Bookstores Still Thrive -- Although One Is in a Museum

By Rollason, Kevin | Winnipeg Free Press, June 23, 2012 | Go to article overview

Bookstores Still Thrive -- Although One Is in a Museum


Rollason, Kevin, Winnipeg Free Press


For many generations of Ukrainian immigrants in Winnipeg, North End bookstores and reading halls were lifelines to the homeland.

Decades later, those reading halls are long gone, but two bookstores still exist: Kalyna Ukrainian Book Shop, which is still a going concern on Main Street, and Ukrainian Book Sellers, which has found new life in a museum in Ottawa.

Kalyna Ukrainian Book Shop, a Ukrainian co-operative, has served Ukrainians for more than 81 years at 952 Main St.

Two years after the Ukrainian Veterans' Association was founded in 1928, the organization announced it was opening the bookstore to serve as the Canadian representative and distributor of the Chervona Kalyna publishing co-operative in Lviv.

Victor Danyliuk, chairman of Kalyna's board of directors, said the bookstore originally helped disseminate information about what was happening in the homeland, and then expanded into other areas.

"We even used to sell appliances," Danyliuk said. "It was a hub and it was a political hub.

"Older Ukrainian people come in here now and they stand and read the newspapers and then they'll buy three or four (greeting) cards," Danyliuk said.

"But most book sales are children's books, which is nice, because that's where the language is coming from now."

Elsewhere in the store, there are shelves with bolts of fabric to make Ukrainian dance outfits, coloured dyes to make Easter eggs, CDs and DVDs, and souvenir hats and soccer scarves.

Just like it did when it first opened its doors, Kalyna still helps people keep in touch with Ukraine, only in a different way.

Pointing to a stack of large parcels, Danyliuk said the store's main chunk of income comes from the shipping of parcels back to relatives in Ukraine and the transferring of money. …

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