Saskatchewan History Album

Personal and Community Stories from across our province.

Search results: "Ituna"

Ituna, Town of

Home Town or Home Community:


Our Story:



The Early Years

The story of the Town of Ituna began with the first wave of European settlers who arrived in 1905. Before this time the area was inhabited by a few Indians, Metis and a very few settlers who had arrived in the 1880’s and 1890’s. The land was relatively untouched and the first settlers to arrive in 1905 saw before them wide, unbroken prairies, slightly rolling hills and bluffs of trees and a pretty little lake nestled among poplar trees.

In 1905, the promise of 160 acres of land for $10 and the dream of a new start brought English, Irish and Scottish immigrants, most of them bachelors. Each parcel of land purchased carried with it the agreement to clear 10 acres of land and to build a home upon that land within 10 years. The abundance of trees would provide logs for these homes and for heating as well, while the rich soil was used for sod roofs and also ensured production of crops.

Ituna Lake

Ituna Lake

In 1905 as well, construction had begun on the Grand Trunk Railway and in 1907, the Railway reached the lake on the east edge of Ituna. The Railway was a huge advantage to the growing community and in 1907 and 1908, it brought a large number of settlers of Ukrainian decent whose traditions and customs are an important part of the Ituna community today.

Seeing possibilities for a new community, Mr. R.T. Grant, who had lived in the area for a time and operated a store seven miles south-west of the present community, purchased 40 acres of land immediately south of the rail line and subdivided it into lots. Here he built a large store. A livery business was begun by George Davey, a restaurant by Bert Chorney and an implement business was also begun. In 1908, William Scott constructed the first grain elevator, anticipating the need for storage and shipment of grain by rail.

There was disagreement, however, on where the town should actually be located. Mr. T. G. Morrison, who had been a rancher in the area for many years and had encouraged settlers to the area, thought that the town site should be located on the north side of the rail line. He began construction of a hardware store on the north side which was followed by the post office. The restaurant relocated from the south side to the north and other businesses followed. Today, the town lies on both sides of the rail line, with businesses being located predominantly on the north side.

Ituna was incorporated as a village on May 30, 1910, its unique name originating from a combination of the desire of the Grand Trunk Railway to name all its towns in alphabetical order and ancient history. Since the preceding towns were Fenwood, Goodeve and Hubbard, the town needed a name beginning with “I”. “Ituna” was chosen, the name of a location at the end of Hadrian’s Wall, which was built by the Roman Empire in 12 A.D. Mr. F.S. Carson became the first overseer.

Ituna continued to thrive as a bustling prairie community. Homes sprang up within the progressive community. Rather than install boardwalks as were most common in communities of the time, cement sidewalks were poured and gravel streets and roads were added. Another elevator was built to service the needs of the growing agricultural area. The Lake became a recreational area in the summer, offering swimming, boating, canoeing, fishing and tennis courts and it was the home of many Sports Days.

Main Street, Ituna

Main Street, Ituna

The following businesses and services were operational in Ituna during these years and were noted in a listing of local business advertisements in 1914:

Carson, Morrison & Watson – hardware and furniture, farm implements, real estate, loans and insurance.

Parmiter and Veals, Ituna Store – dealer in fancy and simple dry goods, boots, shoes, groceries, crockery, flour and feed.

D.R. Ballock – Constructor in cement work, particularly sidewalks and basements

T.P. Jenner – builder and constructor

  1. Carriere – butcher, dealer in hides, furs, livestock, hams and bacon, poultry and fish
  2. Gurevisch – Ituna Farmer’s Friend Store -general merchant, dealer in dry goods, boots and shoes

Post Office – S.A. Veals – issuer of marriage and games licenses, stationery, novelties and school supplies, medical instruments, photographs, pictures – Framer’s Co-operative Fire Insurance

The Bank of British North America – J. A Watson, Manager

The Carlton Hotel – new and up – to date, hot air furnace, all trains met, $1.50 per day T.P. Jennner, Proprietor

Ituna Livery, Feed and Sale – good horses and reasonable rates to all points. Licenses, auctioneer, G.W. Davey, Proprietor

F.X. Poitras – general merchant, dry goods, clothes, gent’s furnishings, boots and shoes, crockery, harness and hardware

  1. Pilcha – pool room, barber shop, cigars and soft drinks

Reliance Lumber Company – dry lumber and building material – W.N. McIntosh, manager

J.W. Hudson – notary public, quarter sections suitable for investment from $1000

Mrs. McCullough _ drugstore

Several original but renovated buildings housing businesses in those early years remain in Ituna today. A flour mill, located behind the present Parkland Distributors was dismantled and rebuilt. It housed a brick factory and later F&W Service as well as a beauty shop on the upper floor. Today it is Parkland Distributors.

The Royal Bank now occupies the lot where the Carlton Hotel, destroyed by fire in 1926, once stood. The Carlton Hotel was a beautiful 40 room accommodation.

Sametz Pharmacy now occupies the building once known as the Bank of Commerce. It was at one time also the office and living quarters of Dr. Collins.

A building that was first a General Store later became a café in 1919. It had numerous owners as a café and has been the Ituna Social Club for many years.

Carson, Morrison & Watson Implement Shop and later Dan Gallant International Harvester and Chevrolet Dealership once occupied the lot where Leontowich Sales and Service has stood since 1953. The original building was lost to fire and after being rebuilt was again destroyed by fire.

The Ituna Town Office was originally Mrs. McCullough’s Drug Store. It also housed the offices of Drs. Furrel and Riddell. Later it was John Lesuik’s Drugstore, then a Red &White Store until it became a Royal Bank from 1946 to 1968 and then finally, the Ituna Town Office.

Main Street Then and Now

Main Street Then and Now

The lot now occupied by Sears and Ituna Accounting as well as Ituna News was once the site of the Post Office, a bowling alley, a Marshall Wells Store, Parkland Distributors, a flower shop and home of Ken’s Radio & TV and then private living quarters before becoming the home of its present occupants.

Parno Meats was first a Bank of British North America, then a Bank of Montreal whereupon it became a meat shop and living quarters, operating under the name of Parno Meats but with a few different owners.

The present Bailey’s Funeral Home was built as a café in 1910. It was also a tailor and shoe repair service, a butcher shop, jewelry shop and a Red & White store.

A building now owned by Ladimer Kowlachuk and until recently used for the manufacturing of flat deck trailers, was originally a store, bank, RCMP office, jail, Bill Kuz’s ShoeShop, a café, Bazuik’s Department Store and later Kowlachuk’s Clothing. Today it is the manufacturing location of Safety Bath, a walk-in bathtub.


Religion played a very important part in the lives of the early settlers. Their faith in God brought them to a new way of life and sustained them through great hardships. It is no surprise that it was of utmost importance to them to build places of worship within the community. Through the area, there were many small parishes of various faiths, places where people came to marry, baptize and bury their loved ones and to give thanks to God for guiding them through life in a new land.

The history of the Roman Catholic Church dates back to the days of the Riel rebellion, long before the community of Ituna came into being. The very first settlers who came to the area arrived in 1880 and were mostly French speaking and Catholic. A small log church was built 6 miles west of Ituna. Named St. Dolphins, approximately 35 Catholic families attended services at this church. Later, when settlers arrived from Poland and western Ukraine, they also attended this little church. In time, another church was built, three miles east of Ituna. The church was completed in 1909 and a rectory built, however, a resident pastor only lived in it for one year. Then, until 1919, the parish was served by priests from larger areas. In 1924, the St. Dolphins church was moved into Ituna and an addition was built on to it. It was renamed St. Stanislaus. In 1958, the present St. Stanislaus Church and Rectory were built, largely through volunteer labor and under the direction of Walter Mazden.

The St. Georges’s Anglican Church, built originally by Métis families and situated 4 miles south west of the village site, was moved into the village of Ituna. This is thought to be the first church built in the community of Ituna, around the year 1910. A two room vicarage was built just southeast of the Church. St. George’s Anglican Church was last used in the 1970’s. Sadly, in 2003, the church was disassembled and moved to Copper Basin, Arizona, where it was reassembled and stands today.

The original Sacred Heart Church was built in 1919 – it had earlier utilized the Ituna Hotel, after it was idled by “prohibition” in 1915. Due to financial difficulties, the church and its property was assigned to the Ukrainian Redemptorist Fathers in 1921, who have served the Church since that time. Construction of the existing monastery began in 1949. In 1952, substantial renovations were done to the interior of the church. In 1963 construction began on the existing church has a seating capacity of 600 people. The new church was officially opened April 19, 1964. More information can be found at

A renovated store, formerly the Ituna Trading Store at the south end of the town became the home of St. Ann’s orphanage in 1922. The orphanage was operated by the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate and was built to serve the physical and educational needs of orphans left parentless following the great flu epidemic of 1918. It was demolished and a new orphanage was built in 1938 on the north end of town. In 1974, St. Ann’s became the home of retired Sisters. It has since been renovated and now operates a St. Ann’s Private Care Home. In 1926, A Parish Hall was built in 1926 and it was later destroyed by fire in 1935. The Hall was rebuilt the following year and served the community until 1972 when it was enlarged. It was damaged by fire in 1985 and the present Sacred Heart Parish Centre was built in 1986. Today, the Sacred Heart Parish Centre serves as a local centre for concerts, weddings, banquets and public meetings.

Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church was built in 1924 and stands on a knoll in the southeast end of Ituna. Prior to the building of this church, services were held in homes and in the Anglican Church, which was rented for $25 a year. The present rectory was built in 1951. The bell tower was erected following World War II and in the early 1980’s the Church was renovated and made larger. The artist talents of New York artist Boris Makarenko in 1984 and again in 1986, have added much to make this a beautiful church.

Parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in need of a facility to hold meetings, purchased a building west of the present Post Office for this purpose. Later a house was used which is on the site of the present rectory. In 1962, the present Rose Garden Hall was purchased from Mr. Orest Turevych. It became a meeting place for activities of the parish as well as a facility for weddings, concerts and anniversaries. More information can be found at

The United Church held services in the Ituna Town Hall beginning in1910. Prior to 1925 when the United Church of Canada was formed, the roots of the Lakeside United Church could be found in the Presbyterian Church in Hubbard, the Methodist Church of Bon Accord and the Wyber “school” meeting. In 1938 a building was purchased and remodeled for use a church. The Lakeside United Church as it stands today was built in 1959.


As the community grew the need for a school became apparent. In March, 1909, $800.00 was borrowed for the purpose a building a schoolhouse, “FruitVale School”, which was completed in December of that year. A picture of the class of 1910 shows 32 eager students and their teacher, Miss McGee.

In 1920, due to the growing enrolment, a new school was built. This school still remains today though not in use for over 20 years. Made of brick and stone and containing 4 classrooms and a basement where classes were also held, the school was impressive in its time. The old school was moved just south of the red school and became known as the “Cottage School”.

Enrolments remained stable until after the Second War when the population again increased. By the early 1950’s it became evident that more classrooms were essential, however, it was not until 1957 that a four room high school was approved.

Further growth demanded more room and an eight room addition and an auditorium became a reality in 1959. Unfortunately, in 1959 a fire destroyed the original four room school built only 2 years previously. Classrooms were badly damaged and many records destroyed. Classes were held in locations through the community until the school was rebuilt the following spring. As rural schools closed and students from a large area were bussed into Ituna to school, more changes and additions became necessary. Additions and renovations took place in 1965 and again in 1971, when the school enrolment was over 600 students.

In 2012, while the school enrolment is 185 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, a staff of near 15 teach and 6 support staff continue to minister to the educational needs through a full program of core subjects and electives. Ituna School remains a modern, newly upgraded K-12 facility. Through the amalgamation of school divisions, Ituna School now belongs to Horizon School Division. The school offers two networked computer labs, industrial arts, home economics and science labs, library and gymnasium facilities. A wide number of extracurricular activities are also provided.

In 2001, the old gymnasium floor was replaced with a hardwood floor. More information regarding Ituna School can be found at

Town Council

Following the incorporation of Ituna as a village in 1910, a town council of three persons was established. One of the three persons was the overseer and was elected by the other two. All revenue depended entirely on taxation with no government grants being available. The Council was responsible for social aid as well as local improvements. Four public wells were provided by the town. The village also owned its own power plant until October 31, 1951 when Saskatchewan Power Commission began to supply power.

The village was responsible for fire protection which was provided by a two wheeled vehicle until 1937 when it purchased its first two man fire engine and established its own voluntary fire department. In 1953 the first fire hall was built along with a cistern for water storage. In 1962 a rural fire protection association was formed between the R.M. of Ituna Bon Accord #246, R.M. of Tullymet #216 and the Town of Ituna. A fire truck was purchased in 1974 and housed in the Town Fire Hall on Main Street, formerly a garage purchased from Matt Stecyk.

In 1911, a Town Hall was built and served the village until 1950. At that time it was demolished and the Post Office was built on the same property. The town hall then occupied the building formerly occupied by the Royal Bank. It opened at this location in October, 1951 and remains in this building to the present.

In 1962 the population of the village had grown to 860 and steps were taken to establish recognition of the community as a town. In October 1961 the village of Ituna officially became a town and the council which had until this time consisted of three councilors was increased to six councilors and a mayor. Water and sewer systems were completed in 1962 and in that same year the first paving program began. Today, Ituna can boast that almost all streets within the town are paved.

Recreation Facilities

The first town park was located in the southwest corner of the village. The fifteen acres along the lake provided swimming, boating and areas for picnicking for a growing community. Beginning in 1948, this land was sold in various parcels for the purpose building a hospital, then a school and then the skating and curling rinks. In 1966, a new area was established for the Ituna and District Regional Park in the southeast corner of Ituna. The park facilities consist of a ball diamonds and bleachers, full service campground facilities, a Junior Olympic size swimming pool, 9 hole sand green golf course and club house.

Shorney's Restaurant

Shorney’s Restaurant

A Kiddies Park established by the Ituna & District Lions Club in 1968, provides a playground and play equipment for the children of the community and is located adjacent to the Ituna and District Health care Centre.

The Ituna Millennium Park was constructed in the year 2000, largely by volunteer labour, as a joint project of the Town of Ituna, Rural Municipality of Bon Accord and the Rural Municipality of Tullymet. The park is situated on Main Street and features walkways, flowers, shrubs as well as park benches and tables where one can relax and have lunch or visit with friends. The central point of the park is a huge rock upon which the inscription reads: “This rock symbolizes the hard work and vision of the people who built this multicultural community and laid a solid foundation for future generations as we embark on the third millennium of the Christian era.”

In 1944 the community of Ituna began to raise funds for a curling rink. The building consisted of two sheets of ice and was located one block east of Main Street. A new rink followed in 1967. It housed 4 sheets of ice and was built in the northwest corner of the town. In 1980 an artificial ice plant was added. Both rinks were built largely with volunteer labor and the present rink continues to operate with this same community spirit.

Construction of the Ituna Skating Rink began in 1961. It too was funded largely by donations of money and volunteer labour and continues to operate today largely in the same way. It fueled the dreams of many a young hockey player and figure skater and was the home of the National Leafs Hockey team, a Junior “B” team that had its home in Ituna in the 1960’s.

The community has flourished due to the co-operative spirit of its residents. Among those service clubs and community organizations that have played a significant role in the development of the community are:

Sacred Heart UCWL, St. Stanislaus CWL, St. Ohla’s Ukrainian Women’s Association, Knights of Columbus, Ituna & District Recreation BoardBeaver Hills Wildlife Club, Ituna Lions, Ituna Lioness, Ituna Chamber of Commerce, Ituna Minor Sports, Ituna 4-H Club, Ituna Scouts, St. Joseph’s Homemakers Club, Ituna & District Health Care Auxiliary, Ituna Curling Club, Ituna Social Club, Klenovee Lysky Ukrainian Dance Club, Ituna Figure Skating Club, Sunshine Friendship Club,


The Town of Ituna and surrounding municipalities, the Rural Municipality of Bon Accord and the Rural Municipality of Tullymet have been largely sustained by agriculture, in the form of grain and cereal crops, livestock and hog operations.

The black soil and good moisture have lent themselves to a variety of crops. Red spring wheat, barley, oats, rye, oil seeds (canola and flax) and more recently, specialty crops such as lentils, peas and canary seed have been among those produced in the area. Beef cattle are the predominant livestock and hay production is also valuable.

A photo taken in 1926 reveals four elevators along the CNR train tracks: Union Grain Company, Saskatchewan Co-operative Elevator Company, Victoria Elevator Company and Security Elevator Company. The original Saskatchewan Wheat Pool elevator was built in 1911. It held 35,000 bushels and was operated by the Co-op Elevator Company until 1926 when it was purchased by Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. The original Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Elevator was dismantled in 1952 and a new 75,000 bushel facility was built and an equal sized annex was added in 1975. In 1993, a slip form concrete elevator with a capacity of 330,000 bushels of storage in 25 bins was constructed by J-Sons Inc., 2 miles east of Ituna.

The National Grain Company began operating in Ituna in 1923. In 1974 the company was acquired by Cargill Ltd. Due to the need for more storage a 75,000 bushel elevator was built in 1976 with an additional 10,000 bushel annex being added in 1980. In 1984, Ituna Cargill handled over one million bushels of grain.

Steam Engine Year: 2004 The Scott 25 hp steam engine was purchased in 1912 and is an Ituna landmark. The steam engine provided power to operate a threshing machine using straw for fuel and requiring 600 gallons of water. The machine kept 21 men working during the harvest season from September to December. From 1929 to 1955 the steam engine was used around the Hubbard area. It presently overlooks Main Street.

Steam Engine
Year: 2004
The Scott 25 hp steam engine was purchased in 1912 and is an Ituna landmark. The steam engine provided power to operate a threshing machine using straw for fuel and requiring 600 gallons of water. The machine kept 21 men working during the harvest season from September to December. From 1929 to 1955 the steam engine was used around the Hubbard area. It presently overlooks Main Street.

In 2004, Ituna continues to be served by these two grain companies, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and Cargill Ltd. As well, numerous trucking services are available to take products to market.

Health Care

The first hospital was located in the southwest part of the village was opened in 1949. The building was originally an “H” hut that belonged to the Canadian Air Force base in Yorkton. It was moved, renovated and made ready by Dr. Fayerman and Miss Christine Jamieson, R.N. Volunteer labour and a newly organized Hospital Ladies Aide did much to establish the hospital. This building later became the home of the library, museum, club rooms for the Knights of Columbus, Lions Clubs and Beaverhills Wildlife Club as well as public health and community college offices.

In 1969, a new hospital was built in the northeast section of the town. It closed in 1997. The 36 bed Ituna and District Pioneer Lodge was built in 1974 and operated as such until 1997 when the Ituna Hospital became a part of the Ituna and District Pioneer Lodge and became known as the Ituna and District Health Care Centre, now a part of the Sunrise Health Region.

The Present:

As Ituna approaches its 102nd birthday, it can look back with pride and ahead with anticipation of the years to come. Though the population has decreased in past, the population in the last few years is constantly increasing. The Town of Ituna remains a viable community. Neat, well cared for yards and paved streets are testimony that we care about our community. Businesses found within the town in 2012 include two financial institutions, two well supplied grocery stores, a convenience store, a movie theatre, 4 beauty salons, an auto body repair, several dealers of agricultural supplies and equipment, automotive suppliers, construction services and contractors and building suppliers, a greenhouse, grain handlers, funeral services, a motel and hotel, two insurance agencies,, a drugstore, manufacturer of a walk-in bathtub, an antique dealer, liquor store, trucking companies, website designer, craft dealers, a car wash, 4 restaurants, and a newspaper. A list of current businesses can be found on our website at [url][/url]

Services include a private care home for seniors, a playschool, an agency operating three homes and a day program for handicapped persons, a health care centre and home for senior citizens, ambulance, a public library, RCMP detachment, low rental housing, a museum, swimming pool, golf course, skateboard area, parks, churches, a centre for senior citizens, banquet and catering facilities, recycling depot, Kinsmen Handicap Van, and volunteer fire department, skating and curling arenas.

The spirit of community and co-operation that built Ituna from its early days, remains today. It is a place where you may find volunteers involved in a variety of activities, working for the betterment of the community…working in arena and curling rink kitchens, beautifying parks, and repairing and up keeping recreational buildings and facilities. On a winter’s day you may often find a perogy bee where ladies, young and old have come together to make perogies.

Ituna also remains a community where religion and culture continue to play an important role. It is a community that acknowledges the value of Christian ethics and while encompassing and respecting all cultures present within the community, Ituna has maintained its connections to Ukrainian culture and traditions.

Visit our website at where you can find further information about present day Ituna and visit our picture gallery at


Community Histories

As the 100 Years of Saskatchewan History exhibit was being developed, the following organizations, communities, and municipalities also submitted histories to be a part of the Family History Album.

Beechy, Village of
Boomtown Volunteers Association
Canadian Wheat Board
Chesterfield, R.M. of
CROS of Kenaston-Bladworth Area
Delisle, Town of
Dysart and District
Haultain (Trinity) Lutheran Church
Hufsmith Insurance Ltd.
Humboldt Credit Union
Hungarians in Saskatchewan
Independent Agencies
Ituna, Town of
Jamont Family, Charles and Maria
Katepwa Beach, Resort Village of
RM of LeRoy (No. 339)
Mid-West Development Corp
Milton, R.M. – No. 292
Nipawin, Town of
Pioneer Threshermen’s Club
Preeceville, Town of
Saskatchewan Government Insurance
Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority
Saskatchewan Lotteries
Saskatchewan Mutual Insurance Company
Shrine Battleford: Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine 1957
Shrine Blumenfeld: Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine 1936
Shrine Mount Carmel: Our Lady of Mount Carmel 1922
Shrine Cochin: Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine 1955
Shrine Cole Bay: Mary, Mother of God Shrine 1918
Shrine Cudworth: Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine 1911
Shrine Dillon: Our Lady ofLourdes Shrine 1971
Shrine Forget: Our Lady of La Salette Shrine 1922
Shrine Isle a la Crosse: Immaculate Conception Shrine 1944
Shrine Kaposvar: Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine 1942
Shrine Kronau: Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine 1915
Shrine La Loche: Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine 1954
Shrine Lake Lenore: Memorial Grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine 1947
Shrine Lestock: Mary, Queen of All Hearts Shrine 1942
Shrine Ponteix: Our Lady of Auvergne Shrine 1934
Shrine Rama: Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine 1939
Shrine Reward: Holy Rosary Shrine 1932
Shrine Saskatoon: Our Lady of Good Counsel
Shrine Saskatoon: Our Lady of the Prairies Shrine 1982
Shrine St Laurent: Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine – St. Laurent de Grandin
Shrine St Walburg: Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine 1981
Shrine Wollaston Lake: Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine 1981
Shrine Yorkton: Our Lady of Lourdes Redemptorist Shrine 1921
Shrine Yorkton: Our Lady of Lourdes – Convent of SSMI 1958
Shrine Yorkton: Our Lady of Perpetual Help Shrine 1915
Snipe Lake RM of No. 259
SUMA – Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Assoc.
Theodore, Village of
Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Yorkton Branch
W.W. Smith Insurance Ltd.
Whitewood, Town of
Willow Bunch, R.M. of No. 42
Women’s Auxiliary of the Western Development Museum
Women’s Work Is Never Done

Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Yorkton Branch

Home Town or Home Community:

Yorkton, SK

Our Story:

Ukrainians in the Parklands

Canada, in 1896 launched an aggressive campaign to recruit farmers from Eastern Europe to settle and develop Canada’s Northwest. As early as 1897, Ukrainian settlements began fanning out between the railway lines from Saltcoats to Ituna in the south and Kamsack to Watson in the north.

Ukraine, endowed with a moderate climate, rich fertile soil, and an abundance of natural resources was a seduction to its neighbours. As the second largest country in Europe, for centuries Ukraine defended its borders against foreign aggressors, but early in the 19th century it fell victim to the multinational empires of Russia and of Austro-Hungary. The rule under these regimes was severely oppressive. They denied the Ukrainian people their cultural identity. Language was suppressed, schools were closed, and the church was compromised. Successive fractioning of family holdings reduced livelihoods to a mere existence. For them there was no freedom, no justice and no future. Their only hope was to escape the despotic rule. It was not, therefore, the offer of free land in the wilderness that lured the Ukrainian immigrant to Western Canada. They were in search of freedom, justice, dignity, security and peace.

There was a mass exodus of Ukrainian people from the provinces of Galicia and Bukovyna in Western Ukraine. No sooner had they established themselves in their thatch-roof homes, the Ukrainian immigrants directed themselves towards establishing school districts, rural municipalities and organizing parishes. Onion-shaped church domes became landmarks on the landscapes of the Parklands. The school, the home, the church nurtured the future stewards of their culture. To profile their ethnic identity, they built National Homes where they organized for political activism.

By 1912, the Ukrainian immigrants cleared lands, tilled the soil, and produced bountiful crops. Ukraine, their beloved motherland, was the breadbasket of Europe. The Prairies, their adopted homeland became the breadbasket of the world, for the Ukrainian communities in the Parklands, Yorkton became their “beach-head’ for religious, education, and social institutions. In the inter-war years, a second wave of immigrants from Ukraine settled along railway lines branching out of Yorkton. In the post World War 11 era, most Ukahian immigrants were displaced persons liberated by the Allies from the forced labour camps of Nazi Germany. For a time they settled in the urban centres of the Parklands but eventually gravitated to the cities in Eastern Canada.

Many Ukrainians became ethically obscure. Firstly, there was the identity problem. Canada did not adopt Ukrainian as an ethic designation until 1921. Also, there were no secular priests amongst them and this made them vulnerable targets of proselytization. The ever presence of mixed-marriages and the subtleties of assimilation embraced them into an emerging culture of a pluralistic society.

To preserve the soul of worship and the traditions of the Ukrainian church, the “new” calendar was adopted and the use of English became acceptable. To raise the awareness of roots, parishes organized Youth clubs, Summer Camps, and supported ethnic dance festivals. The Orange Revolution of 2005 in Ukraine stirred many a dormant heart in the diaspora. For many an ethnic dream, materialized into a reality.

Many sons and daughters of Ukrainian ancestry served in Canada’s armed forces. Some were decorated for valour. Many bore the scars of battle. Many perished. Their ultimate sacrifice is to be forever cherished. Ukrainians from the Yorkton area have risen to high levels of prominence. Their contributions to the church, politics, military, and the public service are heralded afar. Many more are recognized as professionals in medicine, education, justice, sports, and the field of entertainment.

Ukrainians characterize themselves as being worshippers of God and His creation; they have an unquenchable thirst for enlightenment; they are creative and imaginative in expressing their love of mankind through dance, music and the arts.

Most of all, they proudly display their patriotic loyalties for the democratic sovereignty of their ancestral and their adopted homelands.

It can be said that Ukrainians are the salt of the Parklands that appetizes the taste of Saskatchewan culture.



The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) Yorkton, Saskatchewan Branch is affiliated with the National Ukrainian Canadian Congress headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba which acts as the coordinating body for the Ukrainian community in Canada. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress acts as the official spokesperson for the Ukrainian community by advocating on issues affecting Ukrainian Canadians before the provincial and federal governments.

The Yorkton UCC branch held its first organizational meeting on January 21, 1991 with 23 members present. The members are representatives of the component organizations of the Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox parishes in Yorkton. Monthly meetings were held until 1997 but changed to bi-monthly meetings from 1997 to the present.

The following is a resume of notable events in which the Yorkton branch of UCC has participated, organized or contributed to:

  • Ukraine, having proclaimed its Independence in 1991, funds were forwarded to help establish the Ukrainian embassy in Ottawa
  • Sponsored and/or hosted several performing artist groups from Ukraine and Canada
  • In recognition of 100 years of the Ukrainian Pioneer Settlement in Canada, the establishment of the Ukrainian Pioneer Park in the city of Yorkton was undertaken
  • Staged the Ukrainian Harvest Festival “Obzhynky”
  • Commemorate the tragic Famine/Genocide of 1932-33
  • Presentations to the media and public schools on the suffering following the nuclear explosion at Chemobyl. In 1996 the city proclaimed April 16, 1996 as “Day of Chemobyl”
  • Summarized a bilingual report sent to Provincial UCC to have the report sealed in a Time Capsule, to be opened in 2025
  • Annually stage a concert in honor of the proclaimed Ukrainian Genius and Poet, Taras Shevchenko
  • Financially assisted to have a Ukrainian program “Charming Bandura” on local cable television
  • Purchased 5 volumes of the Ukrainian Encyclopedia and presented these to the Yorkton Public Library
  • Delegation from Ukraine interested in how land titles are handled were hosted by Yorkton’s mayor and the Yorkton branch
  • Saskatchewan UCC Provincial Council and Yorkton branch have hosted the Nation Builders Awards Luncheon to honor chosen individuals of Ukrainian heritage who have impacted the lives of many through their contributions to the arts, humanity, leadership roles, education etc.
  • Financial and spiritual support for recent Ukraine election monitoring

Over the years, all individuals who have accepted positions on the executive of the Yorkton UCC branch have worked diligently, always being conscious of the success and benefit of our organization within the Ukrainian community.

The following phone numbers are the contacts for the Yorkton UCC branch:

(306) 783-4991 (306) 783-7323 (306) 782-2687




The UKRAINIAN CANADIAN CONGRESS, Yorkton Branch is affiliated with the National UCC Headquarters in Winnipeg, Man. which acts as the coordinating body for the Ukrainian community in Canada. It is made up of over 25 nationally based and volunteer driven Ukrainian Canadian organizations, united by the goal of preserving and developing our shared Ukrainian culture in Canada. UCC Branches are active in many areas of this country.

The Yorkton UCC Branch held its first Organizational meeting on January 21, 1992, with 23 members present. The following executive members were chosen:

President – Mr. Michael Baran

1st Vice President Mrs. Catherine Woloschuk

2nd Vice President Mr. George Skwarchuk

Recording Secretary Pauline Semenuik

Treasurer Mr. Harry Kardynal

Board of Control Dobr. Mary Hnatiw; Mr. Lome Sakundiak; Mr. Eugene Hnatiuk

Program Committee Rev. Fr. Leonard Ratushniak, Rev. Fr. Peter Hnatiw, Eugene Hnatiuk, Mike Baran, Sonia Pawliw, Dobr. Mary Hnatiw, Xennia Dusyk, Olesia Pitts, Valerie Ratushniak.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress acts as the official spokesperson for the Ukrainian community by advocating on issues affecting Ukrainian Canadians before the provincial and federal governments.

The Yorkton UCC members are guided by the following goals:

— to protect, enhance and promote the unique cultural identity of Ukrainians throughout Canada

— to maintain, develop and enhance the Ukrainian culture and language as integral parts of Canada’s multicultural society

— to encourage the full participation of Ukrainian Canadians in all facets of Canadian life

— to actively advance better communication, understanding and mutual respect between ethno cultural communities

Initially, we had the following component organizations represented:

  1. Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of Canada, Yorkton Branch
  2. Ukrainian Orthodox Men’s Association – TYC Yorkton Branch
  3. Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada, Olena Pchilka Branch
  4. Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada, Branch One and Branch Two. Since 2002 they are amalgamated to St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic /Women’s League
  5. Ukrainian Business & Professional Men’s Association (NOT ACTIVE NOW)
  6. League of Ukrainian Canadians (not active since 2002)

Both, the National and Provincial UCC Executives publish an educational and informative Newsletter which provides our members with a wealth of knowledge on current issues.

For the first few years, we held monthly meetings (till 1997); later we changed to bi-monthly meetings and executive or program Committee discussions.

Our first year was filled with concerns of fund raising and educating the general public with the ideals and activities of the UCC. We operate on the goodwill offerings of our Component Organizations and the generous donations of individuals.

Resume of Notable Events from 1992 to the end of 2004

  1. Ukraine having proclaimed its Independence in 1991, there became an immediate need of establishing Ukraine’s Embassy in Canada. Answering the National UCC Appeal, our UCC Branch contributed $2870.00 for the building fund of Ukraine’s Embassy in Ottawa, in the fall of 1992.
  2. Sponsored several Performing Artist Groups from Ukraine; two in 1992, one in 1993, 1997. In 1998 hosted two literary authors from Ukraine together with Canadian authors who wrote about Ukrainians. Another group came in 2000. We provided meals and night lodging for all of the above.
  3. The Yorkton UCC members worked diligently in procuring and beginning the development of a site to be known as the Ukrainian Pioneer Park, in recognition of the One Hundred Year Ukrainian Pioneer Settlement in Canada. Mr. George Skwarchuk was chairman of this Committee with all the executive members sharing their tireless efforts in planting perennials, flowers, trees, etc. to beautify the grounds. Gateway Signage and an historical cairn were erected at the location of the corner of First Avenue and Henderson Street, designating the Park. The Official Opening of the Park was held on August 21, 1994, with Provincial and Local dignitaries participating. The Reverend Fathers from both Ukrainian Parishes served the Moleben and Memorial Prayer Service at the beginning of the Celebrations. This was followed by a program of song, dance and a pot-luck supper. Sonja Pawliw, member of the Ukrainian Pioneer Park Committee, made an excellent photo album of all our UCC events.
  4. On October 16, 1993, we staged the Ukrainian Harvest Festival “Obzhynky”, the guidance of Mr. Eugene Hnatiuk. Considerable amount of preparation was required for the presentation and was met with favorable results.
  5. Being cognizant of Ukraine’s tragic Famine/Genocide of 1932-33, which was deliberately inflicted on Ukrainian people by the Soviet Regime, our UCC members organized the observance of the 60th Anniversary of this solemn historic Great Famine, on October 26, 1993. All faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic Parishes participated in the Memorial – Panachyda to commemorate the over seven million victims who suffered horrific starvation.

6.With the help of our clergy and the executive UCC members, we had the Yorkton Mayor, His Worship Ben Weber, Proclaim April 26, 1996 “Day of Chornobyl”. This was to mark the Tenth Anniversary of the Nuclear Explosion, which made millions of Ukrainians suffer at that time and continues to cause health problems in the aftermath. Our members held a fund drive to raise money to send in aid of the “The Children of Chornobyl” Fund. In addition we had executive member, Brenda Perepeliuk make educational presentations on this subject, to Yorkton’s newspapers, Radio, Television Stations and Public Schools.

  1. In 2000, we prepared a summarized bi-lingual activity report of the Yorkton UCC Branch and sent it to the Provincial UCC in Saskatoon for having it sealed in a TIME CAPSULE which will be opened in the year 2025!
  2. Every year (except one), we held a concert in Honor of our acclaimed Ukrainian Genius and Poet, Taras Shevchenko. In the earlier years we had students from Ukrainian Schools taking part, as well as the Dance Ensembles. Choir members from both parishes sang a selection of T. Shevchenko’s compositions and the main ADDRESS essays were spoken in Ukrainian and English.
  3. Annually, we contribute donations to the Provincial and National Headquarters. In 1995, we gave $2200.00 to North Eastern Cable TV in Yorkton for programming “Charming Bandura” which was a Ukrainian Production, directed by Deacon Jeffery Stephaniuk and Brenda Perepeliuk. Since 2002 we contributed financial assistance to the Ukrainian Dance Festival, held in Yorkton. Energetic performers, competitors, come from all over Saskatchewan and even outside the province. Purchased a five volume Ukrainian Encyclopedia and presented it to the Yorkton Public Library, in March of 2002. This was to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence.

On October 14, 2001, besides the Annual Observance of Ukraine’s Independence held in the Park, we invited the well-known “Lastiwka” Ukrainian Orthodox Choir and Orchestra and the talented “Yevshan” Ukrainian Folk Ballet Ensemble, all from Saskatoon to have additional celebrations for the 10th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence. UCC-SPC President, Mr. Eugene Krenosky, was our guest speaker for this occasion. Our UCC Branch members hosted all the performers with a luncheon.

  1. On June 6th, 2002, we hosted a delegation from Ukraine, who were specifically interested in how land titles are handled in Canada. Our Executive members in co-operation with Yorkton City Mayor, Phil Devos and council members organized a special welcome for them.
  2. In February of 2003, we hosted the Prairie Grassroots Vision International – volunteers who have visited Ukraine and are currently helping the farmers in Ukraine with the agricultural industry.
  3. On November 2, 2003, we hosted the Nation Builders Awards Banquet at St. Mary’s Cultural Centre. Our members worked many long hours in preparation for this prestigious event and all proceedings met with compliments from visitors out of town. The Provincial UCC-SPC Executive decided that Yorkton UCC should host the Nation Builders Awards Banquet in 2004, after they experienced our hospitality!
  4. In accordance with the Resolution put forth by the UCG Headquarters to designate the fourth Saturday in November of every year throughout Canada as a day of Remembrance of the more than seven million Ukrainians who fell victim to the Great Famine/Genocide in 1932-33 the Yorkton Ukrainian Catholic Parish held a Memorial – Panachyda Service, on November 22, 2003 with many faithful in attendance.
  5. On November 23/03, we hosted the performers of Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival Choir of Dauphin, Manitoba, who staged a concert at the Anne Portnuff Theatre of Yorkton’s Regional High School.

The year of 2004 was the year of 2004 was rather a trying one. President, Harry Kardynal was having health problems and most of the work fell on first-vice, Merle Maximiuk and the other members to fulfill necessary duties.

A literary afternoon Program was organized to Honor the Ukrainian Poet Taras Shevchenko and was well attended.

Merle Maximiuk represented our UCC Branch at the Provincial UCC Annual General Meeting and was appointed as secretary of the UCC-SPC Board. She has been requested to serve on the Selections Committee for the Nation Builders Honoree Project. Acting as the Yorkton UCC Program Coordinator, she organized the Observance of the Thirteenth Anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence, held on August 22, 2004. We were honored to have Karen Pidskalny, from the Sask. Ukrainian Historical Society, as our guest speaker.

Our UCC Branch has been successful in sending delegates to the Tri-Annual Conference of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress every time it was held and this year, our first-vice. Merle Maximiuk attended the UCC Congress in Winnipeg on October 1 to 3, 2004.

St. Mary’s Cultural Centre, once again was the site of the 10th Annual Nation Builders Awards, held in Yorkton on November 7/04. Members of the Yorkton UCC worked together with the Provincial UCC in presenting an informational and educational occasion while paying special tribute to the worthy Honourees.

Ukrainian Pioneer Park Year: 1974 Place Name: Yorkton, SK Official Opening on August 21, 1994.

Ukrainian Pioneer Park
Year: 1974
Place Name: Yorkton, SK
Official Opening on August 21, 1994.

November 19, 2004, the World-Renowned Kyiv Chamber Choir presented a concert at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Yorkton UCC Branch members helped in hosting the performers and all who attended with a wine and cheese reception. Our members also provided some vocalists with night lodging and breakfast.

Over the years, all individuals who have accepted positions on the Yorkton UCC Branch executive, have worked diligently, always being conscious of the success and benefit of our Organization within the Ukrainian Community.

Since the year 2000, the members of the Executive were as follows:

Past President Mr. George Skwarchuk (passed away Dec. 20, 2002)

President Mr. Harry Kardynal

First Vice President Merle Maximiuk

Recording Secretary Pauline Semenuik

Treasurer Catherine Woloschuk

Board of Control Lorne Sakundiak, Tomko Baran, Eugene Hnatiuk, on Nov. 26/02, Peter Gulka was chosen to replace Mr. E. Hnatiuk

Mr. Eugene Hnatiuk served as Program Committee Chairperson from 1992 till 2003.

St. Mary’s Parish

(Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help)

Immigrants from Ukraine began settling in the Yorkton area in 1902. Because there were no secular priests of their own amongst them, the early settlers were targets for the psuedo preachers, self-ordained ministers, and self-proclaimed heads of churches in some distant land. Zayats, a Jewish imposter, even dared to celebrate a Christian service. Those weak of faith, grew cynical and left the church.

Recognizing the deplorable religious situation in the Ukrainian settlements, Archbishop Langevin of the French diocese of St. Boniface assigned Father Deleare to work among the Slavs. Very early in their contact with the immigrants from Ukraine, it became evident to Father Deleare and his confreres that their work would be more fruitful if they adopted the Eastern Rite and gained a working knowledge of the language.

In 1906, Ukrainian Rite Redemptorlsts were inaugerated at Yorkton. At St. Gerard’s, a Roman Rite parish, Father Deteare and his confreres furnished a chapel according to the traditions of the Ukrainian Rite. A Ukrainian Catholic parish was organized in 1910. This chapel served as a parish centre for the Ukrainian Catholic community at Yorkton until the construction of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in 1913. The Mother of Perpetual Help Monastery was constructed in 1914 and adjoined to St. Mary’s parish church. Together, the Yorkton Redemptorist Church and Monastery became the spiritual and cultural center of Ukrainian Catholics in Saskatchewan.

St. Mary’s, a massive structure, is constructed of steel, concrete, and brick. The white bricks were manufactured from the sandy clay found near the site of the church. The architectural style of the structure is that of a domed Byzantine basillica. The dome dominates over the wings of the vaulted roof shaped as a cruciform (shape of the cross). The eastern wing was extended in 1954.

Near the church structure is an intricately designed cross commemorating Ukraine’s entry into Christendom in 988 A.D. A replica of “Our Lady of Lourdes’ grotto adjoins the church site.

Beginning in 1916, St. Mary’s became a pilgrimage site. Each year thousands attended Vidpust on the first Sunday of July, Yorkton ranks as one of the major parishes in the Eparchy of Saskatoon. St. Mary’s and the Yorkton pastoral district have been blessed with numerous vocations to minister to the needs of the faithful.

However, demographics, economics and social changes are taking a toll on the parishes.

St. Mary’s involves its children and youth in many spiritual and cultural activities. It sponsors them to St. Michael’s Church Camp at Madge Lake. It has a Ukrainian Language School and an ethnic dance group. The seniors gather in the church basement for fellowship and social comfort.

Many high school graduates from the parish opt for post secondary education and training. Some choose to make Sheptytsky Institute in Saskatoon as their home for a while but on completion of their studies they follow opportunities that beckon them elsewhere and they return only as visitors to St. Mary’s.

The parish is administered by the stewardship of the Pastor and Parish Council. In spiritual matters regarding dogma and doctrine, guidance and direction from the Pontif in Rome spreads through the Ukrainian Catholic Patriarchate in Kyiv, its cardinals, metropolitans, bishops, through the pastors and clergy to the laity.

The Ukrainian (Greek) Catholic Church is in communion with the Universal (Catholic) Church of Rome founded by Peter, the apostle, a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind.


The ladies of St. Mary’s was originally a sisterhood until 1946, Branch I was formed as a league. Then with the help of Fr. Bala in 1952 Branch II was organized. Meetings were conducted in English because of the younger members, while Branch I had their meetings in Ukrainian.

Branch II held meetings twice a month at first and they were in homes of the members. Once the membership grew the meetings were held at the hall once a month.

The organization is Eparchial, National and International. Its four aims are spirituality, culture, citizenship and social justice. Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada work alongside the church in spiritual involvement and education. Culturally they started the Kalyna Ukrainian dance group and held embroidery classes, Easter egg writing and festive bread demonstrations. In citizenship they help in the community with meals and wheels, senior mobility and community festivities. In social justice they donate to the shoe box project and other projects such as the Ukrainian Orphanages, soup kitchens and seniors. Also the Tsunami relief, fire victims and children summer camps. Through the year they hold teas and bazaars and bake sales, garage sales as fund raisers to help with church renovations, Musee Ukraina in Saskatoon, student bursaries and priests in seminaries.

The members look after the church laundry, had three separate cook books printed over the fifty some years. In 1958 our member Dr. Stephanie Patoski was the national president. In 1993 & 1994 Sonja Pawliw, also our member was Eparchial President. The organization has a beautiful display of Ukrainian costumes on mannequins at the Cultural Centre and an Easter egg display donated & painted by Vicky Buzinski.

In 2003 the Branch I group dissolved and amalgamated with Branch II and it became the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada of St. Mary’s Yorkton. At present we have 129 members; we hold meetings the first Tuesday of the month.

Sonja Pawliw

St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Youth Organization

The St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Youth organization started in 1945. On December 2, 1945, Father Stephen Bachtalowsky called the first meeting of the UCY in Yorkton. Very few youth attended that first meeting, but great things must often start small.

A week later, on December 9, 1945, the UCY put on their first concert at 2:00 p.m. Many youth attended and the UCY gained many new members.

On November 6, 1947, Father John Syrota re-organized the UCY. Forty-three members were enrolled. Olga Winnitowy was president of the UCY, Mary Pawliuk took the position of vice president, Wally Nemetz held the place of secretary, Olga Byblow took the role of treasurer, and Ann Prokopyshen held the position of controller.

The Ukrainian Catholic Youth organization was born to organize the youth and to keep them active in the parish.

The UCY was a very active organization since their revival in 1947. They toured Saskatchewan and Manitoba, presenting choir and Ukrainian dance concerts. Mr. Andy Novak, President of the UCY in 1952, said that the UCY organization was the greatest contributor financially to the parish in his day. The UCY also held Communion breakfasts and hosted retreats.

The UCY remained very active within the parish during the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s and even into the 1980’s. Provincially and within the eparchy, they took part in many activities like UCY banquets. For example, in June of 1973, Yorkton youth heard the Honorable Dr. Stephen Worobetz M.C.M.D., Lieutenant Governor, speak at a provincial UCY function.

These youth always worked hard. They took pride in their parish and in their Ukrainian heritage.

“We have a purpose. It is to keep the locals together and speak in their name.

“You also have a purpose and your purpose is to hold regular meetings at least once a month with a spiritual Director present.

“Encourage new members at all times.

“Ensure equal distribution or activities planned by your executive.

“And guard and develop the growth or the unit at all times.”

-Unknown UCY member, addressing other UCY members.

History of Yorkton Kalyna Dance School

In 1975 St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League Branch II formed a dance troupe to what is known today as Yorkton Kalyna Dance School. This group of ladies from the UCWL had children that wanted to carry on the tradition of Ukrainian dance. By 2000 the dance school hit its highest enrollment ever with a record high of 115 students.

The dance club is now celebrating 30 years of Ukrainian Dance. For the past 30 years we at Kalyna Dance School have provided students from five years of age to adult with instruction in Ukrainian dance and culture. The students are taught dances from 5 different regions of Ukraine that include Poltavski, Transcarpathian, Bukovenia, Hutzul and Volyn. The dancers are taught new dances every year to keep interest and variety in the program. The dance year begins in early September and ends in May.

After many hours of hard work the dancers are entered into competitions to show what they have learned throughout the year. The students have traveled to competitions in Brandon, Russell, Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, St. Albert and Yorkton’s own Kalyna competition. The dancers do very well at the competitions. They have fun and bring home metals and trophies for their accomplishments. Our dancers also perform for special events such as weddings, anniversaries, meetings and parish activities. The club also holds an annual Family Valentines Social every February. This event is the first performance of the year for the students to show their talent. After the performance a delicious meal is served followed by more dance fun for everyone.

In 2000 after a lot of research; it was suggested by two of Kalyna’s parents, Adam and Jean Fetsch that we should host our own competition. After several meetings it was decided in May of 2000 that Kalyna Dance School would organize the first ever Ukrainian dance competition to be held in May of2001. After a lot of organizing and hard work, our first competition was a huge success. It is now a yearly event and a major fundraising project for our club. This competition has received a lot of positive support from the city because of the tremendous numbers of people it brings to our city. The Yorkton Kalyna Dance Festival/Competition is held on the first weekend of May at the Anne Portnuff Theatre. Clubs from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and North Dakota have attended the competition within the last several years. In 2004 Kalyna Dance School received the Community Merit Award at the Celebrate Success Awards banquet. Being nominated for an award such as this is a great honor to the organizers and the volunteers of the club.

With the income we receive from the competition it helps us pay for our instructors, entry fees for the students to attend competitions and the purchase of new costumes for our dancers. Currently Kalyna Dance School has an enrollment of 53 students. Although enrollment has dropped in the last couple of years, the club is still going strong to preserve the culture of Ukrainian dance in our city.

Our instructors are Oleksandra Byelyayev, he has been with us for five years and Melonie Ochitwa who has been with us for two years. Oleksandra instructs our older kids that range in ages from 10 years to 18 years old and Melonie instructs our 5 to 9 year olds. Our students receive top-notch instruction and once they graduate from the club they have a feeling of satisfaction and know that they were taught from the best. Kalyna has had several students that have gone on to dance with professional dance troupes in Edmonton and Saskatoon. Kalyna Dance School provides its graduating students with a scholarship at the end of the year as an appreciation for the many years of dedication and time they invested into the club.

At Kalyna Dance School we are very proud of our dancers and parent volunteers for the many hours they put into the club to make the club what it is today.

Short History of the Golden Agers Drop-In Centre

On March 9, 1977, a group of seniors met at St. Mary’s Rectory to form a Seniors Club. The first executive was as follow:

Chaplain Father Paul Maluga, Parish Pastor

President Metro Sakundiak

Vice President John Nowroski

Secretary Anne Glute

Treasurer Mary Kohan

A five member Board of Directors was elected. A motion was passed to call the center “Golden Agers Drop In Centre”. Membership Fees were set at $2.00 per member for the year. The next step was to find a location; Father Maluga, Parish Pastor suggested utilizing the downstairs of St. Mary’s church.

The Knights of Columbus Father Delaere council were approached to see if they would be interested in spearheading the project of demolishing and renovating the downstairs for the center. Council elected Grand Knight Lorne Sakundiak to chair the project with Harry Rohatensky as vice and co-foreman of the project. Work began immediately with many hours volunteered work supplied by the members of the Knights of Columbus council #5182 and the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood.

On May 12, 1977, a meeting was called with Mr. Joe Zakresi, Regional Manager of the New Horizons Program and Miss Norma Wallace held representative from Regina in attendance, to set up a program and apply for a grant that was available to seniors. A $7,000.00 budget was set up and other ideas and suggestions were passed on to the members.

Drawings and lay out plans were completed and sent into the department along with an application for a grant to cover the cost of the furnishings.

The renovation project was completed by August of 1977, and was funded by: Knights of Columbus Father Delaere council, the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League Branch I and Branch II, St. Volodymyr Branch of the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood, and St. Mary’s Parish.

An August meeting was held at the new Drop in Center to discuss the purchasing of furnishings and recreation supplies and a lease agreement was signed with Father Maluga.

On October 5th an official opening was held with the following guests attending, Mayor John Wytrykush, Joe Zakreski, from New Horizons and Bernie McGall, Randal Nelson, MLA and representatives from other clubs.

October meeting was held to set up the constitution and by-laws for the center.

As the months went by, arts and crafts programs were set up. Recreational Equipment installed, and the membership increased to 155 paid up members by August 1978. The members enjoyed bingos, shuffleboard and pool. They also sewed a quilt for the centennial project, lunches potluck meals were served. Many Anniversary’s and Birthdays were celebrated at the center.

The center has been opened all the time and is still operating although the membership has declined dramatically. This year, 2005, we have only 30 members. Many have passed on and some are unable to come or are in nursing homes.

We still have bingos every Thursday; birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated on the last Wednesday of the month. We also hold suppers on Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and other special occasions.

The present executive members are:

President: Olga Prybylski

First Vice President: Bill Yakiwchuk

Second Vice President Mary Lazurko

Treasurer: Peter Gulka

Secretary: Mary Tratch

Hostess: Nettie Sakundiak (original hostess from the beginning)

Asst Hostess: Mary Yakichuk


The Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood branch in the parish of the Mother of Perpetual Help was organized on Feb. 15, 1942, upon the initiative of Very Reverend Fathers Hryhory Shyshkowich, Stephan Bachtalowsky, Brother Methodius, a Christian Brother, and Andrew Kindred. That same day a general meeting took place in the parish hall. Rev. Fr. H. Shyshkowich chaired the meeting. Andrew Kindred acted as secretary. At this meeting, the first executive of the U.C.B.C. was elected: President-Hryhory Baran; Vice-President-Frank Fedorowich; Secretary-Andrew Kindred; Treasurer-John Fedorowich; Auditors-Hryhory Prestai and Kost Esopenko. Only one Charter member of the executive is with us today, Bro. Frank Fedorowich.

After the meeting, the branch contacted the Central Executive of the U.C.B.C. in Winnipeg and obtained the proper identifiable number-#78 that was announced in the U.C.B.C. “Future of the Nation”. Twenty-four members paid their annual membership fee of $1.00 each. The number of the branch is now changed to 302.

The needs of the church, the parish hall and our schools in Yorkton, The Academy of Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Joseph’s College, and the Sheptytsky Institute in Saskatoon, plus the general help to the youth of our parish compelled our new branch of the U.C.B.C. to intensive work. The membership always strive to get funds for all the different responsibilities mentioned above and other objectives so they held various projects to procure the necessary funds.

The branch co-worked with the Central Executive of the U.C.B.C. and always sent delegates to diocesan conferences as well as to the Congresses of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee.

Every year the members were involved with helping out during the Annual Pilgrimage that used to take place on the grounds of the church and at one time lasted for several days. It had been necessary to prepare for this large undertaking because at that time thousands came to the Pilgrimage in Yorkton- to the Mother of Perpetual Help Church. Even now the members of U.C.B.C. provide help every Sunday, on feast days, and during the annual pilgrimage.

The Yorkton Branch of the U.C.B.C. successfully enlarged its membership from 24 in 1942 to 105 in 2000. Besides the Executive, there are now separate committees. These are: Membership, Spiritual, Social, Visitation of the 111, Publicity, Program, Ways and Means, Bingo and Phoning.

Every month branch meetings are held with appropriate programs, and we diligently strive to enlarge our membership. Most importantly, we now have members of the younger generation. We strive to give them important positions on the executive and appoint them as conveners of certain committees.

We have members who have served on the National Executive of the U.C.B.C. and also on the Eparchial Executive, members who have served on the Parish Council, Cultural Center Board of Directors, St. Michael’s Camp, City Council, and on the Catholic School Board, and in various other organizations in the community.

St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church Year: Built 1914 Place Name: Yorkton, SK Built in 1914 by the Redemptorists, Mt. Mary's Church is famous for its richly painted dome depicting the heavenly coronation of the Blessed Mother. The long east nave of the church was added to the original edifice in 1953-55.

St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church
Year: Built 1914
Place Name: Yorkton, SK
Built in 1914 by the Redemptorists, Mt. Mary’s Church is famous for its richly painted dome depicting the heavenly coronation of the Blessed Mother. The long east nave of the church was added to the original edifice in 1953-55.

Some of the donations and support that the branch contributes are scholarships for good standings in the Ukrainian Language at Sacred Heart High School and other subjects. Every year and we donate toward the summer camp at Madge Lake.

From time to time we donate to the Central Executive of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and to the Shevchenko Foundation in Winnipeg. We contribute to many local charity drives in Yorkton, help Ukraine or Ukrainian causes, for example, the Ukrainian Embassy in Ottawa, Shipment of medicine, a soup kitchen in Ukraine. We help with shipping cost of sending Christmas gifts to the orphanage in Ukraine.

The present Executive of the Yorkton branch is: Spiritual Advisor-Rev. Father

Methodius Kushko C.Ss.R, Past President-John Pacholka, President-Lorne Sakundiak, Vice president-Peter Moroz, Secretary-Robert Wuschenny, Treasurer-Mike Klym, Hospodar-Ed Mclashen, Auditors-Victor Puchala and Carl Pacholka.

Submitted by,

Lorne Sakundiak

Knights of Columbus

History of Fr. Delaere Council #5182

Fr. Delaere Knights of Columbus Council #5182 is an active organization of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Prior to institution of the Council, the Saskatchewan State jurisdiction of the Knights of Columbus consisted of seven districts (currently eleven). District #7 had but one council, that being Yorkton Council #2031 with six sub-councils, for a total membership of 495. The large number of members obviously made for an unwieldy council. Coupled with that was a rather large number of enthusiastic Ukrainian Catholic members joining the Knights of Columbus. With the large Ukrainian population in Yorkton, it seemed only natural to establish a Ukrainian rite council. Thus, on October 8, 1961, Father Delaere Council became the first Ukrainian Catholic Council of the Knights of Columbus in Saskatchewan with 90 charter members. The Council was aptly named after Father Achilles Delaere, a Belgian priest who at the turn of the century had accepted the challenge of ministering to the spiritual needs of the Ukrainian pioneers in the Yorkton area.

The charter executive consisted of: Chaplain Fr. Maurice Dzurman; Grand Knight Walter Panchuk; Deputy Grand Knight Norman Swerhone; Chancellor Alee Sebulsky; Warden John Skilnick; Recorder John Wytrykush; Advocate Stephen Shabbits; Treasurer Joseph J. Ratushniak; Lecturer Harry Kozak; Financial Secretary Paul Raina; Inside Guard Mike Glute; Outside Guard Mervin Hrechka; Trustees Wm. Kozakewich, John Derbowka and Joseph Krochak.

Father Delaere #5182 is a very active council, having hosted numerous State and District events such as curling, bowling. Midterm meetings, State conventions, installations and District meetings. The 1994 State Midterm Meeting in Yorkton particularly stands out in the memories, of both the hosts and delegates as an unusually heavy December snowfall descended upon Saskatchewan the afternoon of the event, causing both delegates and hosts considerable anxiety when some delegates and their families had to postpone their arrival until the following morning. One Knight of Columbus travelling from southern Saskatchewan at that time had the misfortune of running into a deer, thus causing him to miss the entire Midterm Meeting.

The 1986 State Convention was the final convention to be hosted outside the two large centers of Regina and Saskatoon and the second to be hosted by Fr. Delaere Council.

What made the ’86 Convention memorable was not only the large turnout of 800 delegates, but the sudden resignation, four days before the convention, of the St. Mary’s Cultural Centre manager where the event was to be held. With the help of a Brother Knight as Acting Manager and with the cooperation of all Council members, ladies and caterers, the event turned out to be a resounding success!

Father Delaere Council, with a current membership of approximately 120, serves Church, State and Community in the true spirit of Columbianism: Unity, Charity, Fraternity, Patriotism. A right arm of the Church, the Council engaged in numerous projects over the years: air conditioning, building of a ramp for seniors, carpeting of church steps and the Golden Agers Centre. Initial and continuing contributions to St. Mary’s Cultural Centre have been made as well. Support of St. Michael’s Camp, the former St. Joe’s and St. Volodymr’s Colleges and Sacred Heart High School has been ongoing. A special contribution of $100,000 was made to Yorkton Catholic Schools. In addition, the Council has financially supported vocations to the priesthood.

The Council also supports the local and larger community through a variety of charitable work such as Meals on Wheels, Christmas Kettles, scholarships, the Yorkton Regional Health Centre etc. Support of needy families of both members and non-members has been graciously offered. Widows of deceased members are included in all social activities of the Council.

Current Grand Knight is John Pacholka; Deputy grand Knight Lome Brischuk. Other key officers are Larry German, Financial Secretary; Michael Malayney, Treasurer. Co-Chaplains are Rev. Fr. Bryan Bayda and Rev. Fr. Methodius Kushko.

Practicing Catholic gentlemen, age 18 and over, are most welcome to join the Council. Meetings are held the first Tuesday of the month at 7:00 P.M. at the Council Chambers, Fr. Delaere Room, St. Mary’s Cultural Centre.

Written by Robert Wuschenny


The Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate are an active Ukrainian-Catholic religious community established in Western Ukraine in 1892. They were founded to “educate and ennoble the hearts of the people” that were spiritually, morally and culturally deprived, largely due to hardships caused by foreign domination. A guiding principle adopted by the Sisters was “to serve where the need is greatest”.

Following this principle, four Sisters came to Canada in 1902, to support the

Ukrainian immigrants who needed to worship in their own rite and language in order to preserve their faith, which was very important to them.

The Sisters’ permanent involvement in Saskatchewan began in Yorkton in 1915. At the inspiration of the Redemptorist Fathers, they were asked by Bishop Nicetas Budka to build a school for the education of Ukrainian immigrant children.

The project necessitated much travel in order to collect funds. As a result, the Sisters got acquainted with the people and their needs, and helped them deepen their faith. In 1917, they opened Sacred Heart Institute, then expanded it several times and conducted it through many changes. The present Sacred Heart High School, no longer under the leadership of the Sisters Servants, is a continuation of that legacy.

During the influenza epidemic of 1917-18, two Sisters joined the staff of Queen Victoria Hospital on request, even though many of the children and most of the staff at Sacred Heart were critically ill. They also took in abandoned orphans who were brought in by the missionary priests or the police, and occasionally even left on their doorstep.

Except for St. Michael’s, the Sisters have worked in all the Catholic schools of Yorkton,  including St. Joseph’s College and University Division and St. Joseph’s Junior High. They have been principals at St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart. They also taught piano and theory organized and conducted choirs and orchestras and produced musicals.

During their fundraising travels, the Sisters were constantly being told that there was a need for an orphanage in Ituna, so in 1920 they established St. Ann’s Children’s Home and rebuilt it in 1938. In time, different methods of child-care were promoted and the Sisters closed St. Ann’s.

In earlier days, much of the Sisters’ teaching of religion and Ukrainian took place outside the regular school setting, on Saturdays, during summer catechism in Yorkton as well as in small towns and rural areas and in summer camps. Many a summer found them attending summer school in order to become better educators. And wherever they were, care of churches, comfort to the sick and dying and other forms of parish work were important activities. A more recent form of outreach has consisted of assisting in the direction of care at St. Paul’s Lutheran Home in Melville.

At one time, Yorkton was home to more than twenty Sisters Servants. Changing times and needs and declining numbers have brought to a close most of their former activities. But the few Sisters who remain are appreciative of the treasure of faith and progress that has enriched this community, knowing that they have contributed to it as well. As always, they are committed to deepening and perpetuating it in the context of the present, with continued hope for the future.

At this time, they are facing up to the challenge of maintaining the former Sacred Heart school building, while waiting for a planned project to be put in motion that will give it new life as a Seniors’ assisted-living complex. They are grateful for a blessed history that goes back to pioneer days and includes many friends, helpers and co-workers of different faiths and nationalities.

Written by: Sister Suzanne Kokuruds


The history of Sacred Heart is long and varied. At its official opening on January 11, 1917, it was a co-educational residential and day elementary school named Sacred Heart Institute. By 1918, it included 22 orphans whose parents had died of influenza. In 1927, the school accepted boarders who attended the Yorkton Collegiate Institute and by 1932, it had its own first high school class.

In 1945, the elementary students were transferred and Sacred Heart Academy, now an all girls5 school, welcomed boarders and day students for Grades 9 to 12. Many of the students came from the three Prairie Provinces, Ontario and British Columbia. When St. Joseph’s College closed in 1973, Sacred Heart again became co-educational, operating for a short time as Sacred Heart-St. Joseph’s and later as Sacred Heart High School. Two years later the residential aspect was phased out. Today the school instructs Grades 9 to 12, including students with special needs, and offers specialized programs to some elementary school students.

Until recently, the story of Sacred Heart was synonymous with that of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. To them was entrusted the task of building, maintaining and operating the school. They determined the program and set the standards always mindful of their mandate to provide a faith-based Catholic education to students of Ukrainian descent and others who requested their services. They took personal ownership of the project and donated countless hours of service.

After 1966, when grant money became available, lay teachers were hired. In 1979, the Yorkton Catholic School Board assumed responsibility for the Division IV program and in 1991, hired the first lay Principal. The Sisters taught at Sacred Heart until June 1997, and continue to love the school and its 430 students.

The facilities have undergone several transformations. The original building still stands, as do the 1958 and 1968 additions. Their future lies in the hands of the Sisters who built them, while the school has moved to a new high-tech building in a new location. Whereas the earlier construction projects were privately funded, the most recent one has received government funding. To honor the past and provide continuity items of historical and symbolic importance from Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s have been incorporated into the new school.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Holy Transfiguration Place Name: Yorkton, SK

Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Holy Transfiguration
Place Name: Yorkton, SK

The school’s mandate – to educate students in the faith and form them into good citizens – continues to be fulfilled, as it has been from the beginning. Successful alumni provide proof of the effectiveness of the academic program. Extracurricular activities develop talent, enrich the public and achieve provincial recognition. New technology, ever more sophisticated, provides new opportunities to meet the challenges of the times.

It was the early Redemptorist Fathers, particularly Fathers Delaere and Decamps who articulated the need for the school and helped it along in its early days. Their successors have unfailingly served it ever since. Blessed Bishop Nicetas Budka authorized the project and set it in motion. The Sisters Servants created a valued legacy and passed it on to the laity, who capably carries on the work. With such an inspiring history to call upon, Sacred Heart is well placed to continue its important mission far into the future.

Written by: Sister Suzanne Kokuruds

The Life & Times of a Noble Institution



A Brief Historical Sketch – by John A. Pacholka (1945-1947)

St. Joseph’s College may have had a brief place in history, but in the hearts and minds of boys it served like no other Ukrainian Catholic Institution in Canada. As a result of the labour of love by Brothers of the Christian Schools, an institution of great importance, unique in character and unequalled in its particular field existed in Yorkton for 53 years.

The idea of a residential school for higher learning was conceived long before St. Joseph’s College was a reality. Ukrainian immigrants coming to the Yorkton area starting in the 1890’s brought with them their religion, culture, language and dreams of opportunities in the new land. With no churches, schools or priests the early beginnings posed an overwhelming challenge. Difficult circumstances did not deter the Ukrainian pioneers. Their determination earned them their livelihood and built their future. To practice their religion they built churches. For their children’s’ future they built schools. A place for higher learning was a vision.

In Yorkton, St. Mary’s Church was built in 1914, and Sacred Heart Academy, a residential school for girls followed in 1916. For the sons of the Ukrainian settlers there was an obvious need for an institution of higher learning and a place to foster vocations. In 1919, Rt. Rev. Nicetas Budka, Ukrainian Bishop of Canada met that need and established a residential education institution in Yorkton. St. Joseph’s College became a reality, and what was to become a “jewel on the prairie” for thousands of boys.

Not having an Ukrainian religious order of teachers, Bishop Budka assigned a Roman Catholic, English speaking Brothers of the Christian Schools from eastern Canada to come west to administer the College and teach an approved school curriculum in a religious environment.

Construction of the College started in the summer of 1919 with Bishop N. Budka laying the cornerstone on_ September 7th on property adjacent and provided by St. Mary’s Church. Construction was completed in the fall of 1920. The Christian Brothers named Brother Asbert (M. Sheely) as the first Director of the College. Classes for pupils in Grades one to eleven began for the first time on October 11, 1920. Six pupils enrolled in the first year. Stephen Wasyliw was the first pupil to register. Grade twelve was added to the College program in 1929. In 1932 the College became an Institution for grades nine to twelve only, offering a complete high school program enhanced with regular classes in Religion and Ukrainian.

As in the case of all pioneer endeavors there were many difficulties and hardships for the College to overcome. Racial discriminations and prejudices caused most of the obstacles. Unexpectedly, the Ukrainian Catholics blinded by prejudice and misinformation refused to patronize St. Joseph’s College because the College was considered by them as a Latinizing and Anglicizing institution.

Antagonism towards the Brothers reached fanatic proportions. During the first decade of operation, the College was on the verge of closure on several occasions; not only due to its low enrollment but also because of its large debt.

The Brothers overcame all the adversities they encountered and the College survived. So determined, optimistic, devoted and self-sacrificing were the Brothers that they would not let the real purpose for St. Joseph’s College go on unachieved. To dispel any suspicions of what they were all about an extensive public relations program was undertaken including the taking of their message to homes and parishes in Western Canada. In a relatively short time, the Brothers won the love, respect and confidence of the Ukrainian people.

The pioneering decade of struggles was followed by a decade of the Great Depression – the “Hungry Thirties”. Those were trying years for most people, but they were particularly hard years for the College. The burden for the Brothers was not only lessened, but inspired them when seeing the zeal, scholarship and desire for high school education in their students. The College and its students may have been “money” poor, but were rich in spirit.

It was that spirit during the depression years that provided the spark for many glory years to follow. The vision that the founders had for the institution and the College’s prime purpose were not only being accomplished, but were obviously in full bloom. During no other period in the institution’s history did St. Joseph’s College enjoy so many academic successes and athletic championships as in the years 1930 – 1939. The staff and students were reaping the fruits of their hard labour during a difficult time.

From 1929 to 1953 the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate faithfully served the College, and contributed much to the growth of the College by taking charge of the kitchen and dining rooms. Their services will always be remembered by the students and staff. The Sisters can proudly and rightfully share in the glory that belongs to the College during that time.

The early 1940’s and 50’s were an extension of the earlier golden years characterized by an expansion of new programs, increased enrolments and crowded conditions. Due to the increased popularity of the College, the Brothers were pressed to accommodate the influx of students. A new wing was added in 1949. As the College grew and flourished, the Brothers found it necessary to engage lay personnel. Lay teachers, clerical, kitchen and maintenance staff complemented the services provided by the Brothers.

The early 1960’s saw the College facilities taxed beyond capacity. In addition, the existing facilities needed upgrading to meet new program needs. In 1962 the Brothers launched the biggest building program in the history of the College. Extensive modernizing renovations of the building, and major additions on the west and south sides were completed in the fall of 1964. With the additional facilities, the College added an university undergraduate program and offered university courses from 1964 to 1972. In 1972, the operation of the university program was taken over by Parkland Community College. This move was one of the signs to signal the imminent end of a dynamic and noble institution.

Several other factors and circumstances surfaced in the early seventy’s to indicate to the Brothers that their mission was done, and the College had served its purpose. The need for a residential school dropped drastically with the advent of school busses making high school education more accessible in rural areas. Compounded with the loss of the university program were increased costs, and low enrolments. All contributed to the realization that the end had come. The Brothers reluctantly closed the College on June 30, 1973.

The building was sold to the Yorkton Public and Catholic School Boards and served as a junior high and elementary school until 1999. The building stood vacant until a sad Sunday in June 2004. On a serene day of rest, and during the annual St. Mary’s Church Mission across the street; the demolition of the building began. The wrecking ball thunderously sounded the death knell of a not only a majestic building, but also a once sacred place of learning. What took over half a century of hard work and toil to build was erased from the map in a short time. Nothing is left of a once proud landmark as it nostalgically slipped into history. Nothing, but fond memories have left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all those who had the privilege to be a part of its short, but remarkable and beautiful history.

During the 53 years, the College was staffed by highly qualified and trained personnel. Over that period 92 Brothers of the Christian Schools taught at the College. They were assisted by eight Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate teachers, and 13 lay teachers. The College was fortunate to have four priests and 14 brothers serve as resident Chaplains who helped shape the students future endeavors. The kitchen and dining hall was served by 17 Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate. In addition 26 laypersons had served in clerical, caretaking, domestic, and maintenance positions. It was as a result of all their collective expertise and team work and driven by purpose and dedication that the staffs throughout the years not only consistently brought considerable class and distinction to the College, but got the job done to meet the needs of their students.

Daily worship and faith building was part of daily student life. During the 53 years over nineteen thousand Liturgies and numerous other services were conducted by over 100 different priests and filled a very important dimension in the College education and student spiritual growth.

In search of an education for a brighter future, boys from many parts of Canada and predominantly from the rural areas of Manitoba and Saskatchewan came to the College. During its short period, a total of 3.691 students attended the institution. They remained in the college for an average of three years. Before the major building expansion in 1963-64, the average annual enrolment was 240 students. Following the addition, peak enrollment of 391 students was attained in 1965. The university program reached it record enrolment in 1966 when 242 undergraduates registered. The College also accommodated 40-50 high school day students each year. In the College every student was important. The staff ascertained that each student was guided to their full potential. The students came as boys and left as inspired young men; better prepared and more confident to face the future.

Although the Brothers of the Christian Schools took considerable pride in the growth and material progress of the College, they never forgot their real purpose of their life’s commitment. To the Brothers the “whole pupil”, with the pupil’s spiritual, intellectual, social and physical potentialities was of prime importance. All four were emphasized and none neglected.

By means of religious instruction, reflections, religious services, prayers, sacraments, sound corrective discipline, and in a Catholic atmosphere, the students developed spiritually and morally. By means of an enriched and enhanced high school program including languages, all sciences, and mathematics, choir, orchestra, literary society, public speaking, campus cavalcade, yearbook, cadets, and career guidance, the students developed intellectually and socially. By means of organized sports and an excellent mandatory army cadet program, the students developed physically. The purpose of the sports and cadet training was also considered to serve as training in self- discipline and character formation. All students were expected to participate. As a result of the College grogram the students’ identity with their roots, religion, culture and future endeavours was very effectively reinforced and strengthened.

As a residential facility, St. Joseph’s College had filled an extraordinary need at an extraordinary time when the need was the greatest in the educational development and preparation of thousands of high school age boys. The need diminished, the College became history; to exist only as a memory. It lives on in the lives of those students the Brothers guided and help forge those principles and values that the institution embodied.

Much of the tradition and the spirit of the College will continue to live on in the new ultra-modern Sacred Heart High School built a short block from the original College site. The school was built on a foundation of nearly a century of Catholic education tradition in Yorkton. The traditions and the spirit of the College were warmly welcomed and enthusiastically encompassed by and blended into the new school. The new school opened in 2003, exactly 30 years after the College closed.

To memorialize the College and its place in history the two original cornerstones from the College have been incorporated into the foundation at the front of the high school. The large cross that was mounted on the dome above the College Chapel has been placed on a brick pedestal in a place of honor in front of the high school. College artifacts, sports memorabilia, icons and alumni historical accounts are preserved in the high school. To perpetuate the spirit and memory of St. Joseph’s College, the alumni has provided an academic scholarship in perpetuity to students at Sacred Heart High School who have an ancestor that attended the College. The Alumni had published a 256-page historical account of St. Joseph’s College in pictures and print in 2000 to record and preserve the College’s colorful past. A serene and quiet area on the high school grounds adjacent to the school is reserved for a cairn and reading area. The tradition continues, and the spirit of “St. Joe’s” lives on.

The College has left an outstanding legacy. The good it accomplished is intangible and difficult to measure, particularly the effect it had, and the mark it left on the students and those whose lives they touched. The College had provided the boys a sterling blue print to live by and to guide their lives. Undoubtedly that enhanced education helped contribute to the growth and progress of their home communities, province, country and their church. The contributions and accomplishments of over three and a half thousand of the College’s graduates in the professions, technologies, trades business, agriculture and vocations throughout the world, many in distinguished careers testify to the enriched and sound Catholic education they received. Those achievements also serve as a tribute to the educators and builders of men, the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The country cannot help but be a better place because of St. Joseph’s College.

Saskatchewan Centennial Reflection – April 2005


The Ukrainian Orthodox community in Yorkton has been in existence for eighty years. It began with a few worshippers in a small home, gradually building up to several hundred at present, enjoying a modern church to worship in an Auditorium, to meet the needs of the members of the community. Both are located on Bradbrooke Drive.

By 1920 a rooming house was purchased on Belts Avenue in Yorkton and appropriated a few of the rooms for Ukrainian Cultural Studies and functions, and a room in which, the members of the Ukrainian Orthodox faith came to worship God. Reverend S. Hrebeniuk performed the first church service here. That same year a handful of members purchased a small building and situated it on First Avenue, but the building was destroyed by fire soon after.

In 1921, the same group of members purchased a lot of land on 78 First Avenue and with lumber dismantled from an old building; they built a home for the Ukrainian Orthodox religious and cultural needs. It was named the Ukrainian Reading Society. This small group now called themselves the congregation of Holy Transfiguration of the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church. The first service was officiated by Reverend S. Hrebeniuk. It was here that in 1924 a historical 4th Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Sobor was held to select its first Bishop of Canada and to incorporate the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada by the Federal Government.

With the growth of membership and worship needs, a new and separate church building was sought. In 1926 several lots were -purchased at the comer of Wellington Avenue and Duncan Street for a future church site. A fire damaged grain elevator was purchased, torn down and its lumber was used for a new church building. All work was done by volunteer labor. The church building was constructed according; to the Ukrainian Orthodox Architecture in the form of a cross with a large church dome, bearing triple crosses. Shortly after World War 2, a church manse was erected with volunteer labor and lumber from the airport hanger. The story of the Ukrainian Orthodox congregation could be grouped into several distinct eras. The 1920’s was a renaissance of the early achievements of religious and national life. The 1930’s brought about the impressions of bleak and difficult times. But the church kept up the morale, enthusiasm, Christian love and pride. The 1940’s enticed the new generation into the urban area, seeking new ideas, thirst for knowledge and a desire for religion and culture. The 1950’s were boom years of great structure and building of community religious cultural impressions. In the 1960’s and 1970’s computer age began with questioning and inquisitiveness. The 1980’s the space age and the new era. The 1990’s is back to realism and the positive approach co religion and culture. Our Ukrainian Orthodox Church took a Christian steadfastness in each of these progressive eras.

By 1952 the Ukrainian Reading Society Hall became outdated and inadequate and thus was disposed of to make room for new needs and demands. The congregation laid new plans for a new hall. A large loan was taken out for the purpose pf a new hall. The construction on the new hall commenced at once and saw its completion and official opening in June 1953. This hall was named “Cornation Hall” in honor of the crowning of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. It was the summer that the Iconastas was built in the old church, with magnificent carvings and Icons. Dobr. M. Diachina revived the church choir for singing the Divine Liturgy.

The 1950’s saw the need for a larger and more spacious church to accommodate its worshippers. In 1959 a recommendation was made to the congregation for the construction of a new church. In 1962 a site was selected on the corner of Bradbrooke Drive and Independent Street. In March 1963 the congregation approved construction of a new church. In November, 1963 the site was consecrated, the sod turned and excavation began. The dimensions of the new church are 100′ x 46′ accommodating 400 persons in the nave, choir loft and front entrance. The construction continued through the winter and the following summer until its completion on October 2$, 1964 when the consecration and official opening of the new Ukrainian Orthodox Church took place, officiated by Metropolitan Ilarion and Very Rev. Father Waoychuk. Additional property was then purchased adjacent to the church for a church manse and parking lot. In 1970 the parking lot was prepared and black-topped. It was at this time that the church lower level was completed and equipped with classrooms and a stage.

Ukrainian Orthodox Auditorium Place Name: Yorkton, SK

Ukrainian Orthodox Auditorium
Place Name: Yorkton, SK

During the year of 1966-67, a manse was added, next to the new church and three years later the lower level was also completed.

In 1973, a site was chosen on Bradbrooke Drive and Lakeview road for a new auditorium. The construction and sod turning took place in 1976. The old Coronation Hall was sold. The new hall was named the Ukrainian Orthodox Auditorium and was officially consecrated and opened in 1977 by Metropolitan Andrew and Very Reverend Father Stefan Zuzak.

The Auditorium is 120′ x 100′ and has a large kitchen and beautiful dance floor. It was truly one of a kind when it was built. It has been honoured to serve the Western Premiers’ Conference and a multitude of other well-known conferences and functions. Some gatherings were as large as 1100. The congregation took out a very large loan, but with hard work and ardent devotion, the loan was paid out and the mortgage paid in full October.

In July, 1981, the Iconastas project was signed and construction began. Mr. Igor Suhacev was the Iconographer and Mr. Vladimir Barac was the builder carver, both were from Toronto. The membership of the congregation was very generous with donations and no loan had to be taken out. The Iconastas was designed in a “Kozac’s Borocque” style. It is constructed of oak, soft wood overlays that are individually carved and gold leafed It was completed and installed in December of 1982. The Altar table and Oblation table were completed in April 1983 and the Icons in the Alter were completed in May 1983. These were blessed by Metropolitan Wasyly and Reverend Father Peter Hnatiw on Sunday, June 12, 1983.

Other major projects took place in 1988. A concrete ramp was constructed at the church in May and renovations were made to the exterior of the manse. A millenium project was undertaken. A granite monument in commemoration of 1000 years of the Baptism of Ukraine into the Holy Orthodox Faith was erected in the front of the church. On September 4, 1988 His Beatitude Metropolitan Wasyly consecrated the monument – as a continued ray of hope and love to the future Ukrainian Orthodox generations.

In 1989 a new kitchenette was built in the church lower level and furnished with tables and chairs to accommodate smaller functions and meetings.

In 1990-92 the Yorkton congregation took an active part in fund raising for the construction of the new Trident Church Camp at Crystal Lake. The congregation together with the Ukrainian Women’s Association and he Ukrainian Men’s Association (TYG) donated over $50,000 towards the project.

In 1991 the front of the church was remodeled and renewed.

In 1991-92 the members of the congregation took active participation in the centennial celebrations and commemoration of the Ukrainian settlement in Canada 1891-1991. During 1992-94 the members of KYK took part in the development of a park project in the city of Yorkton as a tribute to the Ukrainian Pioneers and named it the ^Ukrainian Pioneer Park”. The official opening took place on August 21, 1994 in the afternoon with a program, dedication and unveiling of the cairn.

Major exterior work was done to the church in 1992 – installation of aluminum cladding, fascia and soffits on all the outside windows of the church and also new eavestroughs. The brown/black and ivory trim improved the outside appearance of the church.

To accommodate the convenience for the elderly and the handicapped, washroom facilities were provided in the vestibule of the church in 1993. The baby room was also relocated and remodeled.

In 1994 major renovations both to the exterior and interior were carried out at the church manse.

1998 was a very busy year. The church roof was re-shingled, flashing installed. The entire interior of the church was repaired and painted, rugs were shampooed, chandeliers and light fixtures washed; installed new halogen bulbs; pews repaired, re-aligned and fastened to the floor. Because of water- problems, the hot air supply above the floor in the church basement was modified. The parking lots of the church and auditorium were crack-filled. Air conditioning was installed in the church, compliments of the generous donation from the Ukrainian Women’s Association. The Auditorium floor was totally refurbished. Three new high efficiency furnaces to the east side of the Auditorium were installed. Feast Day Icon project began in the fall.

In 1999 the interior of the Auditorium was painted; all bulbs replaced with high efficiency electrical bulbs. A central vac system was installed for the church. The Auditorium required new equipment, replacement of some items and a walk-in-freezer was installed. A new Lighted Cairn in front of the church was erected from the generous donation of the Ukrainian Women’s Association.

The Holy Transfiguration Church congregation has taken on many positive and exciting projects to celebrate the 2000th year of Christianity, or the beginning of the 3rd millennium. Various worship services, religious classes, formation of a library kiosk, hosting a Mission District Family Day and many other endeavors helped the membership to grow intellectually as well as spiritually.

As fate would have it, our faithful gradually go on to be with the Lord and membership dwindles, in 2004, the boundaries of the Parish were charged to include Yorkton, Theodore, Sheho and Riverside. The present Parish priest Reverend Father Roman Kocur is entitled to serve in all of the above mentioned communities. Together with Father Roman we Praise the Lord, thanking Him with all our hearts to be able to celebrate Saskatchewan’s Centennial!



The Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada, Yorkton Branch was organized in the fall of 1927, under the assistance and capable direction of members of the “Mohylianky” from Petro Mohyla Institute of Saskatoon. The Yorkton local adopted its Branch name “Olena Pchilka” in respect of a distinguished Ukrainian author.

In the first year, only five members joined the new Organization. The Founder and first President of the Organization was Anastasia Steohishen. She was President for sixteen years.

The U.W.A.C. Yorkton Branch constituted high ideals and objectives; firstly to work for the progressive growth of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church but foremostly to give their children religious and Ukrainian up-bringing. To accomplish this, the Local organized Committees for Sunday and Ukrainian Schools, also an advisory council for our youth organized under the name “Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association” – C.Y.M.K.

Another objective of the Local Branch was to promote education, culture and national consciousness amongst Ukrainian Women, thus encouraging them to participate in concerts, reading educational books, journals and press. Therefore, the Local Branch organized its own Library in 1960. To provide harmony and equality in the Organization, separate committees were formed with designated conveners to carry out the work. One of them was the Elder Sisters, who looked after the beautification of the Church.

The Bazaar Committee convenes the Fall and Spring Teas and Bazaars where traditional baking, pysanky and various handicrafts are displayed for sale.

The Social Committee, with the assistance of cooks, carries out its duties of catering to Membership Teas, Congregational dinners, suppers and receptions during other events.

The Educational and Cultural Committee is actively preparing programs honoring Lesia Ukrainka, Taras Shevchenko, Olena Pchilka, Heroines, Book and Press Month, Mother’s Day, 35th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 65th, 70th, 75th Anniversaries of the U.W.A.C.

For the preservation of our Ukrainian Artifacts and exhibits, facilities for same have been arranged in the new Auditorium. Many of these artifacts have been donated by local members. A Committee for Arts and Crafts has also been continually tending to Multicultural Displays, embroidering linens and souvenirs for kiosks, pysanky, kolchi as well as instructing others.

In 1985, the Local Branch started a Scholarship Fund. Scholarships are awarded to Ukrainian Orthodox students who successfully complete Grade 12 and who will continue their studies in Universities or recognized Colleges. A Scholarship Committee evaluates and examines the Scholarship applications and determines the worthy applicant. The Local has given cash awards to achieving students in Ukrainian School. Financial assistance was given to students enrolled in Ukrainian Courses in Summer School at Petro Hohyla Institute in Saskatoon.

Donations are disbursed to: St. Andrew’s College, Petro Mohyla Institute, Ukrainian Museum of Canada, Trident Orthodox Church Camp, National and Provincial Executives of U.W.A.C., Telemiracle, Canadian Cancer Society, St. Volodymyr Fund, women’s journal “Promin”, Ukrainian Voice and other causes.

Our own statistics show that the greatest amount of work and cash donations have been directed to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Yorkton and to the building of the new Auditorium. Donations were made to the furnishing of one room in the new Yorkton Hospital, to the Health Foundation for equipment.

Besides the above mentioned projects and activities, our members also visit the sick in the hospital, nursing home and Anderson Lodge.

To appropriately mark the 1000 years of Holy Baptism of Ukraine into the Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Faith, our Local Branch organized a special Committee to carry out the following Millennium Projects: cross-stitching of the linens for the Tables in the Nave and Sanctuary of the Church and the Priest’s Vestments. As a closing project for the Millennium Celebrations, two Banners with Icons were cross-stitched and sewn for the Church.

In 1991 our Local Branch, together with our Ukrainian Orthodox Congregation and other Ukrainian Churches and Ukrainian Organizations, of Yorkton and District organized a “Ukrainian Canadian Centennial Committee”. The purpose of this committee was to honor the Pioneers and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Settlement in Canada. At this time members of our U.W.A. held Executive positions of said Committees participated in the Centennial Program, contributed to the displays in the Heritage Room, helped stage a Centennial Fashion Show and other activities during the Ukrainian Week held in Yorkton from September 30th to October 6th, 1991.

Our cookbooks have been very popular. They have been published in four-editions: 1956, 1964, 1977, commemorating our 50th Anniversary and 1992 commemorating our 65th Anniversary.

Some of our members have had the opportunity to take different positions on the Provincial Ukrainian Women’s Association Executive. To date, Yorkton has once been the centre of the Saskatchewan U.W.A. Provincial Executive during the years of 1984 and 1985. Also in 1995 and 1996 some members served on the Provincial Executive when it was combined with Canora and Yorkton jointly. The year 2005 finds us in this same situation.

St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Parish Cultural Centre Place Name: Yorkton, SK A beautiful uniquely Byzantine style multi-purpose modern structure which can be used for banquets, dances, programs and conventions. This facility, erected in 1983, consists of 18,000 sq. feet floor area and can handle a capacity of 600 for banquets, programs and conventions, and 500 for dine and dance. The Centre consists of a large auditorium and stage, a meeting room, a cultural activity room, a fully modern kitchen, and a uniquely designed rotunda. The setting of the Parish blends in with the architectural design of St. Mary's Catholic Church and Sacred Heart High School.

St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Parish Cultural Centre
Place Name: Yorkton, SK
A beautiful uniquely Byzantine style multi-purpose modern structure which can be used for banquets, dances, programs and conventions. This facility, erected in 1983, consists of 18,000 sq. feet floor area and can handle a capacity of 600 for banquets, programs and conventions, and 500 for dine and dance.
The Centre consists of a large auditorium and stage, a meeting room, a cultural activity room, a fully modern kitchen, and a uniquely designed rotunda.
The setting of the Parish blends in with the architectural design of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Sacred Heart High School.

Over the years a wealth of Archival material has been chronologically bound in photo albums where our Branch’s interesting and memorable events are portrayed.

Members who have been known as the Founders of our U.W.A.C. or members who have in various ways made great contributions to our Olena Pchilka UWA Branch, have been granted Honorary Membership status.

Presently our membership consists of 60 members, who work together and are accountable to the Association, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Culture. We bow our heads in respect to the pioneering Founders of our Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada, and pray that God will bestow upon ALL the Members of the Association good health and endurance to carry on the burning “Torch” that they lit ?8 years ago.

This is our membership pin the “Smoloskep”, which is a Symbol of Eternal flame of Christian love.



ANASTASIA STECHISHEN……………………………………..1927-1944


ANNA GULKA……………………………………………………1946-1947

MARTHA DERKATCH…………………………………………..1948-1952

KATHERINE KURYLUK…………………………………………1949-1950, 1951

PAT PROCYSHEN………………………………………………..1953-1954

KAY PROCYSHYN………………………………………………1955-1960

ANNE KOWALYK……………………………………………….1961, to 1964 & 1972-1973

ANN CYMBALISTY……………………………………………..1965-1966

ELSIE POHORLIC………………………………………………..1967-1968

OLESIA PITTS……………………………………………………1969

ANASTASIA LYS…………………………………………………1970-1971

PAULINE CHABAN………………………………………………1974

ANNE KUCHERAVY………………….. …………………………1975-1977 & 1984-1987

LEVINA WINTONYK…………………………………………….1978-1981

NATALIE HESHKA ………………………………………………1982-1983

ANN FENUIK………………………………………………………1988-1990

SALLY SKWARCHUK……………………………………………1991-1994

CATHERINE WOLOSCHUK………………………………………1995-1996

ANNE HUDEMA…………………………………………………..1997-1998

PHYLLIS STANICKI………………………………………………1999-2000

DOBR. ORSIA EHRMANTRAUT…………………………………2001-2002

LILLIAN PROKOPCHUK…………………………………………2003-2004

VIRGINIA WHERESCHUK……………………………………….2005-2006


ToBapHcTBo YKpaiimio CaMocTinssHKiB




Executive 2001 – 2002

President G. Skwarchuk

Vice President G. Prokopchuk

Secretary W. Hrynkiw

Treasurer S. Zaharia

Chaplin Father Richard Ehrmantraut

Meetings: Every third Monday of the month in church lower level at 7:00 p.m.

Ukrainian Self-Reliance/Orthodox Men\ Association (TYC) – A Men’s Canadian Organization was formed under the umbrella of CYC in 1937. It is a counterpart of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada (CYK), the Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada (CYMK) and the Ukrainian Institutes. It is a self-reliant, non-political and fosters among its members the principles of self-reliance, self-help and self-respect.

OUR MISSION: Is to propagate the following TYC aims and objectives:

– To support, assist and contribute to the continued development of the Ukrainian Orthodox

Church of Canada and its affiliated institutions.

– To preserve the Ukrainian language and promote, cherish and sustain all facets of the

Ukrainian culture and heritage in Canada.

– To develop the highest qualities of Canadian Citizenship.

– To raise the standards of Canadian Ukrainians in social, economic and political spheres.

– To represent the Ukrainian Canadian Community.

– To provide assistance to the needy, refuges and the poor in co-operation with other Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian organizations in the community.

– To be concerned that our Ukrainian institution and media be viable and substainable.


– Active in all church religious and community activities. Our priest is an ardent member and Advisor. Our members are devoted church choir members, church executive and Board

Members, Altar and Elder duties, leaders, good church supporters, auditorium supporters

and good workers. TYC provides support to CYMK, youth activities, UCC (KYK) and

many Ukrainian and Charitable Organizations.

– Our members take an active part in National, Provincial and Local Functions such as, Conferences, Conventions, Church Diocese and Historic Functions.

DONATIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS – of $1,000 to $1,500 annually to:  Ukrainian Voice; Herald and Trident Press; P. Mohyla Institute and Ukrainian Total Immersion; Crystal Lake Trident Camp; CYC Foundation; Aid to the Chornobyl Children Fund; Ukrainian Sunday and Language School; Dance Ensemble – Troyanda Dancers; Telemlracle; Heart and Stroke Fund; Canadian Cancer Society; Ukrainian Congress (UCC); Church Icons; Ukrainian Encyclopedias; Mentally Disabled. All funds are raised through local projects.

COMMITTEES: – Sports; Grey Cup; Membership; Sick and Visitations; CYMK Advisors; UCC/KYK Representative; Ukrainian Cultural/Heritage and Youth Education.

TYC Membership Invitation and welcome to males 18 years and over of Ukrainian Orthodox

Faith agreeing to the Aims and Objectives of TYC.

Agreeing to the Aims and Objectives of TYC.

Respectfully submitted by – G. B. Skwarchuk, President

Has been inactive since the end of 2002.



Submitted by : MaryAnn Trischuk

Troyanda’s early beginnings were under the umbrella of the Ukrainian Women’s Association Olena Pchilka Branch in Yorkton. As part of the Reedna Shkola (Ukrainian School) programming, the youth were exposed and taught Ukrainian Dance as early as 1950. Instruction was provided by the Ukrainian School teacher and students had the opportunity to perform at the different concerts hosted by the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Transfiguration Church. These included Mother’s Day Concerts, Taras Shevchenko Concerts, St Nicholas Concerts, Malanka etc. Instruction was later provided by individuals who were moving into the community, for example teachers etc. These were young adults who had attended University or Technical Schools in Saskatoon, were usually residents of Mohyla Institute and were only too glad to share their dance experiences with the youth of the community.

The concept of creating a Ukrainian Dance troupe in the 1960’s apart from Ukrainian School grew and fulfilled a void in our Orthodox community. Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Ensemble was registered under the above name in 1981. At this time Troyanda parents developed, sewed and established club costuming which was used for many years.

To sew the Poltavski Vests for the girls, 33 yards of blue velvet was ordered from Mikado Silk in Saskatoon and thus was the beginning of a fabulous costume collection that Troyanda prides itself with today. Boots were ordered and purchased by the men’s club – TYC, at the time ten pairs of men’s (black) and women’s red boots were supplied from a custom boot maker in Hamilton. Also, in the 1980’s Troyanda developed and initiated the “Canadiana Outfit” which consisted of white circle skirts, Ukrainian embroidered (red) blouses, a red poyas and red character shoes for the girls. For the boys, white sharavaru were worn with red embroidered shirts and red boots. This particular costume was showcased on Profile (CKOS talent show) which was hosted by Hugh Vassos. Troyanda was vibrant on the Multi-Cultural Scene taking part in the numerous multicultural festivals, the Yorkton Short Film Festival (productions on 2nd Avenue) and many other events hosted by the city.

Today, Troyanda strives to fulfill its primary goal of being part of the mainstream providing an opportunity for our young students to express themselves through dance and more importantly develop an appreciation for one of our most beautiful Ukrainian traditions.

Troyanda is a self-governing, non-profit organization under the umbrella of the Holy Transfiguration Ukrainian Orthodox Church dedicated to the preservation and awareness of Ukrainian culture and tradition through the artistic and expressive art form of dance. Parents in the 1960’s took the initiative as volunteers to be involved in all aspects of the organization. This has not changed in over four decades of the club’s successes. Today, we boast a cohesive group of individuals who work tirelessly to ensure the group has quality instruction, incredible costuming and a broader knowledge of Ukrainian regions.

With shared talents and insights we all participate in creating a unique situation in which to nurture our children.

Troyanda is proud of its accomplishments, and continue to be ambassadors of Ukrainian tradition in our community. Public performances have been numerous from the Western Premiers Conference, Dance Saskatchewan Dare to Dance and National Leadership Conferences to the annual “Christmas Cheer” presentations at the Yorkton and District Nursing Home and Senior Lodges. A Spring Showcase is held annually and the dancers attend festivals and competitions yearly. Top honors have been achieved at all competitions this group has attended over the years. They include Tavria(Regina),Cheremosh Edmonton), Yachminka (Russell), Kalyna Cup (Yorkton), Svoboda (North Battleford), Prairie Lily (Saskatoon), Tryzub (Calgary), Barvinok (PrinceAlbert) Zoloto (Winnipeg), Troyanda (Brandon) and the Dauphin National Ukrainian Festival.

In 2005, Saskatchewan is celebrating its centennial and we are proud to be part of these celebrations with a compliment of 50 dancers ranging in age from five to nineteen. We encourage membership in our ensemble to children who have a keen sense of learning where their ancestors came from and by offering them exposure to a number of regional dances. It is with much pride that we can provide instruction from Western Ukraine, Hutzul, Bukovina, Transcarpathia, Volyn and Lemko Regions.

Our children are the Ukrainians of the future, by providing them with training and expertise we are providing them with a wonderful experience of their Ukrainian heritage.

Ukrainian Orthodox Youth – C.Y.M.K. Simon Petlura, Yorkton Branch

Yorkton Branch of CYMK was first organized in the early 1940’s, with the help of Mrs. Anastazia Stechishen, she was the President of the Ukrainian Women’s Association. With her leadership, guidance and encouragement, she organized a young and very enthusiastic group of CYMK members. Together they worked hard towards the growth and upkeep of the church.

Their accomplishments spanned over many years, with their involvement and participation in different functions and programs, such as St. Nicholas, Taras Shevchenko, Mother’s Day, etc. They also learned to write Easter eggs, and different crafts, such as cross stitch, embroidery, make carnations out of crepe paper for Mother’s Day. The boys also served as Alter Boys during the Divine Liturgy.

One very special occasion was when they celebrated the 25th Anniversary of National CYMK, which took place on June 10th, 1956. There was a brief lapse in activities, but before long, under the sponsorship of the Ukrainian Women’s Association, a special day was set. This was a recognition day of all our Ukrainian Orthodox students and was referred to as “Students Day”, which, from then on, was observed annually. On this day a special service is celebrated in their honor, followed by a non banquet served to all in attendance. We were also honored to have as our guest, the provincial CYMK president, Myron Kowalski and together a new executive was elected and CYMK was reorganized and revitalized. All this took place on November 5th, 1961.

They continued to take an active part in the programs in our Church community. One such program was an evening of joyful entertainment. They performed the traditional Ukrainian dances, choir singing, musical items, duets, dialogues and theatrical skits and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. With this program, they traveled and performed in surrounding districts. They also went caroling to help raise funds towards the construction of our new church. They joined and sang wit the local church choir and worked very diligently with the older members to realize everyone’s dream when we would all be able to worship in the new Ukrainian Orthodox Church which was dedicated on October 25, 1964 and is located on Bradbrooke Drive.

We are very proud of our youth and their involvement and accomplishments in our Church community as well as their participation in the activities in their respective schools and community in general.

Prepared and submitted by:

Sally Skwarchuk


Home Town or Home Community:


Our Story:


Hard living conditions, oppression of Ukrainian people by the Polish government, and a desire for a better life encouraged our parents, Ivan and Oksenia Muzichuk, to immigrate to Canada. Following World War I, our part of Ukraine was annexed to Poland. The Polish government embarked on a program of settling Polish people in that part of Ukraine near Kovel. Dad was able to sell his land for cash. This money repaid the loan he had on a woodlot purchase, provided fares to Canada for all members of the family, Mother, Dad, Pete, Fred, Harry and Nina, and a sum of $600 to begin a new life in a new land.

Ivan and Oksenia Muzichuk

Ivan and Oksenia Muzichuk

All through April of 1929, sorting and packing were done. We had a huge wooden trunk, a smaller wooden chest for Dad’s tools, a similar chest containing a few dishes and cutlery that we needed along the journey, and a couple suitcases with our clothes for the trip. We went to Danzig by train from Kovel and then took a ten-day trip across the Atlantic on the “Luthiania” to Halifax. The youngsters enjoyed the ocean voyage; there was so much to see and explore. Mother was seasick the entire trip. From Halifax we travelled by train to Punnichy, Saskatchewan and arrived there at 5:00 a.m. Our trunks were unloaded. We sat there until the village awakened and Dad went to enquire about a ride to Mr. Husak, our sponsor. Later a big truck came along, loaded all our trunks and us and we rode the 16 miles northeast to our friends’ farm. We stayed there for two weeks. Dad was taken to Punnichy to buy a quarter section of land SW 3, 29, 16, W2. Dad and Pete walked six miles daily to our new land and built a 16 x 20 house of upright poles and woven willows. This abode was plastered inside and outside. The floor was made of clay.

With a borrowed wagon and a team of horses, we moved to the wee home. It started to rain! Dad and Pete stretched two rolls of tarpaper over the unfinished roof and the children were put into the loft to keep dry. It rained for three days. Mother tried to cook on the stove that was set up in the open. The stove steamed away and sputtered as the rain fell on it. We welcomed the flitch of bacon from the Old Land, which Mother had nestled amidst the bedding bundle in the huge trunk!

There were sloughs nearby for water, but we needed drinking water. A shallow seepage well was dug by hand and served us well for several years. I remember going out to the well in the evening and searching the sky for the Big Dipper, Big W, Orion and the Seven Sisters.

This was our home for three years while Dad and Pete built a two-story house. Our only income that first year was selling willow pickets, rabbit skins and seneca roots. There was no garden or field crop until the next summer. Dad bought a cow and calf, plus two horses and a wagon. The boys snared rabbits throughout the winter and that was our meat supply. Mother was ingenious in preparing Ukrainian dishes and soups. (Now when I make these items, I realize how much time was spent in preparing these meals.) Dad was busy building chairs, a table, cupboards, a barn, a granary, a rail fence on three sides of our quarter, and he broke 30 acres of land. Could you imagine how many trees he felled with the axe so that he could build all this? He cut hay with a scythe and gathered it with a wooden rake that he had made. John arrived in September from Ukraine to join the family after clearing military requirements in Poland. He and Pete worked on farms in Raymore, Semans, Dafoe and Perryville areas. John was also able to get work shingling the pool at Manitou.

Nina and Harry with cats and dog. Year: 1934 Our new house which Dad built.

Nina and Harry with cats and dog.
Year: 1934
Our new house which Dad built.

Later we rented a quarter with some summer-fallow on it. That summer Fred plowed the 90 acres with three horses and a walking plow. This proved rewarding as the following year produced a good crop. Mother planted the seeds she brought from Ukraine and our garden flourished.

The three younger children started school at Perryville. Fred was 15 and in Grade 1; Harry was 10. Nina, 6, began the following spring. We walked the two miles to school year after year. Much later Harry got an old bicycle and repaired it for travelling all over the neighborhood. In the winter he fashioned a couple sets of skis and we’d cut across the fields to school or to visit neighbors. Never did we ride horses to school; they were needed for farm work. One winter when Nina didn’t have winter boots for walking, Mother wrapped her feet in cloths, put a shawl over her head and torso, and the two brothers pulled her to school on a home-made sled. Near the school all evidence was hidden in the bush and Nina rode piggy-back on one of her brother’s back. The trip home was repeated, but we waited at the school until the other scholars had gone home ahead of us.

School was an important time in our lives. We were eager to learn the English language correctly, to learn the songs, and to read the books offered in our small library. I still recall Kazan, Barry – Son of Kazan, Girl of the Limberlost, Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm and many Zane Gray books. We still recite some of the poems we learned in our classes. Christmas concerts were the highlight of the year. We soon knew our parts and everybody’s part, and for several weeks after Christmas, these concerts were re-enacted as we visited our neighbors. Winter school holidays were long because of the cold and snow. Summer holidays were a month and a half.

Fred had the advantage at school because he had learned arithmetic and to write in Ukrainian and Polish before coming to Canada. His big chore was to learn the English language, but he easily advanced to higher grades. Harry and Nina had not been to school before and had to learn everything from scratch. Harry was mechanically minded and a musician. Nina and Fred became teachers and also enjoyed music. Harry got a crystal set, put it together and brought much joy to the young folk on Saturday nights as we shared earphones to listen to Chicago and Des Moines.

Muzichuk Family Year: 1935 Oksenia Muzichuk, Nina, Ivan Muzichuk, John, Pete, Fred, Harry

Muzichuk Family
Year: 1935
Oksenia Muzichuk, Nina, Ivan Muzichuk, John, Pete, Fred, Harry

We had to help with chores and fieldwork, and Mother needed help in the house, garden and yard. Every Sunday morning Dad would read the liturgy and sing the responses as well. Usually we helped with the singing, sometimes in four parts. Dad made a three-cornered cupboard in the south-east corner of the big room. Here he kept his prayer books, an icon, candles; a place to worship. The nearest Orthodox church was 20 miles away. We did manage a trip once or twice a year when the weather was nice, but it took a whole day to get there and back with horses and wagon.

In 1936 Dad inspired the Ukrainian people around us to build a church a mile from our home. Each family brought 10 logs. The men built the church, shingled the roof and put a copula on top. To make some money for these expenses, we held dances in our house. The admission was 25 cents and the ladies brought lunch. Music was supplied free by anyone who played an instrument. Dad took his turn on the violin and Harry on the guitar. Later Dad donated a bell for the bell tower, and a chandelier for the interior of the church. During the long winter evenings he made candle holders, frames for the icons, and countless artifacts that are traditionally found in churches of Kiev. His tool was mainly a jack knife and his wood was apple boxes. Services were held in the summertime because of deep winter snow and not much heat generated by the round tin heater. All winter the men, women, older boys and girls practiced choir selections and did we sing out from the choir loft at the next service!

The last service was held in 1970 when we celebrated a memorial service for Mother. The “Blue Church” still stands on Grid 640 and many people call in to see the architecture, the graves and the write-up about the church which remains a tribute to the pioneers who, with determination, dedication, and perseverance brought the Ukrainian religion and tradition to a new land. In 2001 a web site was established to honor the pioneers who worked so hard to have an Orthodox Church in their vicinity. You could view the site on the internet by going to

The Muzichuk brothers: John, Pete, Fred, Harry

The Muzichuk brothers: John, Pete, Fred, Harry

Sundays were great days when young people congregated in an open space, usually our yard, for ball games. Everyone played for the fun of it. Saturdays were house cleaning days and we went through the entire house with scrub brush, soap, water and rag. There were picnics during the summer with ball games, races, stunts and visiting. Oh, that homemade ice cream! The winter nights were long. I used to help Mother tear the soft feathers off the feather shafts. We would sing or she would talk about her life as a refugee during World War I and during her growing up years. Sometimes we would embroider articles to beautify the room.

John married Pauline Bashutski, had 2 daughters and farmed nearby. Pete married Nadia Prokopuik, had 3 sons, and also farmed in that area. Harry married Myrtle Runyan, had 2 daughters and later 3 boys. Nina married Jack Smith and had 2 daughters.

In later years Dad bought a quarter five miles from home. He started building again – buildings of squared logs neatly fitted. Our parents moved to their new home in 1945 and the old farm was left for Harry and Fred. During his life in Canada Dad built 21 wooden log buildings. Mother served as a midwife throughout the neighborhood and 24 children called her “Baba”. Dad kept bees as a young man in Ukraine and continued this hobby as long as he lived. In later years when health deteriorated, Mother helped him.

In the 1940’s the depression was over. Better times had arrived. The children were on their own. Fred and Nina were teaching. John, Pete and Harry were farming. Dad and Mother lived contentedly on the little farm. We had come a long way since June 4, 1929, and had accomplished a great deal. Dad’s dreams and ambitions were fulfilled in this land of freedom and opportunity. He enjoyed building for the future. Many of the buildings he made are still standing – the two-story house, the church, the granaries, the barns, the house on the little farm. Our forefathers developed our country and for a short time enjoyed a better life. Canada became their country.

Dad passed away in 1961, Mother in 1969, Harry in 1979, Pete in 1992 and John in 1995.

Nina and Fred Muzichuk Year: 1967

Nina and Fred Muzichuk
Year: 1967

In 1966 Fred and Nina visited our two sisters living in Ukraine, as well as our nephews, nieces, uncles and aunts. We saw the house where we had lived, our orchard, the meadow where Fred and Pete herded cows, the river where the boys swam and fished, and the sandy bank where Nina played as a child. In 1985, Fred went back to Ukraine and in 1986 Nina and her two daughters, Kathy and Joan, travelled to Ukraine to meet many relatives. We often think what a brave man our Dad had been to set out on an unknown destiny at the age of 55 and accomplishing so much for his family and community. We are grateful for all he has done and are thankful that Ivan and Oksenia were our parents.

Submitted by Fred Muzichuk and Nina (Muzichuk) Smith

LOZINSKY Family History (1907-1985) Yesteryear

Home Town or Home Community:

Kelliher, SK

Our Story:

YESTERYEAR: the Lozinsky Family History (1907 – 1985)


Up to the age of 14 I lived on a farm in the parklands of east-central Saskatchewan. The last ten of those 14 years make up the gist of this narrative, which is by no means boring. Bear with me and read on. You will not be disappointed!

A Miniature United Nations

Our district was settled by immigrants from Norway and Sweden, Ukraine, Poland and Russia, Slovakia and Hungry, England, Ireland and Scotland. We had farmers who came from France, Quebec, Holland and the Red River settlement. Our village even had a Chinese restaurant. Racial tolerance was observed by most. Intermarriages took place, especially among the Protestants. The Ukrainian and Roman Catholics also intermarried. After all, we had 6 different churches.

Back Then

My grandparents were pioneers in the truest sense of the word. Both of them were immigrants from the double village of Jastrobetz-Hannusivka in that part of Western Ukraine in the pre-WWI period where Austria reigned supreme. Born as Austrian citizens with Austrian passports (Russia ruled Eastern Ukraine then), my mother, with her younger brother and sister and her parents, Jacob and Euphemia Kozakewich took the train from Lviv, Ukraine to Hamburg, Germany, boarded a ship to Halifax. Off the coast of Newfoundland the ship was caught in a field of icebergs for two weeks. The ship’s fog horn sounded almost continuously. Upon reaching Halifax they took a railroad colonial coach to Rossbum, Manitoba. This was way back in 1907. The next year my grandfather Jacob scoured the newly-formed province in search of good land and a heavy stand of timber. He acquired a quarter section of land for $10.00 south of Sheho, SK brought his family to Yorkton where he purchased oxen, a wagon and supplies and followed prairie trails to Sheho. By 1912 he and his entire family became naturalized citizens, that is, British subjects, as Canadian citizenship did not come until 1949. As he lay dying in the hospital in 1938, my grandfather predicted the exact day and hour of his death, as did his father, Andrew Kozakewich in Ukraine decades earlier!

John George and Maria Lozinsky

John George and Maria Lozinsky

My father was born in the Ukrainian village of Velyki Ochi, now called Vielki Oczi, in Poland.

At age 17, he went looking for work in 1907. He got a job digging coal in Germany. He injured his leg inside a coal mine, recuperated, and in 1911 left for Canada. He worked on farms of Ukrainian-speaking Mennonites, on the railroad, anywhere there was work to be found. He met my Mother, and after a whirlwind courtship of one week, they got married because Lent was approaching. This was 1918. My father was 28 and my mother was 18. They both caught Spanish influenza and nearly died.

Searching for Water

My parents went farming near Ituna. Over the course of her 40 year marriage with father. Mother bore 13 children, five of whom died as infants. Mother took these deaths in stride. When asked how she felt about them she replied, “Boh dow, Boh uzhow, ” or simply, ‘God gave. God took away.’

Theirs was a pioneering spirit, forced by necessity. They had to make do with what they had or manufacture their own items. So my father made tiny coffins for my deceased tiny siblings, and had them buried by the Redemptorist Fathers in Ituna. The wooden crosses that he made and placed beside the graves decayed, and were not replaced. To this day our family does not know where their tiny graves are located in the cemetery. Our family moved to West Bend, SK looking for a farm with water. It was 1932, well into the Depression Years. By this time drought had set in and the soil was drifting. In the dead of winter, hauling water for the livestock from a nearby lake, my father, on more than one occasion, tipped over the steel barrels full of water as the horses pulled the sled up to the water trough.

Again looking for a farm with a well, he finally located one north of Kelliher. This farm had 2 wells which never dried up! The family moved to the next farm by driving the livestock, poultry and swine on the municipal road for some 20 km. This was 1938 and I was half a year old. In 19471 remember father coming home from town with half a wagon load of apples from Ontario which were shipped West by train. I think the apples were free, and we had apple pies until those apples ran out or decayed. I can’t remember which came first.

Early Recollections

As I can recall, the earliest impressions of my life on our farm in the early 1940’s, some 16 km north of Kelliher, SK were hot summers and cold winters. I remember snow banks 9 to 10 feet high in which we made tunnels. One winter morning in 1948 or 49 our thermometer dipped to minus fifty-two degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. That morning we saw a mirage in the northern sky, just above the horizon. It was the village of West Bend, SK where I was born a decade earlier. Its grain elevators were upside down, as were the rest of the buildings. Although that village was about 20 km away from our farm, the mirage image seemed magnified because my father identified its buildings quite easily.

The Lozinsky Family Year: 1989 Standing: left to right - Theodore, Michael, Nicholas, Joseph. Seated:left to right - Katherine, Marion, Anne. Pauline (insert)

The Lozinsky Family
Year: 1989
Standing: left to right – Theodore, Michael, Nicholas, Joseph. Seated:left to right – Katherine, Marion, Anne. Pauline (insert)

Although there were eight of us children on the farm the oldest one, Anne was already out working, sending father the much needed money to pay for our three quarters of land of 480 acres, almost a section. Sister Pauline, age 16, simply left home and took off somewhere for one reason or another.. This was in 1941. We later learned she married a Manitoba boy and they went to  Hawaii. My two older brothers found work in a lumber camp near Carrot River, SK around 1946. Nicholas, age 17, used a double-bladed ax to cut trees while Michael, age 15, was hired as a cookie or cook’s helper. Nicholas found work with the CNR in Transcona in 1947 and Michael followed him to Manitoba soon after. Katherine found a job at Fort San where she contracted TB and became a patient there instead of an employee. When she was discharged she, like my sister Marion, joined Anne in Winnipeg. That left Freddie (Theodore) and me at home. Freddie, nicknamed ‘King’ from the comic book hero King of the Royal Mounted, later left for Winnipeg.

Predicting War

One evening in 1949 Freddie brought our attention to a red streak of northern lights stretching across the sky in a south easterly north westerly direction. Mother (Maria) remarked that a war was about to begin. Her prediction was correct. In 1950 the Korean War broke out! Mother knew what she was talking about. She said that on the night of January 25-26,1938 the sky was illuminated with fiery red northern lights. The following year WWII broke out in Europe! Horses did everything, supplying our transportation in summer, pulling a democrat or a wagon, and in winter pulling a sleigh or a closed-in cutter with a tin, wood-burning heater inside. They pulled the plow, the harrows, the seed drill, the binder, the wagon rack for hay and sheaves and the stone boat. Surprisingly, we did not ride horses to school but walked there some three km away. One winter father, mother and I were coming home from a wedding. Father, still ‘happy’ from the celebrations, decided to come home via our cow pasture. He drove our closed in cutter over a block of salt for cattle and overturned the cutter. The door on the little firebox opened by the jar of the cutter as it hit its side on the frozen ground and glowing embers fell out. One such ember fell on mother’s face and burned the bridge of her nose.


My father was a well-digger and a well-cleaner, too. One day a neighbor asked him to clean out the well as it was dry. Father was lowered into the well with a lit candle with him. If the candle went out then he would not descend further, as he did not want to be suffocated. He cleaned up the bottom of the well until his small shovel hit a rock. He could not pry the rock out, so he called for a small iron bar to be lowered to him. When he pried that rock with the bar and moved it, water started pouring all around. By the time he tied himself to the rope to be hoisted up he was waist high in water. It seemed that he removed a rock that covered a spring or an artesian vein. Then another neighbor asked him to build a cribbing for his well as its walls were caving in. Father built two wooden cribbing sections, square rather than round, and with the help of neighbors and a log tripod with a pulley and ropes, he lowered the cribbing into the enlarged well hole. The neighbor requesting the cribbing was leaning on one of the tripod poles, looking into the well, watching the cribbing go down into the water. Upon impulse I went to another  location to get a better look. I glanced at the neighbor and to my horror I saw the log tripod tip over. The neighbor fell head first into the well, did a complete somersault and landed sitting on top of the floating cribbing in an upright position! He was hauled up by ropes and he died that same night from internal bleeding. He was in his ’70s. I was 6 years old at the time. That image was burned into my brain forever. It was my first escape from death.

Cheating Death

As we had no power or telephone or running water we improvised. Father was a jack of all trades but a master of none. He even had his own blacksmith shop. He fixed and repaired everything. In 1947 we finally got a gasoline tractor with big steel wheels. It was called a McCormick Deering 15-30. The numbers meant it had 15 horsepower on the draw bar and 30 horsepower on the pulley. A year later we got a 1928 Model A Ford. Then came a quarter ton Ford pickup truck and  Ferguson tractor and finally he traded in the truck for a quarter ton 1951 Ford pickup truck. I well remember sitting on the McCormick Deering tractor on the floor behind brother Michael as we were tilling the summer fallow. The large spiked rear tractor wheel hit a rock and threw me off the tractor into the path of the approaching huge steel discs that were turning up the soil. To this day I do not know why I was not run over by that heavy disc tiller and sliced into pieces. But I do know that the heavy rear steel wheel passed over my ankle. Nothing happened since the soil was soft and my leg sank into it, with the wheel harmlessly passing over it. That was my second escape from death.

The Ice-House

Since we had no electricity or refrigeration to preserve our food, father built an ice-house which consisted of a rectangular pit dug in the ground, about 8 feet wide and 12 feet long and 6 feet deep, with steps going in. The pit was covered with a roof and 2 gabled sides, and then a shed with its own roof and four walls was built over the entire roofed pit. So the ice-house really had double insulation, the inner roof to keep the cold in and the shed to keep the spring and summer heat out. One of my many jobs was to fill the ice-house with snow early each winter. Now, mother had a place to freeze the meat, and in the spring and summer time, to preserve the milk, cream and eggs. The snow in the ice-house lasted until mid-July.

The Second World War

I remember in the early 1940’s when soldiers, really neighboring farm and village boys in uniforms, were visiting my sisters when they were on leave. I remember Mounties in patrol cars from the Ituna detachment chasing draft-dodgers on motorbikes about our country side. I remember ration coupons being used by my mother to buy scarce commodities such as tea, coffee, sugar and other meal ingredients. Meat, eggs, milk, cream, flour and vegetables were  no problem as we had livestock, poultry and a huge garden on our farm. Mother even made her own white cottage cheese, and we all took turns making butter.

WWII was being fought far away across the oceans, but trainer planes from the Dafoe Air Base near Leroy, SK used the huge black roof creamery in our village with its painted white lettering of KELLIHER CREAMERY COMPANY on the roof as a marker to turn around and fly back to their air base. Later, I learned that Big Quill Lake near Wynyard was used by the Dafoe Air Base bombing crew for target practice.

The Dieppe Raid August 19,1942

My uncle, my mother’s brother, signed up as a soldier in the Canadian Army in 1940. He was working in Ontario at the time and he enlisted with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. After taking basic training in boot camp, his outfit was shipped off to England and they really did nothing but drill until the Allied Command decided to find out the strength of the German armed forces on the Continent. One day my uncle found himself leaping out of a landing craft into the waters of the English Channel off the coast of Dieppe, France on August 19,1942. When his unit secured a bridge in town later that day my uncle was felled by 4 bullets from a German machine gun. His commanding officer erroneously reported him killed in action and this message reached Ottawa. A funeral was held for him back in Ituna. In reality my uncle was taken to a hospital by the Germans where he recovered and then he ended up in a prisoner of war camp. One day a German officer asked the Canadian prisoners if they knew anything about Massey Harris farm machinery. My uncle spoke up and said that he did. The officer took him to the Kommandant of the camp. When the Kommandant asked him where he came from, my uncle replied that he was born in Sheho, SK but his family moved to a farm near Ituna. The Kommandant replied that he, himself, came from a farm near Wynyard, Saskatchewan!

Harvest Time

I have never met an older farm person who did not like harvest. First came haying. Horse-drawn mowers cut the tall grass which dried into hay. Then the hay rake piled the hay into piles which were later picked by farm workers with pitch fork unto a hay rack on wheels and delivered to the haystack, which to me resembled a large loaf of bread in shape. When we built a large barn with a hay loft or attic, the hay was pitched in there to keep it out of the rain and snow.

38th Birthday Year: 2000 Left to right:John, Michael (grandson), Tim, James (celebrant), Sarah (grandaughter), Fay Lozinsky. Joseph is taking the picture

38th Birthday
Year: 2000
Left to right:John, Michael (grandson), Tim, James (celebrant), Sarah (grandaughter), Fay Lozinsky. Joseph is taking the picture

Before the age of grain combines, the horse-drawn grain binder was the thing. This huge machine gobbled up the standing wheat or oats, swallowed it, and vomited sheaves unto a collapsible side carrier fork. Then we kids put 6 or more of these sheaves upright into a bundle, bunched them together at the top to shed off rain or snow. This bundle was called a stook. It was back-breaking work. I began stocking at age 8.

Our family got excited when the threshing machine was pulled to our farm by a tractor. It was set up for threshing by lining up the tractor drive pulley with the operating pulley on the thresher and connecting the two with a long, wide belt. The long, hollow pipe which threw out the straw, was turned by crank to blow the straw with the prevailing wind. I remember the men and their teams of horses and hay racks who would travel with the thresher and bring in the sheaves off the field and feed it into the ever-hungry thresher. I also remember the teamsters’ huge appetites, and the smoking, the joking and story-telling that went after dark. Baloney sandwiches ruled the day, as did hot coffee and tea. Mother served hot coffee or tea on the hottest days. It sounds strange, but the men’s thirst for water was quenched after they finished perspiring, while cold water made them thirstier! At our place mother served generous portions of meat, potatoes and gravy, supplemented with pyrohi, or perogies and cabbage rolls, as well as borsch. I even served as a field pitcher and sometimes as a spike pitcher, throwing the sheaves into the yawning mouth of the feeder on the thresher. At first, when I was younger and smaller, my job was to shovel grain away from the granary window where the grain spout poured the wheat in. That grain dust was something else.

Gardening was different. It was more leisurely. We only hurried if a passing rain cloud threatened to drench our dug-up potatoes, carrots or beats. Since peas and beans and cucumbers and onions were continuously being picked and eaten, there was not much left to gather by early fall. The potatoes were all bagged in grain bags while the pumpkins awaited Hallowe’en or being turned into pies.

Other Chores

Fencing on a farm was not the Olympic sport that we know. It was putting up a barb wire fence to keep our cattle from eating up our neighbors’ hay or grain fields. Father bought a wire-stretcher, a gizmo of multiple ropes and pulleys which was anchored to a post or a tree on one end and to the fence wire on the other end. The rope was pulled several yards and the wire became tight and leaned against the prepared fence pickets to be stapled in.

Young Cossacks Year: 2000 John Lozinsky (second from the right) standing guard at the Kyiv Ukranian Folkfest pavilion in Saskatoon.

Young Cossacks
Year: 2000
John Lozinsky (second from the right) standing guard at the Kyiv Ukranian Folkfest pavilion in Saskatoon.

Other chores we had to do was clean out the barns all winter, gather eggs, milk the cows, drive the cattle to pasture and back each day, cut wood for the winter to feed our wood-burning cooking stoves and heaters. We also pumped water for the livestock during winter, brushed and curried the horses, especially their manes and tails. We had fancy harnesses for them for Sunday drives to church or to town, as well as work harnesses for farm work. We greased and oiled the farm machinery, took out the ashes from the stove and heaters and kept the boiler on the side of the stove always full of water for dishwashing and baths. Father even bought a hand-cranked hair clipper for the horses. In the spring we would turn the crank on the iron stand and Father would run the cable-connected hair clipper over the thick winter coat of horse hair and clip it off, exposing lice colonies.

He always cut our hair on Sundays, but not with the horse hair clippers. We all took turns operating the cream separator, the washing machines, ranging from the wash board to the hand-operated, oscillating washer. When my parents retired and lived in the village, my father bought a gasoline-powered washing machine with an attached clothes wringer.

One of the chores which I never did perform was to take some eggs, walk 16 km to town, sell the eggs and buy father tobacco and cigarette papers. Sometimes, if my brothers or sisters were lucky, they would catch a ride with a neighbor driving to town. But in winter one could freeze to death. Father later died of massive cancer in his lungs, throat and mouth. That was in 1958. The cobalt bomb radiation treatment he underwent in the mid-fifties did him no good. It just burned the hair off the back of his head.

School Davs

My father was one of the 3 Trustees of the rural John School District. His job was to plow a fireguard around the school building and to cut firewood for the barrel-shaped heater in school. The other Trustee was the Chairman and called and chaired meetings, but I never knew what the third Trustee did. Our teachers migrated from one rural one-roomed school to another each year or two, living in nearby teacherages, or boarded with nearby farmers. More fortunate teachers would get teaching positions in villages and towns if they were lucky. Each rural school would hold a field day for sports. The winners would go to the village and compete against the other rural schools in foot races, high jump, long and triple jump. One year teacher’s head became swollen with pride when our little school won the grand aggregate pennant for winning the most points in the various sporting events. In winter we played hockey with curved willow stems which served as hockey sticks and a tin can for a puck. Other scholars brought their own skis to school. A tall straw pile on a nearby neighbor’s farm once beckoned some of us to climb it and slide down its snowy sides. One boy came down swiftly and knocked out a front tooth with his knee which had jerked upward when he hit the ground. From then on there was no more straw pile sliding.

The other ‘sport’ was to slide downhill on the nearby road on rainy days during the rain. When one student slit the sole of his bare foot open with a piece of glass in the mud, there was no more mud sliding. I well remember one early spring day when the snow had already melted off the bare fields but the sloughs were still frozen. On my way to school I took a short cut through the fields.

Encountering one such frozen slough I went on the ice, reached the center of the pond only to break through and go to the muddy bottom with a big splash. Muddied and drenched, and with soaked pant legs and socks and mud-caked boots, I contemplated continuing to school in such a mess. And if I returned home, I would get the what for from my parents. Since I was already late for school, and knowing how strict my teacher was with tardy pupils, I stayed by that muddy slough all day and came home at what I considered to be the usual time. Upon reaching the farmhouse I quickly cleaned up and changed. My parents and my teacher never knew what happened! I was in Grade 5 at the time.

Rural Churches

On Sundays we drove to church if there was a service there. We drove in a democrat in summer and in a sleigh or cutter in winter. Later, we drove to church and to town with our hardy Model A Ford.

As the nearest Ukrainian Catholic Church was at least 20 km away, we would sometimes attend a nearer Roman Catholic Church built by Polish settlers. When a Ukrainian church was built in the village we attended catechism classes there in summer. These classes were taught by the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate, a Congregation of nuns founded in Zhuzhyl, Ukraine in 1892. Last year this Congregation celebrated its centennial anniversary in Canada.


Our entertainment consisted of attending school and church picnics with their ball games and kiddy sports. We also had box and pie socials in our school, which also served as a community hall. Unmarried farm girls would prepare pies or cardboard boxes full of pastry, and the bachelors would try to guess which pie or box belonged to their sweethearts and bid on them. Then, of course, they would dance with their beloved all evening.

On the farm we made our own fun, whether installing a swing or floating a raft in a slough.

Our village held its sports day each summer, usually in July. Baseball teams from neighboring villages would come and compete with each other. Our village even had a small horse race track, a tennis court and, of course, the ever present pool hall, and, believe it or not, a puffed wheat factory!

My oldest brother loved to imbibe. Once, brother Michael, who lived in Kelowna at the time, decided to buy four gallons of wine—a gallon each for his two brothers-in-law and gallon for himself and a gallon for Nicholas, the imbiber. On the way to Winnipeg one of the gallons rolled against another and broke, spilling its contents on the trunk floor. Upon reaching Winnipeg Michael, ever the practical joker, declared that broken gallon was the one that belonged to Nicholas!

Going into the Future

I took my Grades 1 to 7 Grades in Johnson School. For some reason, my Father decided that I should take Grade 8 in town. I boarded with an elderly Swedish couple. The man was a stone mason and brick layer by trade. I would go with him and build and repair chimneys. His wife made yogurt, a taste for which I developed at a young age. In 1952, my Father’s health began to get worse.

He decided to retire. He asked me what I planned to do with my life, to go farming or to go to school. I had 5 minutes to decide. I was 14 at the time. When I recalled all the roots and stones I picked, all the mosquitos I swatted, all the wood I cut, all the fences I mended and all the manure I removed from the barn and spread over the fields, I opted for education. Now the die was cast. He quickly sold the farm, bought a house in town and retired. I finished high school in Kelliher and obtained BA, B Ed and M Ed Degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. In1981 I obtained a Ph D Degree in Canadian History in Munich, Germany.

I taught in Big River and in Kelliher High Schools, and in the Saskatoon Public School – a total of 29 years.

I began teaching at age 23 and retired at age 53. I have three sons, James, Tim and John, as well as a granddaughter, Sarah Lozinsky.

As a son of pioneers, I have many more anecdotes that I can tell. But in tribute to my late mother, I wish to relate two incidences that occurred to her. Hers was a difficult life. She experienced 6 major surgeries in her lifetime and nearly died from gangrene when her broken collar bone pierced her skin. As she was operated upon in the Yorkton hospital to splice a ruptured ulcer in 1979, my mother died on the operating table. In the interlude before she was revived by the medical staff she had a near-death experience. She heard angelic choirs and saw a bright light approaching her from the distance. Inside that bright light she saw her parents, her husband, all her uncles and aunts and even neighbors who had died. They were all beckoning to her to step into the light. She was about to do so when the light quickly vanished. The doctor had revived her! A week later she did not recall a single detail of that experience. It seems to me that it was wiped off her memory, telling us that we are not to know about such things ahead of time. The second incident occurred when my mother, age 85, was in a nursing home in Saskatoon. One day she told my sister and me that her deceased mother visited her that weekend. She said that her mother told her that it was time to go Home!

Dr. Joseph Lozinsky Family Tree Year: 2003 (Diagram)

Dr. Joseph Lozinsky Family Tree
Year: 2003

Mother died three weeks later!

Experiences to Last

When I was in high school I went to Manitoba to get a job during the summer holidays. I ended up working in a gravel pit, loading rail gravel cars full of gravel. My job was to bring the empty gravel car down the hill into the pit by releasing the circular hand brake and tightening it as the car approached the conveyer belt. One day the brake failed to work and I came rolling down the slope and smashed into a gravel car which was still loading with gravel. I was knocked off car and started falling unto the tracks. On the way down I grabbed a ladder rung and saved myself. This was my third brush with death. The fourth time I nearly died was in the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon under the railway bridge across from the Queen Elizabeth Power Station. Barely a swimmer, I joined a friend of mine, a good swimmer, for a dip in the river one summer to cool off.

He went ahead and found a ledge on the pier which was under the water. He climbed on it, dove into the water and tried to swim back to me. The current was wicked and he was swept down stream.

Being a strong swimmer he soon reach the shore and walked back to me and sat down to rest. I dove into the water and tried to find that under-water ledge. I could not, and the current dragged me down to the bottom. I prayed in my heart for help and I felt myself being lifted to the surface. When I emerged, there was my friend sitting on the shore, cleaning his feet, completely oblivious to the danger I just encountered. Eventually I learned to swim fairly well!

Written by Dr. Joseph Lozinsky
Saskatoon, SK
Date: September 21,2003

Bolton, Melvin Clayton & Lorna Margaret (nee Vestby) & Family

Home Town or Home Community:


Our Story:



Melvin Clayton Bolton was born October 28th, 1925 to Catherine Pearl (Hartley) and Howard Malcolm Bolton. Melvin took all his schooling in Kelliher Sask. He graduated in June, 1944.

When he was 9 years old he started working for Mr. Alex Smith, who asked him to be the delivery boy for Smith’s Grocery Store. They had a bicycle with a large basket on the front. Mel delivered groceries after school and on Saturdays for $.25 a week. He also received $.25 a week for carrying in the wood and coal for the stove and the ice for the icebox, which was used before electric refrigerators. Years later he would drive Smith’s truck to Yorkton for supplies for the store.

Melvin left Smith’s store and went to work at the Kelliher Creamery for Fred Saunderson, in the plant, and later his job was driving the cream truck out to the farms in the surrounding area to pick up their cream to make butter and also crates of eggs. This was during WW2 and the trucks were installed with governors, so they could only go so fast, to save gas. This also prevented a lot of spilt cans of cream and broken eggs, as the roads in the 30s & 40s were deep rutted prairie trails with large pot holes. Most people traveled by wagon or buggy in the summer, and in the winter, sleighs or closed in cutters with a small stove inside for heat. When there started being more cars and trucks in the area the roads were built better by the RMs.

Mel at 17 Year: 1942 Place Name: Kelliher Mel Bolton and Tom Smith with Smith's truck

Mel at 17
Year: 1942
Place Name: Kelliher
Mel Bolton and Tom Smith with Smith’s truck

Melvin’s family would take a refreshment booth out to the country schools on picnic day, in the 30s & 40s. The boys would help set up and then play ball. In the evenings they would attend the school dances with music supplied by local bands.


In 1941 at the age of 16, Mel went to Regina to take a drivers test for his drivers license. A lot of young men had been called to join the armed forces since 1939, which left very few to do trucking jobs. He hauled cattle to the stock yard to be loaded into CNR cattle cars, which took the cattle by rail to Winnipeg.

Melvin built a portable loading shoot and side racks for Bolton’s truck. Mr. Fuchs, a cattle buyer would get Melvin to go pick up the cattle he had purchased from the neighboring farmyards. Mel was one of the first to haul cattle and horses loose. Prior to trucking them, they were either herded or tied behind a wagon or sleigh, depending on the time of year, for the trip to the CNR yard. I remember Melvin speaking of getting a semi trailer truck and wanting to haul the cattle straight to Winnipeg himself.

While in the war in Europe, he had seen how almost everything, was transported by large trucks. He was told, at the time, that railway was still the best. Times sure have changed, no cattle are shipped by rail anymore all live stock are transported by semi trucks. Melvin loved trucking; his idea was ahead ot its time, but unfortunately he didn’t have the money to purchase a semi unit. If Hagen’s Transport ot Regina would have told Melvin sooner that they were selling out, Melvin may have been in the freight trucking business. But by the time he found out, he had already purchased some farmland.

Melvin had helped Sandy Sommerville, a grain hauler, who had hooked up an auger to his truck’s power take off. Melvin was in the granary, pushing the grain to the auger with his hands. His one hand got caught in the auger he frantically piled the grain to the auger to plug it and stop it. Amazingly he only had a bruised hand from the incident.

Another farming accident, years later, would not leave him so lucky. In May of 1970 Mel was combining oats, which had been left out over winter. A long stick was left on the swath and Mel had gotten off the combine, left it running and went to throw the stick away. While he was throwing the stick away, he was also walking past the pickup on the combine. His left hand went back and the glove was caught by the chain and gears used to run the pickup reels. Upon freeing himself from the chain and gears he pulled out his left index finger and the joint, also half of his middle finger was cut off and the thumb was severed at the base, with only the skin holding it on. He had a pin put into the thumb.

Kevin, our oldest son at 13, was in the grain truck. Melvin ran over to the truck, instructed his son to drive. Kevin went about 1 mile down an old trail, before Mel told him to stop at a neighbor’s field. Ned Hryniuk and his son Wayne, were having lunch in their car, along the trail. Kevin ran over to get Ned, who took Melvin into the car, put a tourniquet on his arm, using a piece of rope from the truck. Ned drove to the Ituna Hospital, which was 15 miles away. On the way there, Mel used his straw hat to catch the blood he let drain from the injury. From his army training, he knew that blood still had to flow to the arm below the tourniquet, or the veins would collapse.

It was a Saturday and the doctor had to be called in to clean and dress the wounds, before being sent onto Regina. There was no ambulance service at the time. Mel told Dr. McCourt to call John Kayter, the Ford dealer from Kelliher. John put plates on a new vehicle and he and his daughter Joyce, took Melvin from Ituna to Regina. The doctor must have called the RCMP to alert them to the emergency, because John was speeding all the way there and was not stopped.

When he arrived at the General Hospital, the surgeon Dr. Alverez told Mel, that if this accident would have happened a couple of years earlier, he would have removed his hand at the wrist. Instead, they cut a flap of skin and placed his hand inside his abdominal cavity, where it remained for 3 weeks. Then the hand was cut free of the stomach and skin taken from his abdomen replaced the missing skin and tissue on his left hand, while they grafted skin from his leg to cover the abdomen. He was home in 28 days, because he never smoked or drank alcohol. He suffered from phantom pains regularly, but they were on the parts of his hand that were missing.

Kevin had told his dad not to worry, he would look after the family. The day after the accident, Kevin and I went back to the field to finish combining. Kevin had never combined before, but had rode with his dad and watched him. I rode on the steps watching for roots and sticks, so that we would not plug it, or break something. We finished that field, but left the back swath, which was close to the power poles. Our United Church Minister, Rev. Jerry Day, loved to come out to the farm and work in the fields or combine. So the Monday following the accident. Rev. Day said that he would go and bring home the combine. He decided to do the swath that had been left out but, unfortunately, he never put the auger arm back into position along the combine and hit one of the poles and bent the unloading auger. I never told Mel about that until he was home.

Kevin started getting migraine headaches about this time. Our family doctor, Dr. McCourt, assuming it was the stress of trying to be the man of the house, told him “be a boy before a man”.


Melvin got his call while still in Grade 12 at Kelliher School. He enlisted in the army and was sent to Shilo, Manitoba for his basic training. He joined the Royal Regina Rifles, Pte. Bolton, Melvin Clayton – L-109290, 3rd Division. He was in the army from July 26, 1944 to Sept. 28th, 1946. On January 31, 1945, he was off to Halifax N.S. by train and onto a ship to England. On February 11, 1945, they disembarked the ship in England and Mel was approached to take officer training. There were only 4 men in the 3rd Division that had completed their Grade 12. He refused, saying he wanted to stay with the guys he’d been training with.

Mel's army life

Mel’s army life

On April 11, 1945 they were sent to Holland & Germany. While there, they were searching through a house in Germany. A boy about 12 years old shot his Sergeant and killed him. The war ended not a month later, on May 5th, 1945. Melvin stayed on to do guard duty. They sent those soldiers who had been overseas the longest, home first. Melvin was assigned to guard the S.S. soldiers, who were prisoners of war, and had been put into a fenced in camp. Melvin took classes at the 3rd Division Canadian Training School in England before returning to Canada. He was assigned to talk with the soldiers about what jobs they could get once they were home.

Melvin was discharged on Sept. 28, 1946 and went back home to Kelliher. He worked at the Bolton Garage with his father and brother, Almont. They also had a Minneapolis Machinery Dealership.

Melvin became a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch # 219 in 1972. He was President in 1985 & 1986 and was acting Padre for Legion member’s funerals and prepared the November 11th, Remembrance Day Services. He was Sergeant at Arms until his passing on January 28, 2001. Being a Legion member for 29 years, he received 4 medals: The Canadian Volunteer medal; France & Germany Stars; Service Medal and Clasp; War medal for 1939 – 1945. He also received the Dutch Medal in Holland in 1995. In 2003, at Yorkton, SK, I received Mel’s “Thank You Canada Medal” from the Dutch Consulate. He received a Normandy Medal, mailed to him, in memory of his regiment which served in Normandy, the Royal Regina Rifles.


Melvin played hockey since the age of 9 years, when he used old catalogues for shin pads. The community of Kelliher had a Senior Hockey team in 1930, or possibly even before. An outdoor ice rink was built with boards, between the curling rink and Bolton’s Garage. The curling rink had 2 sheets of natural ice. There was a long hallway along the east wall with window’s cut out, no glass on the outside wall. Spectators could watch the hockey game from the curling rink. When Melvin was 12 years old, a scout for NHL hockey, Eddie Shore’s brother, asked Howard and Pearl, Melvin’s parents, if they would let Melvin go to Regina to play hockey and get better coaching. His parents refused, saying he was too young. He played most of his hockey in Kelliher. While in the army in Amsterdam, Holland, the army brought in a truckload of new skates, dumping them in the middle of the ice. They told the soldiers to try on the skates without their socks for a tighter fit. They were playing in a closed in arena. Melvin found a pair and when he tried to skate, he fell on his rear. He had always had hand me downs, usually bigger. Once he got used to the proper fitting skates, he could really go fast. Once back home after discharge, he played for the Kelliher Senior team. In 1950/51, Foam Lake asked Mel to come & play for them, they had a closed in arena.

Mel and I were married on November 22, 1950 and for home games we would return to Kelliher each night, but for away games, the team put us in the Foam Lake Hotel with meals at the cafe – that was our honeymoon, “a great winter”. The first enclosed arena in Kelliher was built and opened, in February of 1958. Melvin used his tractor and a large saw blade mounted on the front frame to saw all the rafters. He also helped put up those rafters with volunteer help from the Kelliher District. Mr. Norval Dahl was the contractor. The local board asked Melvin to get a senior hockey team together, and join a league. Melvin was both player, #2 defence, and Coach for the first closed in arena. He also was the first Senior Hockey Coach in the current arena built in 1981. Melvin started teaching & coaching young boys, once his two sons Kevin & Kent were old enough at ( 9 & 8 years old). Every Saturday, all winter, and then at the end of the season they would have a tournament. There were enough boys for four hockey teams in the Kelliher Community alone. They would play against the Muskowekwan School team, like Melvin did when he was a boy. In 1970, Melvin took his Pee Wee (12 & under) hockey team to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, and won the”D” Division in the tournament. Kevin, 12 years old, was chosen the best player on his team. In 1971 Mel took his Pee Wee team again, winning the concilation side “D” Division. He was the only coach to have done that with only local boys two years in a row. Kent was 12 years old that year.

Over the years of involvement with the sport of Hockey, Melvin has left quite a legacy in Kelliher. He has trophies and hockey jackets from the Senior club, Kelliher Komets Champs – 1962-63 season, red Komet jacket, 1967-68, player & coach. Also a yellow “Midget” coach jacket. A multitude of plaques from Minor Hockey; Community Builder from the Recreation Board; A plaque from the Veterinary board for donating 2 acres of land to house the Animal Clinic. A 5 year service award plaque from the Senior Housing Board, and many curling trophies.


Melvin attended St. Paul’s United Church Sunday School in Kelliher, receiving a bible for his perfect attendance. Melvin was baptized just before going overseas in 1944. He married Loma Vestby in that church on Nov. 22, 1950. Melvin was the Church Secretary and Sunday School teacher from 1960 – 1965. He was a church elder and board member for years, also singing in the choir. He did services as a lay minister, until the day he passed. His sermon that day was about salvation after death. He passed away in the church after the service.


After we were married, we lived with Mel’s parents for the winter. They would go to Garnet & Elsie’s, Mel’s oldest brother’s home in Santa Rosa, California, after Christmas and stay there until the spring.

50th Anniversary Year: 200, Nov.22

50th Anniversary
Year: 200, Nov.22

In May, 1951, we got our own place, a small 2 room house behind the Hardware Store, once owned by Mel’s father and Uncle Vern Hartley. Mel worked at Bolton’s Garage with his father and brother Almont from 1946 to 1952 delivering gas; they also had the machinery dealership. Melvin had purchased 2 black angus cows with calves at foot and had them out at Lorna’s fathers farm. Melvin went to the VLA and told them that we wanted to farm.

In 1952 we bought Oscar Abrahamson’s farm from William Rygus, who had moved into Kelliher to be the Federal Grain Agent. Lars Dahlen had been renting the land and was having his own small house built across the old #15 highway, from the Dahlen homestead where he was bom. The Abrahamson’s, V. Dahlen’s, A. Paulson and J. Hilbom’s, were the 4 Swedish families, who in 1904, had taken out homesteads where the Village of Kelliher now stands.

John Hilbom & Anna (Norlin) had the first white child born (Hildur) in the area, in their homestead shack, which is now Kelliher’s Main Street. The Grand Truck Pacific Railway was coming west and those 4 families had to relocate and refile in 1909. Oscar Abrahmson filed on land west of Kelliher, 3 miles away. They now built log houses. The house on our land is still standing – 1909 to 2005. There were no nails, they drilled small holes and put pegs in between, to hold the logs in place. Lime stone was then ground to make a white cement type finish. These pioneer men were all good carpenters. I can see why! I traveled to Norway and Sweden this past summer, July, 2004 and both those countries have so much of their land covered with forest. The lumber is cut and milled and their homes are built with the siding running vertical not horizontal, like in Canada.

I was able to visit my grandmother’s home in Favang, Norway, which is still being used. It was built in the 1700s. As well as many of the old churches, built in 1270 and earlier, all made from lumber.

In the Fall of 1952, Melvin and I moved out to our first farm home on the old Abrahmson homestead. I remember painting the rooms with Kemtone, as the logs were uneven and you could not use wallpaper. In the kitchen, which had been built onto the log house with lumber, we used congo-wall on the bottom half, which looked like tiles. We used paint on the ceiling and the rest of the walls. We loved that old house and 3 of our 5 children were raised out there.

We brought our two cows and calves over from my father’s farm and bought 150 chicks in the spring of 1953. I went down to feed and water them and being a beautiful warm spring day, the chicks now 6 weeks old, I left the door open and put a screen in front on the bottom half, so they could get some sunshine. Our dog decided to go in and catch chickens, he killed 120 of them. The floor was white with dead chickens. I went out on the hill and cried, as we had no money to buy more.

We also milked cows and made butter. We bought 2 young pigs to use up the extra milk. In a few years we had a lovely herd of black angus cattle.

As the years went by I had the chickens penned up so I could ship eggs to Melville, Sk. The man from the Creamery came out to our farm, wanting to know how I could get so many dozen Grade A eggs? I told him I had fenced in the chicken yard and kept their eggs in the cellar, which was dark and cool. I got top dollar for the eggs! We had no well on our first farm and had to haul drinking water. We used rain barrels to catch water off the roof.

We also had a good garden. Some years the wild saskatoons and raspberries where abundant. I would make canned fruit and jam. I also planted strawberrys in the garden, which produced every year, and were wonderful fresh with farm cream. We did not have power, a refrigerator or deep freeze in 1953. Melvin got a D.C. power plant with 16 glass batteries and erected a windmill to charge them. This was great and now we were able to buy a toaster, an iron and electric lights, which replaced the coil oil lamps that needed to be filled regularly and the glass chimneys cleaned before dark.

For years we continued to go into Bolton’s house in Kelliher for the winters and return to our farm in the Spring. My father, Alfred Vestby, would stay at our farm for the winter months to tend to our stock. He used the tractor to drive to town, as the prairie trail to our home, usually blocked with snow, was 1 mile from highway #15, then a gravel road. He would go across the fields to get to the main road.

Melvin always had a job to supplement the farm. Mr. Crawford, Kelliher Creamery owner, asked Mel to drive the ice cream truck for him. Mel would work there during the day and farm after work. He worked for the Creamery for one year, then the Coop asked him to drive their fuel truck. So he started working for them while farming after work.

In 1957, we moved into a duplex, in Kelliher, owned by Mel’s parents, and he continued to work for the Coop. Our last 2 children were born while we lived at the duplex.

In 1959 Mel bought the E Wiley farm just 1 1/2 miles west of town, just over the CNR rail tracks No more problems with roads, as the new #15 highway ran on the north side of the tracks.

In 1965 we bought a Nelson Prefab house and had it built on the new land. Our children would now catch the school bus to town. Our oldest, a daughter, Melanie, her husband Donald Bashutski, and their family now live on that farm. Our cattle breeds changed over the years. We eventually sold all the cattle and only farmed the land. The farm now has bison roaming the pastures. Our son Kevin, living in Alberta, had started raising bison and wanted to expand. Land was too expensive there, so with the grass lands at our farm he purchased 6 bison calves, and with our son in law, Don to do the labour, started raising bison.

As the herd grew from 1995 to 1998, more pasture area needed to be fenced. Don now had a herd of his own and needed to be closer to the operation, so “Triple B Bison Farms” was formed. Melvin providing the land, Kevin the bison stock and Donald the labor and management skills. Kevin purchased the Dahlen 1/2 section, and the Abrahmson 1/2 sec, for bison pasture from his brother Kent, as well as the acreage that Lars Dahlen farmed. Donald bought the home quarter from us and Don and Melanie moved their family Donald also bought the 1/4 section where I lived before marrying Melvin, just west of Lars’ acreage.

We retired from our farm life and moved to Kelliher in 1998. Melvin loved to be out with these large majestic animals. He would go out every day to help Don, he could watch the bison for hours. Mel & Don drove out in the truck, to check the herd during calving. They watched as the herd bull used his large horns to gently lift a newborn calf to its feet, to get it up, nursing and moving with the herd.


Melvin also started a small lumber business on the farm; mostly rough lumber at first. Then he and William Kozoriz, the Pool Elevator Agent at the time, could see a need in the area. So they built a small office and cement storage building on our farm. Location along the highway was good. They built, painted, and delivered 8, 10 & 12 foot round wooden bins to the farmers in our area.

The semi trucks would come into the yard with supplies and our children would go out and help unload, when their help was needed. After a few years, the lumbar yard was moved to town. William Kozoriz ran the business and Melvin would drive his 2 ton grain truck to the city for supplies. They built some houses, and many round bins. William was transferred and that left Melvin with the farm land, cattle and the lumbar yard to look after. They hired Bob Marlow as the business manager and book keeper. Melvin still hauled his own freight and the cement would continue to come by semi trailer. Bob’s two brothers, Freddie and Bill, were hired to help in the lumberyard, with loading purchases and helping build the bins. The Marlow’s left Kelliher to return to Ontario and Melvin decided to sell the business.


Melanie Merle our oldest, a daughter, was born in 1954 at Lestock Hospital. She took all her schooling at Kelliher. While in school she took track & field, drama, curling, was a cheerleader for the touch football team, and sang in the junior choir. She also was in 4-H sewing until she graduated. She graduated in 1972 and went to the University of Regina for 3 semesters, taking science classes for enrollment into the Nursing Program at SIAST. She then got a job with Dr. Glacier, an allergy specialist, where she worked from Jan, 1974 to Oct. 1976.

She married Donald Bashutski on October 18, 1975. They bought a farm 5 miles west of Lestock in the Spring of 1976 and moved onto that farm Oct. 1, 1976. Melanie started work at the Lestock Union Hospital on Oct. 6, 1976. She worked part time as a Nurses Aide, then took a Health Records Coarse in 1991 – 1992. She still works there, it is now St. Joseph’s Integrated Care Center and she is the Director of Health Records and Admitting. She has been there 29 years in October of 2005.

Lorna Bolton & 16 Grandchildren Year: 2003, Aug

Lorna Bolton & 16 Grandchildren
Year: 2003, Aug

Don and Melanie have 4 children: Lasha Dawn born 1979, Trevor Jonathon born in 1980, Brody Lee born in 1985 and Tyler Scott born in 1987. They have one grandson, Trey Melvin Bashutski, who was born to Trevor and Sonja Bushell in 2004.

Maureen Lori, our second daughter, was born in 1956. She also took all her schooling in Kelliher. While in school she was also involved in track, junior choir, and drama. She also took 4-H sewing. She graduated as Student of the Year in 1973. She followed Melanie to the U of S, Regina, where she took Computer Science classes for 2 years. She then worked for Sask Housing. Maureen purchased a home on Elphinstone street and met Richard. Maureen married Richard Ludlow in 1983.

They have 4 daughters: Sarah Maureen born in 1985, Rachel Lorna born in 1986, Jill Isabelle born in 1988 and Katherine Aliane born in 1990. They purchased land east of Regina in the Zenner district and moved to that farm in 2004. They have quarter horses and paints, which Maureen and her 2 daughters, Sarah and Katherine love. Maureen works in Regina for Home Care. Richard still does carpentry work from his shop in the city.

Kevin Alfred our first son, was born, in 1957. Kevin took his first 10 years of schooling in Kelliher. While there, Kevin set Cupar Unit Records for the most points in Track & Field, he also played football. He played trumpet in the school band. Kevin was also in 4-H Beef, and drama, as well as hockey. At 15 he made the Yorkton Terrier Junior Hockey team and moved to Yorkton, under coach Jerry James for two years. He took his grade 11 and 12 there and graduated from Yorkton Regional High School in 1974. He stayed in Yorkton one more year and played for coach Rolli Willcox. Kevin worked for a carpet and flooring business while in Yorkton. He went on to University of Alberta, Edmonton, in the faculty of Agriculture, receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree and graduated with distinction, in 1980. While there Kevin played for the University Hockey Team The Golden Bears. He played defense with Randy Gregg in 1975. In 1978 their team won the national championship; we watched that game on TV.

Kevin married Shelley Sparrow in July, 1980, whom he had met at University. He started his oil career with Hudson Bay Oil & Gas, stationed out of Lloydminister. In 1981 they moved to Calgary and Kevin worked for Shell Oil for 8 years, then CanWest Explorations for 7 years. They sold to Alberta Energy Company who then merged with PanCanadian & formed ENCANA, who he still works for. He is the land manager and travels a lot.

They have 3 children: Blake James born in 1981; Jessica Eileen born in1983 and Blair Clayton born in 1986. They live on a quarter of land, ” Big Hill Springs Buffalo Ranch”, North of Cochrane Alberta.

Our second son, Kent Garth was born in 1958. He took all but one year of his schooling in Kelliher where he was also involved in Track & Field, Football, 4-H Beef and Hockey. In Grade 11 he played Junior B hockey in Yorkton where he went to the Yorkton Regional High School. He came back to Kelliher for his Grade 12. After graduating in 1976 he went to U of A in Edmonton in Agriculture. In 1979 he transferred to the University of Saskatchewan.

While there he met his wife Marilyn Koch who convocated in May 1980 with a degree in Psychology. They were married in June, 1980. In 1981 Kent and Marilyn moved to Regina. Kent was working for Father Larry at Bosco Homes. Their first son, Luke, was born there. They moved back to the Nels Dahlen farm where they built a new house, and their second son Johan was born in 1983, and third son Anthony in 1985. They then moved back to Regina, where both Kent and Marilyn attended the U of S Regina campus to get their teaching degrees. Kent was also taking flying lessons during this time. He received his pilots license and bought a small plane. His first teaching job was at Kayville.

Then in 1988, Kent moved his family up to Nahani Butte, NWT, to teach for a year. They had to fly in; there were only roads during the winter when the lakes were frozen over. The following year they went to Jamaica where Kent and Marilyn worked with a church organization. Kent developed a severe allergy to the sun and they came home to Saskatchewan. They moved to Kronau and Kent taught school in Regina from 1991 to 1996 at Al Pichard and Dr. Hanna Schools. While there they had their 4th son Dominique, born in l993, and a daughter, Kathleen, born 1995. In 1997 Kent moved his family to Trout Lake NWT for one year, where both he and Marilyn taught. They then moved to Crooked Creek, Alberta, where they now reside and both have been teaching from 1998 to 2005.

Family Tree

Family Tree

Our 5th child, a daughter, Marcia Lynn, was born in 1960. Marcia took all her schooling at Kelliher and was another Track & Field star. She took 1st in Provinicals in the triple jump while in Grade 11 as a junior and again in Grade 12, at only 16, she competed as a senior, and won. She was active in many other sports including: volley ball, soft ball, broom ball, curling and badminton. She also coached the junior girls volley ball team while a senior herself. She entered drama in Grade 12 and won the Best Actress Award in the Cupar School Unit Competition, in the play “Early Frost”. She was also in 4-H beef. Marcia graduated in 1977 and went to Saskatoon at the age of 16 and worked. She started working for an Insurance Company and has been in the insurance industry ever since. She moved to Calgary and met her husband Timothy Grabinsky. Tim taught her another sport – golf. Being the true athlete she is, she has been winning many golf tournaments since. Their dream is taking shape and they are in the process of developing, and building on a property in Water Valley, Alberta, just northeast of Cochrane.