Opening of St. Paul, AB, First World War Internment Operations Statue and Interpretive Panel
For immediate release (St. Paul, Alta., Edmonton, Ottawa, September 12, 2019)
The All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Champions for Change, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA), and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF), invite you to attend the official opening of a new educational and commemorative exhibit marking Canada’s First World War internment operations.
Located about a two-hour drive northeast of Edmonton, the site at St. Paul commemorates the four internment camps located in Alberta: Jasper, Munson (near Drumheller), Castle Mountain/Banff and Lethbridge. Spread across 24 camps across Canada, more than 8,000 men, women, and children, primarily Ukrainians invited by the Dominion government to settle the West, were unjustly interned as enemy aliens from 1914-1920 under the War Measures Act, their possessions taken, and not all returned.
They and 80,000 others were forced to register semi-regularly with authorities. They suffered, not because of anything they had done, but because of where they had come from. Many long remained “in fear of the barbed wire fence.”
The event will take place Saturday, September 28 at 11 a.m. (MT) at Lagasse Park in St. Paul, Alberta
. (Driving directions).
Following the unveiling, at 1p.m., UCCLA’s Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk will present on the internment operations, in the cultural centre of the All Saints Orthodox Church, 5601 – 51 Street.
UCCLA worked collaboratively with Amil Shapka of the All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Town of St. Paul and others to create the new permanent exhibit, which features statues of interned men behind barbed-wire fencing, as well as interpretive panels.
“There cannot be reconciliation without education,” said UCCLA’s Borys Sydoruk. “We are grateful to the hard work by the volunteers in this community and from across Canada in helping plan, design, create and consecrate this important memorial. The exhibit will educate as well as emotionally remind visitors to the park what happened in Canada a century ago, to minorities like Ukrainians and others, when the government implemented laws based on fear and hysteria and directed it at specific ethnic groups.”
The affected communities included Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Serbians, Slovaks, Slovenes and others, of which most were civilians.
Schedule of Events (subject to change)
Opening Ceremony, 11:00 a.m., Lagasse Park, St. Paul, AB
Opening Remarks: Caroline Yewchin, Master of Ceremonies
Consecration of Monument: Rev. Fr. Peter Haugen, All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Church, St. Paul, AB Fr. Andrij Nykyforuk, Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church, St. Paul, AB
Remarks: Maureen Miller, Mayor, Town of St. Paul Penny Fox, Chairperson, Champions for Change Borys Sydoruk, Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation
Laying of Wreaths: Town of St. Paul; St. Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Men’s Club; Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association; Affected communities
Closing Remarks: Caroline Yewchin, Master of Ceremonies
Complimentary Lunch Immediately After the Ceremony: All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Cultural Centre, 5601 – 51 Street, St. Paul, AB,
(sponsored by the St. Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Men’s Club)
Presentation at 1 p.m.: “Why we need to remember Canada’s first national internment operations:”
Prof. Lubomyr Luciuk, Royal Military College, Kingston, ON