Post Office and Letter Writing in Ukrainian Canadian Community
Jelena Pogosjan
Post Office: “I called it Wostok…”

For rural Canadian communities, a post office played an extremely important role: In the small towns and villages the post office stood as a tangible symbol of progress, prosperity, stability, and maturity. Conversely, a small town or village acquired a distinct identity by means of its post office. One of the most striking examples of the self-affirmation was the process of petitioning authorities in Ottawa for a new post office. When the members of a community filed such a petition, they were required to propose a name for the post office.

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A “Bowing Letter” in Ukrainian Pioneer Culture in Canada

Ukrainian immigrants who settled in Canada in the 1890s and early 1900s were mostly peasants, many of them illiterate or semiliterate. Back home, they normally did not write or receive letters. Their extended families lived nearby.The Ukrainian peasant in Canada was not, of course, totally unaware that such things as letters and letter writing existed. Generally speaking, however, these were looked upon as something exclusively reserved for the educated

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How to Write Letters

In 1914, the Ukrainian Bookstore in Winnipeg published Як писати листи (How to Write Letters), a guide for writing letters, both business and personal, with parallel text in Ukrainian and English. The book had a number of reprints, the last of which dates back to 1951. This book was compiled by Rev. Maxym Popovych Berezynsky (1878–1948).

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“Letters are to be addressed…”

During World War I, connections to the Old Country were interrupted for many Ukrainian Canadians: international postal service was disrupted, boundaries in Europe moved and addresses changed. The first letter that came from Ukraine after the war had a special significance: it came from “Ukrainia” – the Ukrainian National Republic. Український голос (Ukrainian Voice)[xxi]reprinted an article from The Montreal Daily Star, published on February 6, 1919

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