Category Archives: Settlers

Teach Me to Dance

This is an amazing short film from the National Film Board.  It shows the prejudiced attitude toward the Ukrainian pioneers by the English establishment. Worth showing everywhere.

In this drama, Lesia convinces her English-Canadian friend Sarah to perform a Ukrainian dance with her as part of their school’s Christmas pageant. Sarah’s father, angry at the growing number of Ukrainian settlers, won’t allow his daughter to participate. Despite the prejudices of their parents, the girls’ friendship remains strong, and they meet in Sarah’s barn to celebrate Christmas Day together. Part of the Adventures in History series.

What Was That Name Again?

By: Orysia Tracz
Your great-grandfather came to Manitoba as a pioneer from Ukraine in the 1890s. His last name was Yashchyshyn (or, as it said on his emigration papers, Jaszczyszyn). Your surname is Yashyn, your uncle’s is Shyn, and your other uncle’s is Yash. You’re all one family. How did that happen?

The Ukrainians who began arriving in Manitoba 120 years ago had many hardships and hurdles to overcome. Adapting to and integrating into the predominantly English milieu was difficult, to say the least. Their language and even surnames were not welcome (the pressure on names lasted well into the mid-20th century). While most kept and treasured both, some tried to assimilate by changing or modifying their last names. For this reason, while many Ukrainian names are immediately recognizable, there are very many “secret” Manitobans of Ukrainian descent out there, and even they may not know the story of their early ancestors in this province.



Immigrants from Ukraine who arrived a century ago found that along with learning how to live in a new land, they would have to learn to live with a new name. Continue reading

1897 Letter Praising the Galician Settlers

What follows is a letter to the “Manitoba Morning Free Press” from an employer praising the Galician settlers. This is an open letter to Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior

Tuesday, August 3, l897


A good deal has been said throwing doubt upon the value of the Galician immigrants who have come into Manitoba this season. Undesirable indivi­duals are inevitable in any large body of immigrants but from the testimony given below there is every reason to anticipate that these will prove an industrious and Continue reading

Ukrainian Settlement in Toronto, 1903-14

By Zoriana Sokolsky

 The arrival in Toronto of twenty-three-year-old Panteleymon (Peter) Ostapowich with his two friends, Wasyi Neterpka and Joseph Strachalsky, on April 15, 1903, marked the beginning of the Ukrainian settlement here. Born in East Galicia (West Ukraine), they first immigrated to the eastern United States and then from the coal mines of Pennsylvania came on to Toronto in search of work, as many other Ukrainians were later to do. Walking along the commercial streets of Spadina and Queen and wondering what to do next, they were overheard by a Galician Jew who was distributing bread from his horse-drawn carriage. The good man brought them to his bakery on York Street and   after feeding them and giving each a loaf of bread took them to his friend’s house at 49 Continue reading


Manitoba Morning Free Press Friday, July 23, 1897

The letter of Dr. Joseph Oleskiw, published in another column places the situation of the immigrants from Galicia to this country in a serious light. Surely Dr. Oleskow is not in a position to be mistaken when he describes those who have come, as a class, as in a state of utmost po­verty, dirty and destitute. Some, it is well known, are not without means. Winnipeg merchants may have sold greater or smaller quantities of goods; but they have not said much about it, the volume of trade has not been perceptibly affected. To dealers in one of two small Continue reading