Visiting the Ukrainian Festival in Bloor West Village in Toronto for the first time was a true pleasure. I explored the many great kiosks and craft/clothing/music booths set up, food (perogies, cabbage rolls, meat on a stick and kapusta) and music playing.
As I’m one-eighth Ukrainian, I thought it would be interesting to delve a bit more into the culture. While I was raised as Polish, I did have interaction with my Ukrainian side of the family. As such, it was never too foreign to me. I can even understand when it’s spoken. At the festival, I felt quite at home.
Celebrating Ukrainian Heritage in Toronto
When Ukrainians celebrate a festival, they celebrate it! Our visit coincided with the parade portion of the planned events. This year’s Parade Marshal was Ken Kostick, leading a parade of members ofUkrainian credit unions, Ukrainian schools students, sports programs and scouts. I never knew that there was a Ukrainian marching band!
Many people were also dressed up in Ukrainian embroidered blouses, and other costumes.
It was also great to visit the Bloor West Village area. Long known as the hub of the Ukrainian community, its now holding on to its ethnic community roots as much as possible.
Gone are the many of the mom and pop shops owned by Ukrainian immigrants. Well-known retailers have taken their locations. Yet there are a few remnants from the past. Jolanta Interiors, the Ukrainian credit unions and Arka Shoes are a few that I remember from my youth.
What are your favourite Toronto ethnic festivals? Which one do you think throws the best party?