B.C. perogy pioneer dies at 88
VANCOUVER (CP) — Bill Konyk, a legendary Vancouver businessman who fought a human rights battle to maintain his nickname Hunky Bill, has died. He was 88. His youngest son, Mark Konyk, says his dad will be remembered as a man who opened the West Coast to good Ukrainian food, adding he was a pioneer in educating people in B.C. about how to eat and make perogies. Konyk died of cancer on Tuesday evening surrounded by his family. A statement from the Pacific National Exhibition announced “with incredible sadness” the death of one of its longest standing concessionaires. Konyk was a general sales manager for a Vancouver radio station in 1967 when he bet a friend $10 that he could get a booth at the PNE and sell his Ukrainian food.
A history of the business on his company’s website says Konyk convinced the exhibition to give him a booth and Hunky Bill’s Ukrainian food has been a mainstay at the fair ever since. There were numerous restaurants and retail outlets in the Lower Mainland under the Hunky Bill’s name. Konyk said his dad opened the door for many other perogy makers. “When he brought them out to the West, people didn’t know what a perogy was. He always said they thought it was a hockey puck or something.”