The Ukrainian Experience
in Quebec

Intro - Preface
By: Alexander Biega

    With this book of essays, the Quebec Centennial Commission completes the centennial projects honoring the Ukrainian pioneers who settled in Quebec.
    Though the first Ukrainian immigrants to Canada moved westward to settle in Manitoba and Alberta, the Ukrainians who followed in their footsteps continued to enter Canada via the port of Montreal.  Many chose to forego the westward trek and make their home in the province of Quebec.
    Though their numbers were relatively small, those who did settle here brought, along with their children, their culture and their history which, in turn, both nourished and impeded assimilation as citizens of their adoptive country.
    The essays in this collection cover a wide range of topics: the history of Ukrainian immigration to Quebec and Canada, the early efforts to establish churches, schools, and secular organizations, the plight of those interned during World War I because they had the misfortune of bearing passports of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the struggle to establish viable settlements in northern Quebec, the attempts to register children in French Catholic schools, the establishment and growth of Ukrainian credit unions, the dedication of Ukrainian Quebecers in the two world wars, the remarkable participation of Ukrainian women in the affairs of their community, and the role of music and education in nurturing communal life.
    Although a variety of essays and articles on the Ukrainian experience in Quebec have papered in newspapers and magazines, to date this is the first collection on this subject in book form. As Managing Editor I hope that this book will be the first of numerous subsequent studies on the history of Ukrainians in Quebec.  Many areas are not covered in this volume; Ukrainian Quebecers have contributed significantly to the visual and cinematographic arts.  A whole book could be written about the work of filmmakers, painters, sculptors and architects.  There is no chapter here on Ukrainian writers.  And a study of the reflection of Ukrainians in the Quebec media would also be of great interest.  A chronicle of Ukrainian life in rural Quebec would also help to complete the picture of the Ukrainian presence here.
    What this book does show, however, is how different waves of the Ukrainian immigrants to Quebec and to Canada, managed to establish themselves into a full-fledged community, despite strong external and internal forces acting against them, and contributed to the building of the country and giving it a new face.

Alexander Biega, Q.C.
Ukrainian Canadian Centennial
Commission - Quebec
Managing Editor

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