For the last three years my daughter and I make a point of attending Toronto Ukrainian Festival held in September on Bloor West, between Runnymede and Jane. We always look forward to sampling traditional food, listening to live bands and people-watching.
I love food and am open-minded while trying different foods however when it comes to traditional Ukrainian fare – varenyky, kapusta, borsch (by the way, it’s not “borscht”, there is no “t” in the “borsch”!), holybtsi, I become super-critical. Let’s start with varenyky, a.k.a. perogi. Canadians and some Ukrainian Canadians love the potato-cheddar cheese variety. This variety is unheard of in Ukraine! It has to be some crazy North American invention as cheddar cheese was not available in Ukraine. I lived there until 1993 and can assure you that nobody made those.
We like to visit different vendors and marvel at their displays.
These are the traditional Ukrainian embroidered rushnyky (towels). They are used to decorate religious icons, during wedding ceremonies or just to decorate a Ukrainian home. They are also used as table runners, panels to make pillows or any other place that needs a little embroidery.
My family is from Bukovyna, a region in the Western Ukraine. This is a partial shot of the hand embroidered Bukovynian blouse. We believe that this kind of embroidery is protecting against the bad spirits. The blouse is heavy, up to 20lbs because of all the tiny beads that are sewn on it. It’s not cheap, $600 CDN and I couldn’t it get it cheaper even in Ukraine. My aunt make these blouses and they go for $500 US.
Me in my embroidered blouse, trying on a Bukovynian headpiece 🙂
Another traditional costume from a different region in Ukraine
I don’t think he liked it too much so Lvivske Pyvo didn’t get his stamp of approval 🙂
Interesting piece of trivia:
Canada has the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population outside of Ukraine. Ukrainian Canadians represent the ninth largest ethnic group in the country.