Legendary Guess Who lead guitaristÂ Randy Bachman will be the parade marshal for this years Toronto Ukrainian Festival (formerly Bloor West Village Ukrainian Festival) September 12 – 14.
Bachman recently learned a lot about his Ukrainian ancestry from the CBC hertiage series Â´Who do you think you areÂ´:
Randy visits geographer John Lehr from the University of Winnipeg, a specialist in Ukrainian immigration to Manitoba, to find out more about the Steckos’ arrival in Canada. The Steckos landed in North America in 1907, and like many Eastern European immigrants, they came through Ellis Island in New York and then journeyed by train to Winnipeg. They were part of a massive wave of immigrants from the Western Ukrainian province of Galicia, then part of Austria. From 1889 to the start of WWI, 180,000 Ukrainians settled on Western Canadian farmlands. For most, poverty and illiteracy made life extremely difficult. Not only were they granted some of the worst land in the region, but they also faced hostility from Canadians. Booklets were produced to help Ukrainians integrate into Canadian culture. But despite their efforts, the new Canadians experienced rampant discrimination. John Lehr shows Randy newspaper editorials denouncing Ukrainian settlers as “ignorant paupers” who were a “curse rather than a blessing to the country”. Randy is moved by the hardships his ancestors endured.