Canada is home to one of the largest number of persons of Ukrainian descent outside of Ukraine. Most reside in the western provinces, however many have chosen Ottawa as their home. Here’s a bike tour of edifices around town representing the Ukrainian diaspora within Canada’s capital.
On December 2nd, 1991 Canada recognized Ukraine’s independence. Suddenly in need of an embassy, this building at 331 Metcalfe St was purchased with the help of funds gathered by Ukrainian-Canadians. The embassy has since moved a few blocks over to 310 Somerset West, which will be visited at the end of this tour, however this one on Metcalfe is still used as a consular building.
Next stop is the Saint John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Shrine near the corner of Heron Road and Prince of Wales Drive. To get there I rode over to the Rideau Canal bike path, crossed the canal at Pretoria Bridge, and rode along the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway all the way up to where Heron Road crosses overhead. I accessed Heron by pushing my bike up the mini bike ramp along the edge of these stairs.
There is a bike lane along Heron Road that ends a hundred yards or so before reaching Prince of Wales Drive, so I took this well trodden path right around where the bike lane ends, that leads to the back of the church.
The statue on the edge of the parking lot is a monument to Taras Shevchenko (1841-1861), artist and national hero for his promotion of Ukrainian independence.
The church (or Sobor, or Shrine) was completed in 1987. More about it’s history can be found by clicking here. UPDATE – July 2018: The Capital Ukraininan Festival will be held at this site from July 20-22, 2018!
Next destination is the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral at 1000 Byron Avenue. To get there I cut through the Experimental Farm, along Island Park Drive, then west along Byron. The Cathedral opened in 1978. More on it’s history can be read by clicking here.
To complete the tour I rode along the Ottawa River Pathway back downtown to check out the Ukrainian Embassy on Somerset.
Ukraine purchased this building at 310 Somerset St from the federal NDP party in 1994, and it’s been their embassy ever since.
Et voila – the tour is complete!
P.S. Ottawa is also home to the rock band Ukrainia!