A monument at Lagasse Park will keep the memories of the thousands of Ukrainian put in internment camps during World War I.
Organized by All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Champions For Change in co-operation with the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, the “21 Strands” monument was unveiled on Saturday morning with the consecration, laying of the wreaths, and remarks from Borys Sydoruk, Penny Fox, and Maureen Miller.
“It’s the actual height and interpretation of what it would be like to be in the concentration camp,” said Mayor Maureen Miller.
“There’s an opening between the fence itself and the gentleman behind the fence for you to have an opportunity to walk around the fence to see what it would’ve been like at the time to be interned there and have the beauty of life going on around you and having no access to that,” she said.
Between 1914 and 1920 thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans were unjustly declared “enemy aliens” and imprisoned during Canada’s first national internment operations under the War Measures Act.
The morning ceremony was followed by a presentation from Professor Lubomyr Luciuk, from Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario titled “Why we need to remember Canada’s first national internment operations.”
The monument’s display is meant to ensure that these types of internments don’t happen again.
“I am honoured that we have community members that took this charge forward and made it happen and created that memory for us. We have many Ukrainians that their ancestors didn’t share this story, they were embarrassed to share this story, and now this story is going to be told for the generations coming forward.
“It is our communities out here who are resilient because of our Ukrainian cultures that have evolved here. It is just an opportunity to take this conversation to a kitchen table,” said Miller.