Members of Provincial Parliament from the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP made into law September 7th as Ukrainian Heritage Day in Ontario, in honour of the 120th anniversary of Vasyl Eleniak and Ivan Pylypiw – the first Ukrainian immigrants to Canada in 1891. There are now over 360,000 Ukrainian Canadians in Ontario, over 1.2 million in all of Canada:
A private member’s bill introduced by Cambridge MPP Gerry Martiniuk has been passed into law. The bill proposed that Sept. 7 be proclaimed as Ukrainian Heritage Day.
Bill 155, An Act to proclaim Ukrainian Heritage Day, was co-sponsored by Donna Cansfield, MPP for Etobicoke Centre, and Cheri DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale-High Park. It got unanimous support from all members present in the legislature.
In prefacing his remarks in Parliament, Martiniuk dedicated the bill to his parents Timko and Helen Martiniuk.
“My mother was born here, but my father moved here and became a Canadian citizen. Both were very proud of their Ukrainian heritage,” he said.
The first official Ukrainian immigrants arrived in Canada on Sept. 7, 1891. Today, Ontario is home to more than 336,000 Ukrainian Canadians.
You can read the entire bill here:
Bill 155 2011
An Act to proclaim Ukrainian Heritage Day
The first official Ukrainian immigrants, Vasyl Eleniak and Ivan Pylypiw, arrived in Canada on September 7, 1891. Soon afterwards, Ukrainian immigrants began arriving in Ontario in larger numbers and today Ontario is home to more than 336,000 Ukrainian Canadians. There are over 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian descent across the country.
Many Ukrainians fled their homeland to find freedom from oppression and a better life in Canada. Both Ontario and Canada, by way of the Holodomor Memorial Day Act, 2009 and the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day Act (Canada), have recognized the genocide by famine that occurred in Ukraine from 1932 to 1933 under the Soviet Communist regime of Joseph Stalin. On August 24, 1991, the Ukrainian parliament declared Ukraine as an independent democratic state from the Soviet Union. Canada was the first nation in the Western world to recognize Ukraine’s independence.
Ontarians of Ukrainian descent have left and continue to leave a historic mark on our province. Their contributions span communities across Ontario and are reflected in our economic, political, social and cultural life. Ukrainian Canadians have played an important role in the development of Ontario into one of the most desirable places in the world to live and have contributed to making Canada the great country that it is today. It is important to recognize and celebrate these contributions.
Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
Ukrainian Heritage Day
1. September 7 in each year is proclaimed as Ukrainian Heritage Day.
2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
3. The short title of this Act is the Ukrainian Heritage Day Act, 2011.