Saturday 14 September 2013

Toronto Ukrainian Festival, Toronto, ON

This afternoon Gord and I went to the Toronto Ukrainian Festival in Bloor West Village.  It's the first time I've been in about 15 years.

Since the 1880s, when immigrants from Ukraine to Canada embraced the opportunity to work, prosper and raise families in peace and freedom, Ukrainian culture has enriched the Canadian landscape in every facet of life. Today, over four million people in Canada can trace their heritage to Ukraine, and Ukrainian Canadians, by virtue of 120 years of contribution, are well organized and respected members of their communities.

In 1995, Toronto was twinned with Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and to mark this occasion, the Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival was established under the umbrella of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Toronto Branch. Originally known as the Bloor West Village Ukrainian Festival, it was meant to be a showcase of the most widely identifiable aspects of Ukrainian culture in Canada – music, dance, food, visual arts and community. It was an instant hit, establishing itself as one of the premier Ukrainian festivals in North America and growing to attract audiences well in excess of 500,000 from across Canada, the US and abroad.

The festival is on Bloor Street W ... the street was closed between Jane Street and Kennedy Avenue.  There were quite a few people there when we got there about 1:30pm ... we took the subway and got off at Runnymede Station and walked west.

There was a lot that was Ukraine-related and a lot that wasn't.  There were displays, vendors, beer gardens and entertainment.  It was fun to see people walking around in traditional Ukrainian garb.

Gord and a new friend
The crowd watching the entertainment
There was lots of stuff for kids at the east end
Ukrainian shirts
There was a beer garden in the middle of the festival
I stopped in for an ice cream at Simply Yummy
Fun ottomans
Gord being very Ukrainian

Looking east from Jane Street.

Gord and I stopped in at the beer garden that was near Jane Street.  They were selling big bottles of Ukrainian beer.

Party on!

We ran into our friends and former neighbours, Mark and Monica, and we got caught up.

Mark and Gord
Monica and I

At the Jane entrance of the festival.

It was a fun time ... there was lots of energy and enthusiasm!  Neither Gord nor I have any Ukrainian blood in us but we were all Ukrainian today!

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