• By: Keith Whittier

Spend a Day in Ukraine Right Here in Ottawa

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The Capital Ukrainian Festival may have just wrapped up their programming but there’s another way to visit Ukraine this summer right here in the Nation’s Capital!

Ottawa Welcomes the World has been a series of events spotlighting different cultures via music, art and food. On August 24, you can stamp your passport to the home of varenyky, the Klitschko brothers and the largest aircraft in the world when a Day in Ukraine comes to the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne Park.

Hosted by the Embassy of Ukraine in Canada and the Ukrainian Youth Association, the event will have two reasons to celebrate. Not only is it Canada’s 150th but it is also Ukrainian Independence Day. Commemorated in 1991 with the country’s Act of Declaration of Independence, the day sees the flag flying high as the population comes out to parades, fairs and fireworks.

While Ottawa may not get the abundance of patriotic pageantry seen in Kyiv, Ukrainians here will have many ways to enhance their local party. The event may only last a day but it’s a packed one featuring interactive exhibitions from some of Ukraine’s leading innovators, art workshops, a marketplace and, of course, food. It wouldn’t be a Ukrainian gathering without copious amounts of perogies!

“Ottawa Welcomes the World gives our country a special opportunity to highlight the important, historic relationship between Canada and Ukraine. I invite all communities to join us in celebrating this history and to take a peek into Ukraine’s hospitable and vibrant culture,” said Andriy Shevchenko, Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada.

Here's some of what you can expect from the event:

If fashion is what you’re looking for, two prominent Ukrainian designers will be on hand to present a collection of more contemporary ethnic wear while a visit to the artisanal marketplace will give you a look at more traditional fashions. Ukraine is known for its colourful embroidery, a symbolic tradition that dates back to 513 BC. The event will also feature a fashion show with items available for sale.

While also known for the Chernobyl accident, Ukraine quickly became a country educating on the harm of nuclear power and armament. Three years after one of the biggest nuclear incident in history, they opted to destroy their arsenal and join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Guests will be able to take the first ever virtual tour of the site during a Day in Ukraine and a VR Projection will be presented to tell the stories about the incident.

Sand animation artist Dariya Tymonina will be producing a piece special for the event which touches upon the important relationship between Canada and Ukraine. The work combines sand and digital media to create unique and beautiful visuals.

Latching onto the recent popularity of escape rooms, a Day in Ukraine will give adventure-seekers a chance to puzzle their way out of a mysterious place. The thrilling twist is that the room will be coming all the way from Kyiv. Can you get out?

Of course you can expect some fine Ukrainian music at this party!

Featured performers include Ukrainian soft rock band Mad Heads XL, Crimean Tatar singer and activist Elvira Saale and the Svitanok Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. This is a group proud to share in the innovative traditional dance styles of the country. All the dances have meaning behind the choreography giving the audience a chance to think more on the colour, athleticism and beauty in the motion of the performance. See what dazzled Prince Charles on his recent visit to Canada!

It will all come to a frenetic climax when electro-folk band ONUKA takes the stage for the band’s Canadian debut. The show is free and all-ages are welcome to join the festivities.