Ukrainian Community

Many Ukrainians tried to settle in many different countries throughout 1900s. Tens of thousands of them migrated to Brazil at the end of the 19th century, but unused to the tropics, they barely survived.

In 1891, a couple of peasants settled in Canada and wrote back. They told their friends that lands in Canada were cheap and plentiful. Very soon Ukrainians were arriving by the boatload, encouraged by agents who gave $5 to men and $2 to women and children to assist their move to Canada, a huge sum for the time. Most Ukrainians settled on the Prairies, but many other chose Quebec as their new home.

The Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Immigrants existed in 1904-1907 in Quebec, thus, when Ukrainian immigrants arrived in Montreal this group would seek them out and persuade to stay in Quebec rather than continuing west to a farm. During the World War I Ukrainians who were not Canadian citizen became enemy aliens, so several thousand were interned under the War Measures Act.

Some of them were arrested when they tried to enlist in the Canadian military. By the 1930s, at least 4,000 Ukrainians lived in Montreal, many of the in Pointe St-Charles in the south-west part of the city. Even more popular were Frontenac area in the east-end, Ahuntsic and St-Michel north of the down-town core, as well as Rosemont. Most immigrants were unskilled workers, but they knew how to work.

In the beginning of the 1930s, a Ukrainian started a window cleaning company. He brought in other compatriots who learned the trade and in turn set up their own enterprises. By the mid-1030s, almost half of all window cleaning companies in Montreal were Ukrainian owned and staffed.

After the World War II, almost 40,000 Ukrainian settled in Canada as displaced persons. Many of them moved to Quebec. In 1947 a Ukrainian church was built in Pointe St-Charles, at the corner of Grand-Trunk and Shearer. Nevertheless, the community gradually moved away and many people settled in Rosemont.

Till now, the Ukrainian community has retained its distinctiveness more than other Eastern European groups, may be, through their adherence to the Easter Orthodox Church, as well as through their unwavering support for liberating the Ukraine from the Soviet Union first and for supporting the independent Ukrainian republic later.

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