Taras Shevchenko Museum of Canada
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Museum Building

Taras H. Shevchenko
Museum & Memorial
Park Foundation

1614 Bloor St. West
Toronto, Ontario
M6P 1A7
Tel: 416-534-8662
Fax: 416-535-1063

 

The Taras H. Shevchenko Museum and Memorial Park Foundation owns a beautiful 16 acre park, on Dundas Highway in North Oakville. In the center of the park the stately monument of Taras Shevchenko, cast in bronze, with its pedestal of marble was standing majestically against the blue Canadian sky.





The Monument to Taras Shevchenko Errected in July 1, 1951
The Monument to Taras Shevchenko
Errected on July 1, 1951, Stolen in December 2006

Monument is Stolen

A massive 11-foot-high bronze statue of Taras H. Shevchenko was stolen from Shevchenko Park, just north of Oakville, Ontario in December 2006. A gift to Canada from the people of Soviet Ukraine, the statue was unveiled in 1951 in front of an international audience of 40,000 people. In the latest update to the "Shevchenko Statue Theft" saga, detective Timothy Conway and his partner detective Veronica Payne have advised the Taras H. Shevchenko Museum that the head of the stolen statue has been found. According to their report, the head, weighing about 200 lbs., was found in a foundry in Burlington (Ontario). The back of the head shows some damage, but, fortunately, the face is damage-free. More ...

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The unveiling of the monument to the great Kobzar of Ukraine, on Canadian soil, in July 1951 was a memorable occasion - the greatest in the history of Ukrainian Canadians. It commemorated the 60th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada and their historic contribution to the economic, cultural, social and political life of this country.

The site since then, has become sacred to the Ukrainian community - a Canadian Kaniv. Each year the anniversary of the unveiling of the monument is celebrated on Canada Day. Through all seasons of the year people come from near and far in memory of the Bard whose great works continue to illuminate the spirit of mankind.

The idea to errect a monument to Taras Shevchenko was conceived more than ten years before it was realized. Efforts to realize the plan began before the Second World War. It would have been an appropriate way to mark the 50th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada. The Ukrainian Labour-Farmer Temple Association (UFTLA), predecessor of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians (AUUC), started discussions of such a project as early as 1939. After more than 10 years of efforts, in 1950 the AUUC National Convention decided "to celebrate in July 1951 the 60th Anniversary of the life and creative labour of Ukrainians in Canada, firstly by a great National Festival of Ukrainian and Canadian song, music and dance, and secondly, by erecting a Monument in Canada to Taras Shevchenko, which would represent the full figure of the great poet of the Ukrainian people."

Immediately after the Convention the National Executive Committee (NEC) AUUC proceeded to contact proper authorities in Ukraine regarding the creation of such a monument. The great Ukrainian sculptors Makar Vronsky and Oleksa Oliynyk in a very short time created the Monument as a gift from the people of Ukraine to Ukrainian Canadians.

The inscription on the pedestal, carved in granite, reads: "T. H. Shevchenko, 1814 - 1861. From the peoples of Soviet Ukraine to the Ukrainian Canadians. Kiev, 1950."The pedestal, garden stones and the monument, twenty two feet eight inches high, weghing 51 metric tons all together, arrived early in Canada in all 121 pieces and in due course was assembled at the Shevchenko Memorial Park by brothers Max and Stanley Ilomaki.

Picture Picture
Picture
The bronze statue of the poet,
just under eleven feet, is hosted
into place by a crane.
March 1951
The monument, over 51 metric tons in weight, is ready and covered for the unveiling ceremonies on July 1, 1951 Wasyl Pilypiw cuts the ribbon that reveals the impressive bronze figure of the great Ukrainian Kobzar, Taras Shevchenko

 

The NEC, with assistance from the Special Jubilee Committee, composed of representatives of the AUUC, WBA (Workers Benevolent Association) and a number other fraternal Slavic organizations, launched a campaign for funds for the erection of the Monument, development of the Memorial Park and the building of a Museum near the monument to house exhibits that represent the life and rich legacy of creative works of Taras Shevchenko. And, since we were marking the 60th Anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada,there also had to be space for exhibits depicting their work and hard pioneering life in Canada.

Through publicity in the press and educational efforts carried on by AUUC branches- mass meetings, lectures, conferences - many Ukrainians for the first time learned their true history and realized as never before their own importance in the political and socio-economic life and their contributions to Canada.

With willing hands, the building of the Museum and preparation of the Memorial Park went into full swing. As promised, Peter Lozowy, the contractor, had the Museum finished by the end of June. The grassy farm of 16.5 acres had been tranformed into parkland: 600 trees and various sizes of shrubs were planted, top soil had been added and 500 pounds of grass seed sowed. Among the trees, just a little to the southeast of the Monument, standing in all its glory is a willow brought as a twig from Kaniv, Ukraine, in 1952 by Matthew Shatulsky.

The celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada and the National Festival of song, music and dance started by 1500 participants' performance on June 30, took place in Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The unveiling of the Monument took place the following day, July 1st, Canada Day 1951. It was truly a great historic achievement. 10,000 people in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens and 45,000 in Taras Shevchenko Memorial Park paid homage to Shevchenko and honoured the Ukrainian pioneers and their descendants for their contributions to the building of Canada.

Picture Picture
   

On Canada Day 1952 the Taras Shevchenko Museum was officially opened to the public. By then the museum had received 500 exhibits from Ukraine, mostly from the State Shevchenko Museum in Kiev. Among the exhibits were 23 beautiful oil paintings representing the life and work of the great poet, ceramics, wood carvings, Easter eggs, embroidery and much more.
The Taras H.Shevchenko Museum and Memorial Park, with the monument to the Great Kobzar at its heart, has grown in stature both at home and Ukrainian history and heritage in Canada. As a unique institution of the people, it consecrates a small piece of Canadian soil in the name and image of this titan of the Ukrainian people and the human spirit. To this day, the Museum to Taras Shevchenko remains the only such institution in the Americas. All through the years thousands of visitors from Canada, the United States, Ukraine and other countries walked the walkway to the Monument and through the doors of the Museum.

This institution - the Park, Museum and Monument, under the name of the Taras H. Shevchenko Museum and Memorial Park Foundation, was incorporated in Ontario as a non-profit institution on March 16, 1954.

Then, in the early hours of September 16, 1988, disaster struck when arson destroyed the Museum.

 

Museum now

 




Prints of Taras Shevchenko's watercolours are available at the Shevchenko Museum. These quality prints would be an excellent gift for Shevchenko art lovers. more...
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Collection of Ukrainian handicrafts and folk art
First Ukrainian Immigration to Canada
Shevchenko Stamp Collection
Quick Facts on Shevchenko Biography
Resources
Become a Donor


The son of a serf, Shevchenko became not only an artist and academician of Saint-Petersburg Academy of Art, but one of the most versatile people of 19th century. His paintings and graphics reflect a refined world that did not resemble his own life...(more)


 


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Since Feb 25th 2005