10564 – 98 Street, Edmonton
Anxious for young people to prosper and be accepted in Canada while retaining their Ukrainian identity, pioneer Ukrainian leaders and upwardly mobile families erected student residential institutes, often with a particular religious or political focus, in major centres on the prairies. Edmonton’s Ukrainian Orthodox community established the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Institute in 1918.
Almost as soon as Ukrainians began arriving in Canada, like-minded individuals established local reading halls and other cultural-educational institutions that competed for followers. Their goals were to promote the organization’s specific religious or ideological agenda, improve literacy, teach about Canada, keep abreast of events in Ukraine and offer Ukrainian cultural programming. So-called institutes functioned not only as community centres but also as student residences, providing a Ukrainian environment for rural youth enrolled in high school or further education. The first organizations of this type emerged in Edmonton by 1900 and represented Catholic, socialist, and Protestant viewpoints. The Mykhailo Hrushevsky Institute, established in 1918, had its roots in an existing student club; it quickly identified with the newly formed Ukrainian Orthodox Church, becoming the focus of its Edmonton activities from its premises in the former Edmonton Bible Institute building, which housed the residence and the adjacent old Beulah Mission, used an auditorium. St. John parish (later becoming the Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral parish) worshipped there until acquiring its own church building in 1926. The Hrushevsky Institute, and similar institutes in other cities, moulded several generations of nationally conscious Ukrainian Canadians who prized education, good citizenship and their Ukrainian heritage. Reflecting changing times and priorities, the Hrushevsky Institute abandoned its north-side location after the Second World War and, renamed as St. John’s Institute, moved in 1949 near to the university campus. Today located on Whyte Avenue, the contemporary version continues to serve as a cultural centre for the Ukrainian Orthodox community as well as a residence for students, both Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian, attending the University of Alberta and other educational institutions. Its bimonthly “Perogy Supper,” open to the general public, welcomes local Edmontonians of all backgrounds to come and enjoy home-cooked Ukrainian food. The original building on the north-side no longer stands.