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
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 takes pride in turning its spotlight on
contemporary professional and amateur artists and
performers from North America and Ukraine, and in
celebration of Toronto’s diversity, invites a local
performing group representing another culture to bring
its talents to the main stage each year.
Throughout its history, the Festival has hosted prime
ministers and other politicians from all levels of
government. The parade that launches each Festival has
been led by marshals including the Rt. Hon. John Turner,
businessman and philanthropist James Temerty, music
legend Randy Bachman, investigative journalist Victor
Malarek, Senator Raynell Andreychuk, media celebrities
Luba Goy, Mimi Kuzyk and Ted Woloshyn, community
activist Maria Szkambara, former vice-president of
TorStar and Metroland Media Group Ron Lenyk, celebrity
chef Ken Kostick, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk,
and former Ontario Education Minister Gerard Kennedy.
The Festival’s main Northland Power Festival Stage has seen top performers from the large pool of talent right here in Toronto. Groups such as the Canadian Bandurist Capella; Vanguard and Baturyn Marching and Concert Bands; Zubrivka Folk Ensemble; Dunai, Zirka, Burya and Skopa Dance Bands; the Bloor West Village Gypsy Rebels; violin virtuoso Vasyl Popadiuk; dance groups such as Barvinok, Desna, Ukraina and Yavir are just a few of the many local performers who are supported through the federal government's Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program. This program also supports the youth segment which has become a Sunday afternoon favourite at each year's Festival.
As well, the main stage has welcomed performers from Ukraine including Ruslana, Vopli Vidopliassova, Mad Heads XL, Mandry and Pikardiska Tersia; The Ukrainians from England; Canada’s many Ukrainian dance companies such as Edmonton's Shumka, Cheremosh, Dunai and Calgary's Suzirya; Canadian bands such as Edmonton’s Kubasonics, Saskatoon's Tyt i Tam, Montreal’s Zvook, and from the USA, New York's Syzokryli Dance Ensemble.
The Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival also has provided an
opportunity for outreach to those who have taken part in
the parade, the stage and the kiosk areas, including the
Canadian Armed Forces, the Scotiabank Run, the Ukrainian
Collective of Artists, university student clubs, dance
groups, choirs, sports and martial arts clubs, and
local, municipal and federal politicians. As a result,
it attracts diverse audiences of multi-generational
families. Repeat visitors are a mainstay, as evidenced
in bookings at the Festival’s host hotels, from letters and
emails, and from the reports of local business owners
and street vendors.
The Festival has a Board of Directors and a committee of
organizers whose members bring their diverse experiences
and ideas to the table. Some volunteer in other
festivals such as Harbourfront and the Toronto
International Film Festival, as well as in industry
meetings, seminars and tourism conferences. The Bloor
West Village Toronto
Ukrainian Festival is a member of Ontario Tourism,
Tourism Toronto, Festival and Events Ontario, SOCAN and
the Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Toronto Branch.
Vision, Mission and Goals of the Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian
To offer the largest celebration of Ukrainian
spirit in the world – showcasing the best of Ukrainianarts and culture and thereby strengthening the
multicultural fabric of Canada.
To inspire members and audiences to a higher
level of community engagement and achievement.
1. To provide a three-day entertainment
experience for the entire family on Bloor Street West;
2. To provide the best venue for all types of
entertainment for the audience and the entertainers;
3. To provide a platform for the presentation of
arts and culture;
4. To engage the local business community within
the Festival activities;
5. To showcase Ukrainian Canadian entrepreneurial
6. To develop a strong network of volunteers,
entertainers and leaders for the community;
7. To maintain the Festival’s financial