Category Archives: tv

CBC’s getting a little Ukrainian!

The good old CBC, our national public broadcaster. While it’s under constant attack from the right (for the benefit of its rival Quebecor and Sun News over French-language markets and beyond), it’s one of our only real Canadian culture outlets (when was the last time the private TV networks like Global or CTV aired a Canadian show in prime time?). In parliament and editorials on TV and radio, all you hear about the CBC is what a drain of tax payers money it is and the scary ‘1 Billion dollars’ it commands. But in reality that investment almost quadruples what it puts back into our economy and only costs Canadians $34 a year – a fraction of what other public broadcasters such as in Britain or Australia cost. Luckily the majority of Canadians favour the CBC, and it has been charging ahead into the digital realm even in the face of drastic budget cutbacks from the Harper government.

Today CBC launched its new free digital music service that allows users to listen, share and purchase Canadian music. Browsing through, I was happy to see artists from its youth/alternative online station Radio 3 – which includes up and coming Ukrainian bands sicj as Ukrainia, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Klooch and Zirka. And for all the readers of my site, I’ve compiled a list of their songs on one convenient playlist! I hope you enjoy it 😉

For those with the specialty TV channel CBC Bold, it has picked up a show that ran multiple years on the Natives’  APTN network called ‘Mixed Blessings‘. It’s about a Ukrainian man marrying a Cree woman and having their families live under the same roof a-la the Brady Bunch but in Fort Mac, Alberta. The show airs a few times a day except for Tuesdays and Friday.

If you get a chance, do give these a try and let me know what you think about them in the comments 🙂

Edit: Since I’m posting about the CBC, perhaps you would like to know if any of the staff are Ukrainian… well some are!

The above picture of the varenyky done up as the CBC logo is courtesy of radio host and producer David Shumka.

If you ever watched the show Being Erica that wrapped up this winter, you’d be happy to know the lovely star Erica Karpluk is of Ukrainian descent. The show, while not currently airing on TV right now can be seen on its CBC page as well as on NetFlix (which is an awesome service that you should definitely try!).

And if you’re into cooking, the host of Best Recipes Ever, Kelly Osmond is also of Ukrainian descent. Her parents owned a Ukrainian deli and catering business in Mississauga


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


Weekend watching: Holodomor featured on UK game show

The Gareth Jones memorial website run by his great nephew Nigel Colley posted a clip last week from a popular game show University Challenge last week that asked participants “killed in 1935, the Welsh journalist Gareth Jones was posthumously awarded which country’s medal of freedom award in 2008 for his efforts in publicizing the Holodomor, a famine of 1932 and 33 during which several millions died as a result of policies instituted by Stalin”


Unfortunately no one got the answer correct. Laughably upon hearing the word ‘Stalin’ one participant quickly buzzed in his answer of ‘Russia’, but I don’t think there is a single case of Russia awarding anyone any sort of decree for their work denouncing Stalin – especially since Russian schools are now being equipped with new textbooks justifying his millions of murders and praising the dictator.


Ukrainian-born Torontonian on ‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada’ (Update: now there’s two!)

Update: Denys has won the contest!

image If you’re watching this season of ‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada’, one of their competitors is a Ukrainian from Toronto:

Born in the Ukraine, Denys first started dancing ballroom at four–years-old. He moved to Toronto when he was 12, and by the time he was 14, he was back in Europe studying and training in Berlin. At 19, Denys was enrolled at the prestigious arts school, Juilliard in New York City. Upon graduation, Denys continued with a Masters Program in Dance Education at New York University.

You can watch his amazing audition that got him to the show:

Ukrainian born Denys Drozdyuk said it was a combination of hard work and good luck that helped him make it into the Top 22 of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA Season 3. He is grateful for the opportunity to show Canada who he is and says the competition has already improved his overall outlook. "The competition thus far has taught me that no matter what the circumstances, I must always stay professional and dedicated to what I do. No matter how I feel, I still need to perform my job 110%."

Read the rest of his bio and follow him on Facebook

Update: A reader pointed out there’s a second Ukrainian dancer this season from Edmonton Jeff Mortensen:

Continue reading Ukrainian-born Torontonian on ‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada’ (Update: now there’s two!)