Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village re-opens for 2022 summer season

The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is hosting its grand opening for the summer season this weekend.

Just 25 minutes east of Edmonton along Highway 16, the museum offers more than 40 buildings that have been restored and furnished to give visitors an inkling of what life on the prairies as a newcomer would have been like in the early 20th century.

"The Ukrainian Village is a living history museum that features a number of historic buildings that have been brought to the museum from various communities and farms around east central Alberta," said Trevor Sliwkanich, a senior interpreter at the village.

"For some people, these are buildings that they may have even recognized from their communities," Sliwkanich added. "If they're a bit more elderly, they may even remember when that store was still in Smokey Lake or attending that school that we have here.

"But for a lot of people as well, it's stories that they are now hearing about their grandparents or even great grandparents in terms of their settlement or arrival in Canada."

On holiday Monday, the museum will host a celebration of a Ukrainian dance competition. More than 270 dancers from across the province will perform.

"That's one of our special openings that we have to start off our summer season," Sliwkanich said.

Returning this summer is first-person role interpretation and costumed tour guides to help share settler stories.

"So you can come and experience some costume interpreters playing the role and the lives of the people who really did live and work in some of our buildings here," Sliwkanich said.

As war continues in Ukraine, Sliwkanich said the museum is helping support displaced Ukrainians calling the central Alberta region home by collecting non-perishable food bank donations.

"In some ways, what we tell about at our museum about the story of immigration and settlement is the story that continues on to today, not only for Ukrainians but all newcomers," he added.