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206th anniversary of the birth of Taras Shevchenko
Ukrainian Canadian Congress,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Mar 09, 2020
Today, Ukrainians around the world mark the 206th anniversary of the birth of Ukraine's bard, Taras Shevchenko. His contributions to the development of Ukrainian culture, national identity and national unity cannot be overestimated.
For two centuries, Ukraine's Kobzar has inspired generations of Ukrainians, both in Ukraine and abroad.
Every year in Canada, Ukrainian language school students recite his poetry, choirs perform his works, and communities gather to commemorate him. More than a thousand Shevchenko monuments have been erected in the world, his works have been translated into almost every language, and streets, educational institutions and cities have been named after him.
One special story is connected with the Shevchenko monument in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1959 the Ukrainian community in Canada embarked on a significant undertaking - to place a monument to Taras Shevchenko on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature. Thousands of people from across Canada donated money for this endeavour - raising $175,000 in total.
Two years later, on July 9, 1961 nearly 10,000 Ukrainian Canadians from across the country gathered in Winnipeg to witness Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker officially unveil the monument. For more than half a century this monument remains a place of gathering to mark important dates in Ukrainian Canadian history.
Ukrainian Youth festival in Winnipeg in honour of the Taras Shevchenko monument unveiling _ July 9_ 1961. Photos_ Oleksandr Alvayev.
Shevchenko's poetry and artwork are cherished around the world. His dedication to the Ukrainian cause will remain close to our hearts forever. His voice spoke loudly and forcefully for self-determination and freedom. Today, as the people of Ukraine bravely battle to defend their country from Russia's invasion, the words of Taras Shevchenko continue to inspire them and us.
Strive - and you will triumph
For God is on your side!
Truth and glory are with you
And sacred freedom!
- T. Shevchenko, 1845