Brief History of UCAMA

As one of the largest ethnic groups on the Canadian prairies, Ukrainians have had a significant impact on the region’s social, cultural and economic development. In recognition of this legacy, in 1972 a group of eleven prominent professional and business members of the Ukrainian community in Edmonton, lead by Hryhory and Stefania Yopyk, dedicated themselves to the establishment of a facility for the preservation of the history and culture of Canadians of Ukrainian heritage. Through the efforts of these visionaries, the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum of Alberta (UCAMA) was created. For three decades, UCAMA has welcomed visitors from Edmonton and beyond to share in these achievements by exploring its colourful exhibits of historical artifacts, archival documents and photographs, and extensive library.

In 2002 UCAMA’s Board of Directors determined through a professionally prepared feasibility study that the present building which houses its extensive collections is functionally obsolete. Therefore, in March of 2003, UCAMA acquired the Lodge Hotel and the Brighton Block on Jasper Avenue (both designated as Municipal Historic Resources by the City of Edmonton). This prominent downtown location will serve as an accessible new home for the museum and its collections. Phase 1 of the construction is expected to be completed by mid 2014.

Our new location is linked with the history of Ukrainians in Edmonton. Many Ukrainian businesses and cultural institutions operated in close proximity to our future home from the beginning of the 20th century. For example, Paul Rudyk, a successful Ukrainian pioneer businessman and community activist, was the owner of the Rudyk Block on Jasper Avenue at 97 Street. The first Ukrainian reading club in Edmonton was opened nearby in the home of John Kiliar in 1901. When coming to Edmonton on business, many Ukrainian pioneer farmers saved money by staying overnight under the sky where the MacDonald Hotel now stands, warming themselves by open fires on cold winter nights.