Chair: Jars Balan – University of Alberta

 Lesia Savedchuk – Mykola Woron Library and Archives, Calgary 

Lesia Savedchuk is a writer, storyteller and cultural animator who lives in Calgary. She is the author of 19 Ukrainian-language books for young children (the ‘Dzvin readers’) and has just self-published Futbolni Detektyvy, a young adult novel. Lesia has recently, along with Arkadij Chumak, taken on the modernization of the Woron Library and Archives. Although she is not a professional librarian, she hopes that as a lover/collector of books and an experienced administrator, she will be up to the job.


Almost 60 years ago, two bookshelves were constructed in the basement of St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Calgary and a young man named Mykola Woron began filling them with books, some brought from a library which he had organized in the Displaced Person Camp in Hanau, Germany.

From such humble beginnings grew one of the largest Ukrainian community libraries in Canada – the Mykola Woron Library and Archives, which today overflows with almost 16,000 neatly stacked accessioned books,  approximately 150 linear feet of small format periodicals, 380 videos, a small room full of newspapers, as well as drawers and boxes full of archives. Once a bustling institution, it now sits mostly locked and inaccessible.

With Mykola Woron now in his nineties and no longer able to take care of the baby which he nurtured for so many years, a couple of individuals took upon themselves the task of again making this rich resource accessible and bringing the library into the 21st century. This presentation will include a short history of the Woron Library and Archives and a general listing of its holdings and special collections, but will focus mostly on detailing from a practical point of view our present attempt at creating an online public access catalogue. Details will include decisions about OPAC platforms, volunteer and paid manpower, budgeting, hardware acquisition, process planning and other practical considerations. A prime consideration in all these decisions and activities: who will use these materials and for what purpose – a question which all libraries – and particularly Ukrainian community libraries – are now facing.

Winston Gereluk – Ukrainian Cultural Centre

In 2007 – 2011, as Project Director for the Alberta Federation of Labour’s Centennial preparations, I oversaw and contributed to the production of Working People in Alberta: A History. It was later noted that this book gave only passing mention to workers of Ukrainian descent, in spite of the fact that they formed a significant segment of the labour force in this province’s history. It was then that discussions were held with the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies and the Alberta Ukrainian Heritage Foundation about the possibility of producing a labour history featuring Ukrainian workers in Alberta, and I agreed to undertake research towards this end. It has been a journey of discovery for me and it taught me much about my history as a Ukrainian Canadian. I will present some theoretical and practical issues affecting the nature and quality of labour history and industrial relations scholarship in general that I have discovered. I will discuss the following: (1) the nature and focus of labour history and the need for sources that reveal its place in Ukrainian Canadian history; (2) difficulties encountered in researching the realities of work and life for ‘ordinary’ working people; (3) insufficient attention to ethnicity in labour history and industrial relations scholarship, and its implications for library and archival collections; (4) the need for more access to resources that reveal the extent to which the state has been willing to curtail civil rights and liberties of working people, particularly minorities; and (5) the need for resources that reveal the nature of official immigration policy as mainly labour policy (in effect, trafficking in human labour).

My research brings to the fore a ‘looking-glass’ metaphor to illustrate the fundamental role history plays in shaping both personal and social identity, and how working class Ukrainian Canadians have been largely denied their place in this regard. I will use parallels in Canadian history to show how working people have been treated as an ‘inferior segment’ of society with no identity worthwhile researching. I will also describe a lack of resources and support for study of the history of working people I have encountered, and argue that, when public policy denies archives and museums the resources and support they need, it effectively operates – in a quiet, insidious way – to undermine the place of all Canada’s people in history.


Winston Gereluk is a part-time Research Associate at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS), who researches the labour history of Ukrainian Canadians in Alberta; he has worked for the Alberta Federation of Labour and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees in Canada in the areas of research, education and public relations for over 25 years. He has served as an Academic Coordinator for Industrial Relations & Human Resources programs at the Athabasca University, worked as an instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta, and as a professional officer in Manitoba’s Department of Education. He is a member of the executive council of Branch #2 of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians, as well as the Board of the Alberta Ukrainian Heritage Foundation.

Andriy Sawchuk – Independent researcher

Andriy Sawchuk is originally from St. Catharines, but has lived for the past fourteen years in the nation’s capital, Ottawa. He has been active in the Ukrainian community since childhood and has always had an interest in Ukrainian and Canadian history. His academic background includes a BA in Art History and Archaeology (Brock University 1993) and a MA in Art History and Museum Studies (State University of New York at Buffalo 1998). Andriy has worked at Niagara Falls Art Gallery, Kurelek collection, as well as other museums and galleries in the US and in Canada. He has taught English in Taiwan for three years and worked for the Federal government for 9 years. More recently, he went on several missions of election observing in Ukraine and Moldova. His latest stint was working on a contract with Library and Archives Canada, processing the Ukrainian Canadian Committee fonds. He will be telling you about his experiences with this collection


Starting late last summer, I had the privilege of processing papers, booklets, notes, letters and photographs from the Ukrainian Canadian Committee fonds between the years 1939 to 1987. This material was safeguarded in almost 280 bankers’ boxes located in the vaults of Library and Archives Canada in Gatineau, Quebec since 2005.

My job was to process and organize all the contents into acid-free folders, then file them into archival boxes and finally prepare the finding aids so that they would be one step closer in being available to the outside world. The papers were very well organized when LAC received them over a decade ago. Aside from detailed budgets, work plans, meeting minutes, receipts and correspondence, this collection contains countless gems that can further illuminate how the Ukrainian community functioned and morphed over the years in Canada and abroad and also how other Ukrainian-Canadian organizations interacted with this organization.

This collection is jam packed with such gems as handwritten letters from the DP camps right after WWII to how the Dauphin Festival was started to full texts of Radio Canada International Ukrainian Service. Whichever topics a researcher is focusing their papers on, military, religious, economic, political, this collection has it all. Researchers can supplement any Ukrainian-Canadian academic project they are working on with this collection since UCC was and is the umbrella organization of the initial 5 members to the 30 odd organizations.

I will discuss my experiences in working with this collection over the last few months and will highlight some of the more fascinating items that I was able to find in this treasure trove.