Toronto Ukrainian Festival 2009 – What I liked and what I didn’t

Another year has come and gone, and the Toronto Ukrainian Festival has successfully completed it’s 13th event. Here’s a quick run-down of some things that we’ve noticed – some positive and some negative:


What I liked

The dancing

Many different Ukrainian dancing groups came from far and wide to showcase their talents. These are the Barvinok dancers doing the traditional Hopak:

The food (and drinks)

What’s a Ukie fest without some great food? Varenyky, Borscht, Holubtsi, etc. along with import alcohol like Slava, Slavutich and Lvivski. Perogies became a rare commodity by Sunday.

      IMG_2932 IMG_2933 


The music

The big headliner this year was Haydamaky, brought in from Ukraine:

Also from Ukraine is Ludy Dobri:

Along with some more local bands, here is Zrada from Winnipeg:


What I didn’t like

First it’s important to understand what the Ukrainian Festival is all about:

Festival Objectives:

    • Promote and foster Ukrainian culture and traditions as integral elements of Canada’s multicultural mosaic;
    • Provide a venue for Canadians of Ukrainian heritage to reacquaint themselves with their rich roots;
    • Introduce Ukrainian culture to the general Canadian public and tourists thereby encouraging tolerance, understanding and goodwill between all segments of Canadian society;
    • Create a free event that’s fun for the whole family and across all age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds

    Ukrainian language, please!

    Looking through their Event Info, I was shocked to find this gaffe (and it’s not the ‘ceremony’ typo): image

We’ve been through this before, so we’re not sure why despite our objections they continue to call the Ukrainian capital in Russian.

Our flag only too


For some reason at the Taekwondo area- beyond the Canadian flag, the Ukrainian flag and the South Korean flag there was also the Polish flag. There has been a separate Polish festival going on for 5 years now in Toronto, competing with the Ukrainian festival by choosing to host it on the same weekend every year for some reason.

Anyone remember the parade marshal?

Unlike previous marshals like Randy Bachman and Gerrard Kennedy, there was little buzz for this year’s James Temerty who helped bring relics of ancient Scythian and Trypillian cultures to Toronto from Ukraine.

Clue in the MC’s

image This was especially notable Friday, but some MC’s weren’t doing a very good job. Some lacked enthusiasm and didn’t read their lines very well. We even heard a few times the contest for free tickets to Kyiv be announced as tickets to Lviv.

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