Monument to the Ukrainian Pioneers
This was the first project of the Ukrainian Pioneers’ Association, honouring the founding families of Ukrainian settlements in Alberta. It was a major undertaking which was first mentioned as an “idea” in the Association’s meeting minutes on January 13, 1943.
In 1953, the Association started sending letters, first to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company requesting a plot of land at “an historic spot” on which a monument would be erected. This matter was not successfully concluded. In 1954, this proposal was thoroughly discussed at a general meeting of the Association. However, it was not until the general meeting on May 26, 1957 that this matter was brought up again and things started to happen.
This time a motion was tabled “to take immediate action” which was put forward by P. Wasylyshyn and K. Slipchuk. As evidence of good faith, each donated $10.00. Then four more members donated $10.00 each. This followed with more donations! In the interim (1952 to 1962) the Executive of the Association carried on a campaign to collect funds for the monument, largely at the “Ukrainian Pioneers Day” at Elk Island Park and at the Annual Pioneers Banquet. The turning point in the campaign was the speech of D. Yanda, given at one of the banquets on why a monument is necessary.
The unveiling of the monument took place on Sunday, August 18, 1963 in the afternoon at the Elk Island Park. It was attended by several thousand people. Among those present were the oldest Ukrainian pioneers and the two Ukrainian church dignitaries blessed the monument. There were numerous guest speakers followed by an outdoor concert with several choirs and dancing groups, and an address and greetings by Prime Minister Pearson.
T. Tomashewsky, then Secretary of the Association stated, “it was the largest rally of Ukrainians in the history of Ukrainian settlement in Alberta”. This marked the 75th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Alberta.
Source: Ukrainian Pioneers of Alberta, 1970