For more than 25 years, east central Alberta and its distinct Ukrainian heritage has served as the start of the long races of the Canadian Birkebeiner at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. The spirit of Ukrainian hospitality has provided a place to get ready for the race – the Silska Domiwka Friends Hospitality Centre – a place to meet friends before the race, to get some much-needed warmth and to make a last pit stop before getting on the race trail.
The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village has also provided free parking and a scenic backdrop. Who can forget the booming of O Canada at the start of the race?
For many of us who have taken part and volunteered over many years, the Ukrainian connection through the open-air museum and the broader community has been important to skiers and volunteers. It provides us with friends in one of the cultures on which makes Alberta strong.
On February 24, 2022, Russia’s invaded the Ukraine. 20,000 Ukrainian nationals seek temporary refuge in Alberta. An additional 650 newcomers come every week. They need money, furniture, accommodation, education and a place to wait out the war. As a member of the Canadian Birkebeiner Society you can help.
We have provided pledge cards in your volunteer and registration packages and will provide knowledgeable people at Volunteer Night, the Nordic Fair and the Viking Feast. Consider providing a donation to Ukrainian Canada Congress – Alberta Provincial Council (uccab.ca) using the pledge card your package. Consider becoming a volunteer with the Council.
See you at the Birkie!