1897 and 1914 a steady stream of Ukrainian immigrants left
and settled in Saskatchewan. By 1901, blocks were formed around
Wakaw, Hafford, Yorkon, Meath Park. Lemberg and Edenbridge.
Others followed as more railway branch lines opened.
The lands to which
they came held promise. In contrast to dire need in Ukraine,
there was room for initiative and an opportunity to own land.
The rich loam of the prairies resembled Ukraine’s chornozem
(black earth) and there were plenty of trees for fuel.
“immigrants in sheepskin coats” known as Ruthenians
or Ukrainians, or by their regional roots-- Galicians, Bukovinians,
and others--brought with themselves a valuable treasury that
went far beyond their settlers’ trunks. Used to hardship
and toil, their innate qualities of character and drive would,
in time, be applied to every area of endeavour in Canada:
politics, science, literature and the visual arts, where they
would leave strong marks of success.
their new surroundings, their passion for music, intricate
needlework, pysanka decoration and dance would take new creative
forms of development.
Although the original
burdai (the soddy) and many of the clay and log houses of
yesteryear are no more, their onion-domed churches and bell-towers
remain a valuable legacy of their built heritage, frequently
resurfacing in modern architectural adaptations.
'Tri dnya ne yiezh,
nu visela bud’ (do not eat for three days but be cheerful)
reflects the hard reality of pioneer experience, the scarcity
of provisions in the early years. Staying bright and cheery
even in desperate times was a desirable quality exhibited
by many of the Ukrainian pioneers whose lives have enriched
farm communities, our prairie towns and cities.
This is the legacy
of the soul of the Ukrainian settler: ingrained good humour,
resilience and high energy for which it is known, and a penchant
for celebration, either serious or light. These qualities,
combined with the love of education and ethic of labour exhibited
by Ukrainian settlers, have contributed much to that unique
combination of virtues and talents underlying our modern Canadian
This exhibit focuses
on the archival holdings of member archives of the Saskatchewan
Council for Archives and Archivists—their manuscripts,
photographs, documentary art and correspondence—reflective
of the theme of combined ethnic virtues and Saskatchewan’s