, beaming with delight at the opportunity to talk about it. “To read it in the day, or in the evening… that’s my happiness.”

It’s that personal connection Ukrainian Canadians feel toward the newspaper that Sonja Bejzyk, president of the board of directors, and editor Maria Bosak are proudest of.

“We share news from Ukraine, from all of Canada, and local news. We chronicle what happens in the Ukrainian community,” said Bejzyk, who lives in St. Boniface.

“My father used to get it all the time. Both of my parents were staunch Ukrainians and they put that seed in me.”
Bosak moved to West Kildonan from Lviv, Ukraine, in 1994. By 1997, she was editor. She is grateful to part of something she is so proud of.

“It keeps our community together,” she said. “The information we share, that’s our soul. That’s our news, our traditions, our faith — and our future.”

A celebratory banquet to mark the paper’s 100th anniversary was held March 14 at the Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral. For more information about the Ukrainian Voice, call 589-5871.

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