All posts by anna

The eldest Canadians are still Ukrainians


On January 25th the eldest Canadian who was of Ukrainian descent passed away:

A Manitoba woman believed to be the oldest Canadian has died at age 111.

Elizabeth Buhler, who died Sunday in Winkler, Man., would have turned 112 in February.

She was born Feb. 8, 1899, in Ukraine and moved to Canada with her husband in 1925.

Buhler’s daughter, Justina Suderman, said her mother kept a positive attitude, despite enduring hard times in the former Russian empire and farming during the Great Depression.

Buhler’s religious faith and regular exercise were the keys to her longevity, said Suderman, also noting her mother ate whatever she wanted and was fond of cooking with lard.

Read the CBC article

The following is a tribute to her from Parliament:


Buhler’s age cannot be verified because her family says all birth records were destroyed during the years Josef Stalin was leader of the Soviet Union. But the family says Buhler always said she was born in Ukraine on Feb. 8, 1899.

She was just weeks shy of giving birth to her first child, Isaac, when she and her husband, who she married on Sept. 7, 1924 in Russia, her parents and several other family members, uprooted and left for a new life in Canada in 1925.

Buhler’s secret to longevity?

"Exercise," said her 80-year-old daughter, Lena Pranke, noting her mother had several plaques recognizing she’d been the oldest participant in a fundraiser involving a 10- kilometre walk.

"And good solid food," her 76-year-old daughter, Mary Dyck, said. "Her faith in God has been there all along."

Buhler had a hard life on their farm south of Winkler near the American border, which she left with her husband in 1956, to allow their son to work it. They raised a son and five daughters on the farm and the couple moved to a house in Winkler where they took in boarders. Her husband died at 69.

"They were married 43 years so she has been a widow almost as long as she was married," her 74-year-old daughter, Justina Suderman, the baby in the family, said.

Today, when she has a good day in the Salem Home where she lives, Buhler can sing hymns she learned as a child, laugh, and have conversations with people. Recently, she insisted that she wanted to remarry, but the family talked her out of it, noting there were no males in the seniors’ residence old enough for her without robbing the cradle.

On a not-so-good day, Buhler is hard to wake up and difficult to get a response from.

There were times when Buhler might not have come anywhere close to living to 111.

The first time was during the Russian Revolution when anarchists came intent on pillaging her house and killing the family. Buhler, whose maiden name was Unger, picked up a guitar and began singing until the commander ordered his men to leave and not steal anything.

The next time was when she was giving birth to her final child. The baby turned out to be a breech birth and, even though she was in a hospital for the first time, the family says because the nurse was out on a date and the doctor wasn’t around, the baby died, nearly taking Buhler with him.

Read the Winnipeg Free Press Article

So who’s the next eldest, why another Ukrainian of course!

The oldest living person is now another Ukraine-born woman, Pearl Lutzko, who lives in Saskatchewan. She was born Feb. 15, 1899.

Ukrainian Denys Drozdyuk wins ‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada’ (with video)

Last night was the finale of ‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada’ which featured two Ukrainians in the top four. In the end there could only be one winner and former Shumka dance Denys Drozdyuk took home the top prize:

In the end, it was the Ukrainian from Toronto rather than the Ukrainian from Edmonton who won the title of Canada’s Favourite Dancer in Season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. After tabulating more than 1.5 million votes from across Canada, Denys Drozdyuk was declared the winner Sunday night. Edmonton’s Jeff Mortensen came third.


Earlier this week, the 22-year-old told his mother Susan he felt he had already won. She was in the Toronto studio for the live finale, as was his dad Finn and a handful of other family members. Dozens of family and friends descended on a northwest Edmonton restaurant to watch it all unfold on TV, and to celebrate what has been an incredible journey for the one-time Shumka Dancer, who last season never made it past the Top 40 of the popular show.


Mortensen said he remembered watching the first season of the American version of the show while he was still with Shumka, the venerable Edmonton Ukrainian dance troupe. At the time, he says, he had never taken a class in ballet, or jazz or hip-hop.

“But I thought to myself: ‘You could do that,’” recalls Mortensen.

He could, and he did.

Read the rest of the article

You can watch the final moments below:


Update: CTV has also released a video of the finale

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to arrive in Ukraine on Monday

Update: Harper arrived Monday and asked Yanukovych some serious questions! 

The Canadian government has announced that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will travel to Ukraine from October 25 to 26:

The Prime Minister will also travel to Ukraine at the invitation of President Viktor Yanukovych.  “I look forward to my meetings with President Yanukovych and others, and to gaining a better understanding of Ukraine, the ancestral homeland of so many Canadians, with its unique society and culture.”

But the UCC warns that Ukraine has strayed from many democratic goals since President Yanukovych took over:

"Recent steps taken by Ukraine’s political leadership have seriously undermined the country’s constitution, its democratic institutions, the protection of its historical memory and national identity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. A continued deterioration of human and political rights in Ukraine, the weakening of its national sovereignty will have serious implications in the region and beyond. Any relations between Canada and Ukraine must be founded on the principles contained in the bilateral agreement signed in September 2009 "Priorities for Canada-Ukraine Relations – Road Map" including the provisions on democracy, human rights and the protection of Ukraine’s political sovereignty and territorial integrity. Canada’s leadership is critical in ensuring peace, prosperity, and that Ukraine will be able to pursue a fully independent, democratic and dignified existence," stated Grod.


"In the current context, with signs that Ukraine’s language, history, and national identity are being threatened amid media reports indicating that the rule of law and democratic freedoms such as freedom of the press, assembly and speech are being stifled, it is important that these issues be raised at the most senior levels," stated Grod. "Canada has an opportunity to take a leadership position in response to this situation. Canada is widely respected in Ukraine as a model for democratic values and as a civil society, for its economic and social development, and its long-term support for Ukraine."

The last PM to visit Ukraine was Jean Chretien in 1999 and the latest representative was Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada.

Ukrainian Canadian politician Vera Danyluk passes away

MONTREAL – She was a small-town mayor who reached the top of local municipal politics but never seemed overawed by any of it. She contemplated the idea of entering provincial politics, but decided against it after her husband worried the National Assembly in Quebec City would too often keep her away from their home in Town of Mount Royal.

Vera Danyluk, mother, community volunteer, mayor and former head of the Montreal Urban Community, died yesterday at the Montreal General Hospital after a battle with an illness described by city officials as "a very rare disorder."

Danyluk, 66, was surrounded by family in her hospital room when she died.


Trent said Danyluk "was an extremely important role model for women," referring to her assuming the reins of the MUC at a time when women in politics were a rarity.

"She showed that if you’re going to be in municipal politics, you can do it with probity, with a sense of ethics, a sense of responsibility and you can work very hard.

"She almost single-handedly helped to raise the public opinion of municipal politicians in the Montreal area."

In a communique made public in the hours after her death, Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, on his way to Rome to attend the canonization of Brother André, described Danyluk as "an exceptionally talented woman who was a great source of inspiration for all those who made a choice to enter municipal politics. We’ve lost an exceptional woman who dedicated her life to public service."


Danyluk was a critic of forced municipal mergers carried out at the start of the decade, but her support of decentralization wasn’t limited to municipal administration. In the 1970s, not yet involved in politics, she co-founded the Women’s Committee on Public Safety after the attempted rape of an adolescent girl in T.M.R. That group called for a demerger of the Montreal Urban Community’s island-wide police, placing public security back in the hands of municipalities.

Elected chairperson of the Suburban Mayors’ Conference of Montreal in 1992, two years later she experienced what might be considered the greatest irony of her political career: After spending more than a decade criticizing the MUC, Danyluk, then 49, was named its chairperson, responsible for a budget of $1.2 billion and the 15,000 employees who provided the region’s public security and transit, restaurant and food inspection, water purification, air pollution monitoring and emergency co-ordination services.

Montreal Gazette [thanks Ukemonde]