In August of 1943 a handful of Ukrainians gathered to explore the possibilities for the formation of an association of Ukrainian professional and businessmen at that time, to be distinct in character from the many existing Ukrainian organizations and clubs. The intent was to play an important role in the Ukrainian community of Winnipeg and even for Manitoba, to serve the need as an organization where lasting friendship and professionalism was to reach mutual convictions and goals.
The organizers of the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club -UPBC had the foresight to create a club which the intention at that time was to reach out and consolidate the Ukrainian talent pool within the Winnipeg community.
A committee of seven members, Dr. V. F. Bachynski, Julius Buriak, Vladimir Koman, W.J. Sarchuk, J.Semeniuk, Judge John Solomon and Wasyl Swystun who are regarded as the founding pillars of the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club were instrumental in organizing such an endeavour.
On November 4th, 1943 forty-five men gathered at the Ukrainian National Home on Burrows Avenue and officially established the name and defined the criteria for membership. Considering the circumstances and because of that inaugural meeting, an executive structure of the Club was formed. The executive committee was comprised of the following Ukrainian delegation: Dr. B. Dyma (president), Anthony Yaremovich (secretary), Dr.V.F.Bachynksi, Rev.Dr.B. Kushnir, John Kereluk, Vladimir Koman, P. Korman, Alex Malofie, John Semeniuk, Myroslaw Stechishin, and Wasyl Swystun as members of the first nonpartisan Ukrainian organization.
Thus, on November 17th, 1943 the first business dinner meeting was held at the St. Regis Hotel (on Smith Street) where a constitution was drafted, and the name of the club was accepted as the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg in the interest of the Ukrainian community.
The Ukrainian Professional and Business Club was brought into existence 75 years ago not only to organize the professional and business Ukrainian cliental of Winnipeg, but to work in harmony with the Ukrainian Canadian Committee (now called the Ukrainian Canadian Congress) on many issues pertaining to the cultural and social life of the Ukrainian Canadian community before and after the Second World War.
One of the major reasons for the existence of Ukrainian Professional and Business Club was to strengthen the stature and reputation of Ukrainian Canadians in Winnipeg, by coordinating Ukrainian issues and views on a national scale. Every past president had a mandate to plan out a goal during their term in office to come up with a specific unique contribution for Ukrainian culture and social life. Over the years many essential projects were initiated and promoted by the UPBC for the benefit of the Ukrainian Canadian community. To this day, the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club supports the veterans, nursing homes, summer camps, sports, culture and education, St. Andrew’s College in Slavic Studies and other projects that are essential for Ukrainian Canadian identity and leadership.
One of the major accomplishments and support for the Ukrainian Canadian community, the establishment of the Ukrainian bilingual program in the public schools of Manitoba (MPUE- Manitoba Parents for Ukrainian Education). On February 27, 1978 a brief was presented to Premier Sterling Lyon by the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg and the Ukrainian Canadian Committee requesting the government to amend the Public School’s Act to permit instruction in languages other than English and French. In July of 1978, the legislature amended the Public School’s Act to provide for the use of Ukrainian as a language of instruction for up to 50% of the normal school day. This amendment to the Public School’s Act became a monumental landmark for Ukrainian Canadians throughout Manitoba.
Therefore, over the years the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg and its members have contributed significantly to the promotion and successful implementation of Ukrainian as a language of study and to the English Ukrainian Bilingual Program. The vision to preserve the Ukrainian language, to sustain the cultural identity, became a very important educational segment for all Ukrainians.
Since 1986 a new era in the Club’s history (women become members of the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club) and from 1991 (Ukraine’s independence) onward, the image and direction of the UPB Club had changed. The Club has experienced a dramatic resurgence in membership growth. With this growth of membership, the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club had to identify itself with a Club logo to portray a visual impression of Ukrainian embroidery, intertwined to create a feeling of strength and unity within the community. Designed by Walter Kulyk, president/creative director at Traffic Advertising, the concept of the logo was to “represent people coming together interworking”.
Presently the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club has women and men destined to become leaders in the Ukrainian Canadian community, promoting their heritage, their achievements and contributing to Canada’s multicultural society. The UPBC of Winnipeg has always been in contact with the different levels of government and diverse organizations by supporting, enhancing and taking a decisive leadership role in many endeavors. In the past, there were annual co-joint meetings of German, Polish and Ukrainian Professional and Business Club members, a cosmopolitan representation, a good example of how different ethnic groups enjoyed each other’s company in harmony within the Winnipeg community.
The Ukrainian Professional and Business Club has spearheaded a variety of significant projects over the years for worthy causes throughout Canada and Ukraine. October of 1984, the UPBC of Winnipeg was instrumental with several other Ukrainian organizations throughout Canada and the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies incorporating the first volume of the Encyclopedia of Ukraine in English. This was a historical landmark in the history of Ukrainian Canadians and it exceeded all expectations. Then in the early years of 2000 under a sponsorship program, the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg and International HOPE Canada shipped hospital supplies in vast containers to Ukraine to help the less fortunate. No matter if the projects were done in the past or recently, the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg have always been the catalyst to further promote the professional and business interaction within the community.
Seventy-five years later, the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club can indeed be proud of the wonderful accomplishments. The Club stills promotes within the Ukrainian Canadian community professional and business networking for both the public and private sector, collaborates with cultural and educational institutions, upholds and recognizes the achievements and contributions of Ukrainians in Canada.
The Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg was founded because people cared, people were aspired, people had a vision to preserve the struggle of the Ukrainian Canadian pioneers. What a wonderful legacy the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club is leaving behind! The success of the Club has been woven into the fabric of our nation, richly coloring and strengthening our Canadian tapestry. The Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg has been a unique voice for many Ukrainian Canadians throughout the years by inspiring its members to look forward by maintaining a reputation of excellence and hopefully reaching a centennial celebration in 2043.
Visit The Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg web site at www.upbcwpg.ca
Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg
43 Past Presidents over a 75-year period from 1943 to 2018
Dr. Boris Dyma 1943-1945
John Kowal 1945-1947
Dr. Vladimir F. Bachynski 1947-1948
Alexander Malofie 1948-1949
John Shanski 1949-1951
Judge John R. Solomon 1951-1952
Mark G. Smerchanski 1952-1953
John J. Thomas 1953-1955
Fred James 1955-1959
Michael A. Mitenko 1959-1960
John M. Hawryluk 1960-1962
V.J. Swystun, Q.C. 1962-1964
Michael Kepron 1964-1966
Gregory J. Ratuski 1966-1968
Serge Radchuk Q.C. 1968-1969
George Berko 1969-1970
Dr. Joseph Slogan 1970-1972
John Huyda 1972-1973
John G. Karasevich Jr. Q.C. 1973-1974
Dr. Louis Melosky 1974-1975
Dr. Ihor Mayba 1975-1976
Orest Lazaruk 1976-1977
Ernest Cicierski 1977-1978
Walter S. Saranchuk 1978-1979
John Pankiw 1979-1980
Michael Sawka 1980-1981
Judge Theodore Glowacki 1981-1983
Con Genik 1983-1984
William Werbeniuk 1984-1986
Jack Pyra 1986-1987
Dr. Walter Lebedin 1987-1988
Michael Ruta 1988-1989
Nestor Mudry 1989-1990
Wasyl Nosaty 1990-1991
Terry Hryniuk 1991-1992
Nick W. Diakiw 1992-1993
Shawna Balas 1993-1994
Lesia Szwaluk 1994-1996
Michael Hawrysh 1996-1997
Jerry Moskalyk 1998-1999
Evhan Uzwyshyn 1999-2001
Sylvia Todaschuk 2001-2017
Lesia Gojan Klein 2017-2018