The New Old Country

Ukrainian tastes and traditions in Toronto through the decades

1930: Members of a Ukrainian choir prepare to perform in Toronto. The city’s Ukrainian associations, clubs and benefit societies date back to 1906.

Photographs: top and above from the City of Toronto Archives

1954: Ukrainians congregated in a handful of west-end neighbourhoods—the Junction, Queen and Bathurst, Roncesvalles—before settling in Bloor West Village, which remains the heart of the community.

Photograph from the Toronto Star

1969: Maria Hlushko, 22, wins the Miss Canada title at Toronto’s Metro International Caravan. The festival, founded by Ukrainian-Canadian Leon Kossar in 1964, celebrated immigrant culture in the city.

Photograph from the Toronto Star

1975: A high-flying Ukrainian dance ensemble at the Metro International Caravan, which ran until 2004.

Photograph from the Toronto Star

1981: Prominent Ukrainian-Canadians Marge Hunchik, Sophia Romanko and Michael Mutzk gather next to a statue of artist and poet Taras Shevchenko in Oakville to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Ukrainians’ arrival in Canada. It all started when two young farmers came over in 1891 in search of free, fertile land. Their messages home led to the migration of many more Ukrainians.

Photograph from the Toronto Star

1984: Steve Mociak tends to the sausages at his popular deli, Durie Meat Products, one of many Ukrainian-owned shops that dotted Bloor West.

Photograph from the Toronto Star

1986: An eight-year-old girl named Mindy Semkiw celebrates Ukrainian Christmas in Toronto with the season’s must-have gift, a Cabbage Patch Kids doll.

Photograph by John Thompson

1989: The Runnymede Theatre, also known as the Runny, opened in 1927 and played an integral role in the social life of Bloor West Village for decades. Today, the building is a Shoppers Drug Mart.

Photograph from the Toronto Star

1994: Four children decorating pysansky, traditional Ukrainian eggs, during the Easter weekend.

Big Heart, Little Ukraine