On August 24, 1991, Ukraine declared its independence, breaking away from the Soviet Union.
Wednesday parishioners of Holy Protection Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Burlington gathered in the hall to mark the 31st anniversary of Ukraine as a nation.
Alexandra Tarasenko, a native of Kyiv who arrived recently with her three children, served as co-host, speaking in Ukrainian. She speaks four languages and has experience working as a teacher of French.
The children Eiva, Illay and Oscar sang the Ukrainian national anthem ‘Derzhavny Gimn Ukraini’ and another popular tune that originated in the old country.
The Tarasenkos, who now live in Oakville, were the first Ukrainian refugee family to arrive in Burlington after the war broke out in February. Alexandra’s parents now have joined her in Canada.
Alexandra’s husband is still back home, as is the husband of Iryna Demchuk, whose hometown is Zbarazh in the western part of the country near Lviv. Demchuk is working at a credit union in Hamilton.
Viktoria Maksimovich, who arrived in Canada with her son Daniil from Kharkiv in the eastern part of Ukraine where all the fighting has taken place, has found accommodation in Burlington and will take courses to improve her position as a website developer.
Her father is the owner of a dental clinic in Kharkiv and her mother now is living in Germany.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward dropped in to assure everybody the light at the end of the Brant Street Pier will remain in blue and yellow colors and the Ukrainian flag will fly in front of City Hall as long as the conflict lasts.
By DENIS GIBBONS