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Winnipeg’s Mayor Stephen Juba

In 1957 Ukrainian Canadians marked an important date on their calendar. This was the year citizens of Winnipeg elected a mayor of Ukrainian descent.  Stephen Juba was his name. He became one of the few long serving mayors to hold a high political office in the city from 1957 to 1977.

 Stephen Juba was born on July 1st, 1914 and raised in the west end of Winnipeg, in the Weston area, on William Avenue.  His parents Gregory Juba and Sophie Nasedyk were Ukrainian immigrants, both came to Canada like so many other new Canadians with aspiration to persevere a new life in a free world.

 From 1950 to 1957, Stephen Juba was involved in many political positions, at the civic level and as a member of the legislative assembly. His political affiliation, an Independent, not committed to any particular ideology.  Then in the fall of 1956 with the city’s diverse ethnic population particularly in the north end of Winnipeg, Stephen Juba got the opportunity to become mayor of Winnipeg. During his 20 year tenure he won several elections by acclamation and at times Stephen Juba’s contenders never came close to unseating him for the office of His Worship.

 Stephen Juba was very charismatic in his approach to promote Winnipeg on the world stage. He lobbied to have the Pan American Games in 1967, where hundreds of athletes, officials and visitors from all over North and South America converged onto Winnipeg. Stephen Juba inspired the construction of the Pan Am Pool, spearheaded the completion of the University of Manitoba stadium. Being a strong believer in promoting tourism, Stephen Juba placed Winnipeg on the map. During his tenure he led a project to build and complete the Disraeli Freeway, inspired to have the new City Hall built and police station. Stephen Juba amalgamated in 1971 the administrative offices of all the suburbs with the City of Winnipeg. He spearheaded the construction of the Centennial Library and the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

 As any mayor of a metropolitan area, Stephen Juba had a dream of seeing that a monorail rapid transit system be built but Winnipeg at that time was not interested. One of his major accomplishments during his time in office, reforms made for city’s management. Stephen Juba became a big promoter of the city, frequently making national news across the country. He was a mayor who had a vision for Winnipeg, a person who was very approachable and down to earth, very flamboyant, knew how to work with the media, a popular citizen who never forgot his cultural roots; the first Ukrainian Canadian to hold a high political office in the City of Winnipeg.

 For his many accomplishments, Stephen Juba was awarded the Order of Canada in 1970 and recipient of many distinguished service awards from the City and the Ukrainian community. A prominent politician, statesman and a visionary pioneer, a person that cannot be forgotten.  Stephen Juba died on May 2, 1993 in Petersfield, Manitoba.

About The Author

Peter J. Manastyrsky is an active member of the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg.

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