Community News

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Winnipeg is the 2010 Cultural Capital of Canada

Designation from Ottawa brings $2M for arts events

By: Bartley Kives

WINNIPEG – Floating stages near The Forks, a mobile storytelling centre and an international art and architecture exhibit may be coming to Winnipeg next year -- Ottawa is naming us as Canada's cultural capital for 2010.

This morning at The Forks, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Mayor Sam Katz are slated to announce Winnipeg has won a bid to receive $2 million in federal funding for a series of arts events that will coincide with the Homecoming 2010 celebrations organized by the province.

The cultural-capital designation is conferred upon a different Canadian city every year. Edmonton won the bid in 2007, followed by Surrey, B.C. in 2008 and Trois Rivières, Que. this year.

To win the bid for 2010, the City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Arts Council, Destination Winnipeg and a series of arts organizations prepared a program of proposed events, including a one-day river-barge arts festival that could see the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Winnipeg Ballet or other groups perform on up to three floating stages near The Forks.

Other proposed events include art and architecture exhibits and symposiums, a cello festival and a mobile storytelling festival, as well as the launch of a new permanent public art project, say documents approved by city council in 2008.

"Winnipeg, in legend and in fact, is one of the most significant cultural capitals in the world," reads the submission sent to the federal government to consider granting Winnipeg the cultural-capital status for 2010.

"The timing for this request seems not only right but auspicious, since 2010 will be the 140th anniversary of the province of Manitoba and the celebration year of Manitoba Homecoming 2010."

The submission also drew attention to the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which is no longer on schedule for 2010.

Officials with the city and the Winnipeg Arts Council declined to comment. A formal announcement is slated for The Forks at 10:30 a.m.

To qualify for $2 million from Ottawa, Winnipeg's cultural-capital team had to secure $700,000 from other sources, the submission documents state. That included $150,000 from the City of Winnipeg.

Cities that have won the designation in the past have used the $2 million to stage a series of year-long public events.

Surrey, which carried the designation in 2008, used the funds to initiate an annual two-day multicultural festival and financed public art displays.

When Edmonton won the designation for 2008, it used the funds for a lights display, a poetry festival and a speakers series that featured former Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray talking about cities.

"You can do an awful lot of with $2 million of federal money," said John Mahon, executive director of the Edmonton Arts Council.

Mahon said Winnipeg's designation as cultural capital is well-deserved but added the designation will provide the community with an opportunity to establish a legacy.

"You're not going to build stadiums with that kind of money but you can build relationships," Mahon said, adding one of the lasting legacies from 2007 is the commitment to connect newcomers to Edmonton's artists and art institutions.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Toronto Ukrainian Festival

Bloor West Village
September 18-20, 2009

Find out more:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ukrainian Labour Temple declared national historic site

CBC News

The Ukrainian Labour Temple, once raided by federal authorities during the 1919 Winnipeg general strike, has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

Jim Prentice, minister responsible for Parks Canada, made the announcement Wednesday on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

"The designation of the Ukrainian Labour Temple not only recognizes the architectural significance of the building but also the important role it played in the social and cultural activities of Ukrainian Canadians," he said in a written statement.

"This commemoration will help to ensure that this site and its association with pivotal events in Canada's history will be remembered and appreciated by generations to come," added Vic Toews, president of the treasury board and regional minister for the province of Manitoba.

Constructed in 1918-19 in Winnipeg's North End, it is the first and largest Ukrainian Labor Temple in Canada, according to Heritage Winnipeg.
Built primarily by volunteer labour and financed by donations, the temple was a focus for Ukrainian culture and political activism. The Ukrainian Labor News and other Ukrainian language publications were prepared and distributed from there.

As a rallying centre for the trade union movement, it was raided in 1919 by authorities searching for evidence of alleged sedition and conspiracy.

The temple, designated a provincial heritage site in 1995, remains the only surviving labour hall in Winnipeg associated with the turbulent events of the general strike. It also remains the national headquarters for the Workers Benevolent Association, which was established at the temple in 1922.

"I believe that proclaiming the Winnipeg Ukrainian Labour Temple a national historic site also quite rightly pays tribute to the founding members," said Myron Shatulsky, a council member with the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians and the chair of the board of directors of the Ukrainian Labour Temple Foundation.

"These socialist-minded Ukrainian immigrants, some of whom had yet to receive their naturalization papers, and facing the possibility of arrest and deportation, sought and established a path along which they could achieve a better life for themselves, their children, their descendants, and for all Canadians.

"It is truly a historic event."

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