Ukrainian Independence Day Commemorations in Canada
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August 29, 2023

Ukrainian Independence Day Commemorations in Canada

The bond between Canada and Ukraine is deeply entrenched. With already over 1.36 million Canadian people of Ukrainian heritage and over 170,000 newly arrived Ukrainians, the unity between the two countries will only grow stronger. From the first documented Ukrainian settlers who arrived in Canada in 1891 to the current wave of new immigrants fleeing the war, Canada is home to an increasing number of fiercely proud people who stand with Ukraine to ensure its independence and democratic freedom. 

On December 2, 1991, Canada became the first Western country to recognize Ukraine's independence. This year’s celebration of Ukraine’s Independence Day demonstrates Canada’s enduring commitment to Ukraine’s independence. From coast to coast, Canadians are marking 32 years of Ukrainian independence with over 40 different events, festivals and commemorations. Every province is holding special celebrations and tributes for Ukraine’s independence during this difficult time, not only to unite communities to stand for the rights of freedom and democracy but also to secure Ukraine’s and Europe’s sovereignty.

Festivities at the Ukrainian Independence Day at Centennial Park, Toronto
Festivities at the Ukrainian Independence Day at Centennial Park, Toronto – August 19, 2023. Photo: O.Veryha

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress, which represents the Ukrainian-Canadian community, organized events to mark Ukrainian Independence Day across all provinces, from British Columbia to Newfoundland/Labrador for the week of August 19-26, starting with a grand celebration at Centennial Park in Toronto with ongoing flag-raising events and celebrations culminating in events on Saturday, August 26. 

Ukrainian Canadian Congress banner due to Ukrainian Independence Day
I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Ukrainian Independence Day in Toronto, which showcased an amazing array of talent in music, dance, and poetry by artists from Ukraine and Canada. The event was hugely popular, with many kiosks selling tasty Ukrainian cuisine and goods. As much as I enjoyed the festivities, my main goal was to gauge the degree of political support for Ukraine and the commitment of government officials to do whatever it takes for Ukraine’s victory and ensure Russia pays for its terrorist acts.
Greetings at the Ukrainian Independence Day
Greetings at the Ukrainian Independence Day – August 19, 2023. Photo: O.Veryha

Across the various political, municipal, provincial, and national levels, including the leaders of the opposition parties (how lucky we are in the free world to have opposition leaders), the commitment to Ukraine was firm. According to the current national government records, Canada has: 

A CC-117 Globemaster aircraft arrives at Lviv Airport, Ukraine on February 22, 2022, carrying lethal military equipment provided to the Ukrainian Security Forces to help them defend against threats. Photo: Canadian Armed Forces.
A CC-117 Globemaster aircraft arrives at Lviv Airport, Ukraine on February 22, 2022, carrying lethal military equipment provided to the Ukrainian Security Forces to help them defend against threats. Photo: Canadian Armed Forces.

The Canadian commitment to Ukraine is strong. The goal is to stand with Ukraine until victory, when complete independence from the Russian dictatorship will be secured and Ukraine will become a member of NATO. We in the diaspora must continue to press our elected officials to keep Ukraine at the forefront of humanitarian and military support to ensure that sovereignty and democracy are protected. The Russian invasion and continued criminal and terrorist acts committed are not just an Eastern European issue but a global concern for the free world to ensure fundamental rights, freedom and security.

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