Held from July 20-24, 2009 in Ottawa Canada, “Back to the Future: The Ukrainian Canadian Immigrant Experience” was inspired by the 1911 William Topley photograph of a Ukrainian family in sheepskin clothing standing on a train platform in Quebec City. An original Pokrova story unfolds on a Saskatchewan homestead as a brother and sister sit in the attic of their grandparent’s farmhouse exploring the treasures and relationships of generations of Ukrainian immigrants. From Terry Sawchuk, to LUBA, to red fife wheat, the ties that bind immigrants to those ‘men’ in sheepskin coats resonate across the land.
In 2009, Pokrova Camp reached across generations to tell and show the impact of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada’s history. A field trip to the Library and Archives of Canada with a program specially designed for Pokrova kids showcased original archival photos of immigrant families from across Eastern Europe from before the turn of the 21st century. At the Portrait Gallery of Canada’s Karsh Studio, Pokrova took unique portraits of children dressed in period costume. From photographing their own experience with digital cameras provided through a grant from the City of Ottawa (and later donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa), painting charcoal sketches, performing Western Ukrainian Canadian dance steps and social dancing, to holding a world premier of an Epic Song for Canada, “Back to the Future”
37 children from North America posed, played, painted, shot, built, sang and danced to celebrate the pioneering legacy of Ukrainian immigration to Canada.
Pokrova Camp’s Honourary Patron was the Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada, Ihor Ostash.