Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village Reopens
Leela Aheer, Alberta’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, had a guided tour of the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village (UCHV) on June 21.
UCHV Director David Makowsky officially greeted Minister Aheer and her UCP colleague MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk and her family shortly after 3 pm. The visit came on the heels of the museum’s reopening the previous day.
For Aheer, it was her first visit to UCHV, and she commented on how amazing the museum was before making a brief address to local media. For Armstrong-Homeniuk, she said she knows UCHV “inside and out” as there is an ancestral home of hers on site. “It’s like home for me. It’s like going to Baba’s house. It’s beautiful here.”
Aheer remarked, “One of the really, really amazing things about this space is that it gives you an idea of the many cultures that actually formed the tapestry and the incredible, incredible central background of Alberta.”
The village is representative of the time period between 1890 and 1930, and Aheer said it gives you a sense of the incredible impact the Ukrainians had in this area. “They tilled some of the hardest land in the world, coming from already a bread basket. But with that incredible resilience to be able to open up this part of the world and to bring large scale agriculture to Alberta.
It’s really wonderful to actually be here. I’ve lived in Alberta my whole life and it’s so sad to say that I’ve never been here. I’m so happy to come, and excited to take some pictures. So, Alberta get out and enjoy these beautiful gems in this province. There’s never been as good a time to explore this province than this. Thank you for this opportunity today.”
Aheer briefly touched on the subject of masks, and said if she was here on a normal day she would be wearing a mask, and she encouraged all Albertans to make masks a part of their daily life. “You’re protecting other people from you. I just think it’s something Albertans need to get used to personally…The masks are going to be a really important part of our future. It’s just going to make life easier for a lot us, and hopefully open up Alberta a lot faster.”
She recommended keeping a mask in your pocket at all times. “It’s your way of protecting people from you and our seniors and our vulnerable populations. You never know who’s going to be around you and who’s going to be compromised, and you’re actually helping out another person by doing that.”
Makowsky said that as part of the reopening, they had an inspection conducted by Occupational Health and Safety Inspection earlier in the week. “So somebody could walk through and see from the perspective of our visitors what it is we’re doing here, and we got that sign off to be able to reopen.”
Aheer said the province per capita had put out more PPE and hand sanitizer than anywhere in the country. She said the government and these sites are working collaboratively on that. “The province is going to continue on the front lines to make sure PPE is in those areas of vulnerabilities.”
Even though the visitor experience is going to be different this year, Makowsky said it’s a good opportunity to explore and view the museum through a different lens.
UCHV was one of five historical sites which reopened on June 20. Those other sites include: Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, Oil Sands Discovery Centre, Remington Carriage Museum, and the Reynolds Alberta Museum.
Aheer said, “Because many of our provincial historic sites and museums are within driving distance from urban centres, they are a great option for a day trip. We are also offering a 20 percent discount on weekday admissions until June 30, 2020.