The Toronto Ukrainian Festival is North America’s largest festival of its kind. It’s a colourful, weekend-long event celebrating the Ukrainian culture, its people, music and dances. Every year the Festival attracts audiences well in excess of 500,000 from across Canada, the U.S. and abroad.

The Festival stretched from Runnymede Road to Jane Street this year. It was a sunny and hot day when I went to the festival yesterday; these shots are just a very small sampling of what I saw.

Lechowia Dancers

With its unique flair and style, Toronto’s award winning Lechowia Polish Canadian Folk Dance Company recreates for the stage the rich artistry of Polish folk culture while delighting its audiences at home and abroad! Founded in 1977 as an amateur dance organization, Lechowia (pronounced le-hovya) takes its name from Lech, a prominent Polish legendary figure credited for establishing the Polish nation. Today, the Company comprises over 200 dancers, singers and musicians ranging from children to adults. Lechowia’s varied repertoire includes the stately court dances, the Mazur and the Polonaise made popular by Frederic Chopin; the high-spirited Polka, the colourful Krakowiak, the fiery Oberek, the dazzling Goralski mountaineer’s dance as well as the beautiful songs of Silesia.

Cresendo Chamber Choir

The Crescendo chamber choir was created in 2020 under the direction of Pavlo Fondera. The choir has an interesting, complex and diverse repertoire. During its existence, the group took part in many charity concerts in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and for humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The members of the group are talented young people from Toronto who enthusiastically and passionately perform and popularize Ukrainian choral and pop music in Canada.

Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble

A prominent figure in Canada’s fabric of Ukrainian Dance groups, the Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble is a vibrant group of semi-professional dancers from Calgary, Alberta. Tryzub is a consistent feature artist of the Calgary Stampede Parade and Calgary’s Globalfest. Tryzub has performed across Canada, the USA, Mexico, Panama, Columbia,Australia, Turkey, and the beloved Ukraine.

Bandura Beyond Borders

Bandura Beyond Borders is a Toronto-based instrumental bandura quartet made up of close friends Borys Ostapienko, Orest Chornomaz, Oleksander Petlura and Ivan Dusanowskyj. Together, they approach the bandura from a new, fresh perspective. In traditional ensembles, the bandura is used for accompanying singing, but Bandura Beyond Borders demonstrates that the bandura can have a voice of its own. The group’s skillful playing showcases the bandura as a versatile and expressive instrument that can be used to play different styles of music, including classical, adaptations of popular music, and inventive arrangements of traditional Ukrainian songs. Bandura Beyond Borders has entertained audiences from New York City to Sault Ste Marie. The quartet also share their passion for the bandura and inspire people of all ages to learn through the Toronto Bandura School, which they founded together in 2015.

Barvinok Hamilton Ukrainian Dance Ensemble

In this year’s Festival, the Barvinok Hamilton Ukrainian Dance Ensemble presented traditional costumes worn by Ukrainian people. The Ensemble has been in existence for over 60 years and is home to over 30 students between the ages of 3 and 25. Based in the Holy Spirit Church Hall in Hamilton, Ontario, and under the direction of Nadine Usyk and Taras Gulka, dancers perform year-round at various church celebrations, festivals, concerts, and celebrations within the Greater Toronto Area, as well as the Hamilton & Niagara regions. Barvinok performed on the televised broadcast revival of the “Tiny Talent Time” show, and in front of appreciative audiences at the Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival, the Capital Ukrainian Festival in Ottawa, and the St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Festival in Rochester, where it made its US debut.

Natalya Gennadi

Ukrainian Canadian soprano Natalya Gennadi is establishing her operatic career in North America in a wide range of repertoire. Natalya caused a sensation when she stepped in at short notice in her debut in the leading role of Oksana G, Tapestry Opera’s harrowing tale about human trafficking. Her critically acclaimed performance of this world premiere was nominated for the prestigious Dora Mavor Award. Natalya’s 2022 engagements include solo collaborations with Music and Beyond Festival, Ottawa, Gryphon Trio, Rose Orchestra, Brampton, Counterpoint Orchestra, Toronto Concert Orchestra and Tapestry Opera. Recent opera roles include Violetta in La Traviata, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Mimi in La Bohème. During the pandemic Ms. Gennadi produced a digital Ukrainian Art Song Mini Series and became a 2021 recipient of the prestigious REACH Development Grant.

The Vendors

The Games

The Food!

The Crowd

Stuff For The Kids