Hamilton’s Ukrainians asked to ‘weave’ their stories into a community tapestry
Hamilton’s Ukrainian Canadian Congress branch wants local residents with Ukrainian ties to “weave” their family story into a visual and written “tapestry” for a Canada 150 project.
The branch has already heard from 10 families of Ukrainian Canadians living in the Hamilton area about their roots and heritage and wants to hear from more.
“We want to document where they came from, why they chose Hamilton and how they lived their lives here,” says Mary Holadyk, chair of the branch’s A Ukrainian Canadian Tapestry project.
Many Ukrainians came to Canada to find freedom from oppression and war in their homeland, Holadyk said.
“I was hoping to have several rollup banners with Ukrainian settlement stories.”
The stories include that of John Murmylyk who, it’s said, had to change his ethnic last name to Morley in 1935 when he started working at the Stelco sales department.
“Ethnic names were not acceptable in managerial positions at that time,” the story reads.
Born of Ukrainian immigrant parents, Murmylyk had considered the opportunity to attend Cathedral High School “one of the greatest gifts he could have ever received.”
In 1949, with a wife and four children, Murmylyk attended Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and was called to the bar in 1953.
Holadyk hopes to display the banners of the tapestry in October at McMaster University, Mohawk College, city library branches, shopping malls and any other venues that will accept it.
She wants at least 50 stories to weave into the project, which is meant to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and 125 years of Ukrainian settlement in the country.
Holadyk also hopes to have exhibits or a dance group or Easter egg painting demonstrations accompany the tapestry.
The deadline for submissions is Sept. 20. For more information, see ucchamilton.ca/ukrainian-canadian-tapestry.
The project received funding from the City of Hamilton and federal government.
One story tells of how John Murmylyk, second from right, had to change his last name to Morley. He later graduated from Osgoode Hall.