Landmark site was a hub of activity during the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 and it has long been of great historic significance to the Canadian labour movement.
Winnipeg (10 Aug. 2009) - The Ukrainian Labour Temple in Winnipeg's North End – a focal point of the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 – has been designated a national historic site by the federal government.
The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada says the designation recognizes the architectural significance of the building and "the important role it played in the social and cultural activities of Ukrainian Canadians."
Built in 1918-19, the structure is the first and largest Ukrainian labour temple erected in Canada. It was built primarily by volunteer labour and financed by donations and served as a key hub for Ukrainian culture and political activism at the time.
The Ukrainian Labor News and other Ukrainian language publications were prepared and distributed from the temple.
Special significance for labour
The building holds an especially historic place in the Canadian labour movement, having served as a rallying centre for trade unionists during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. The temple was raided by authorities searching for evidence of alleged sedition and conspiracy.
The structure was designated a provincial heritage site in 1995 and it remains the only surviving labour hall associated with the turbulent events of the general strike. To this day it serves as national headquarters for the Workers Benevolent Association, established within its walls in 1922.
"I believe that proclaiming the Winnipeg Ukrainian Labour Temple a national historic site also quite rightly pays tribute to the founding members," says Myron Shatulsky, a member of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians and chair of the board of directors of the Ukrainian Labour Temple Foundation.
"These socialist-minded Ukrainian immigrants, some of whom had yet to receive their naturalization papers, and facing the possibility of arrest and deportation, sought and established a path along which they could achieve a better life for themselves, their children, their descendants, and for all Canadians. It is truly a historic event."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE