John Moskalyk for New Pathway, Toronto.
On November 19th and 20th, the “Weekend for Ukraine II” took place in Toronto. An initiative of Dopomoha Ukraini – Aid Ukraine Fund, the weekend consisted of three events over two days: a panel discussion; a concert; and a formal banquet.
The guests from Ukraine this year were: Hennadii Afanasiev, a 26 year old activist from Crimea who was a political prisoner in Russia for over two years; Ivona Kostyna, co-chair of the NGO “Pobratymy” and leader for Team Ukraine at the Invictus Games 2017; Yuriy Zhuravel, musician and author, front man for the popular group “Ot Vinta”; Michael Schurr, renowned journalist, satirist and Ukrainian television personality.
On Saturday afternoon, a roundtable discussion moderated by “Weekend for Ukraine II” co-chair Danylo Spolsky took place at Trident Banquet Hall. The group was joined by Consul General of Ukraine, Mr. Andriy Veselovskyy, as well as by singer/musician Vadyn Krasnooky.
In the evening, a concert took place at the King’s Garden Banquet Hall. After opening remarks from Michael Schurr, the program began with “Balaklava Blues” (by Marichka and Mark Marczyk) who wooed the crowd with both music and video imagery. Vadym Krasnooky of “Mad Heads XL” performed a repertoire of folk and popular songs which enticed the crowd to sing and dance. The evening’s headliner Yuriy Zhuravel wowed everyone in attendance with his tales and music. Over 200 people attended the concert.
On Sunday, a formal gala took place at the King’s Garden, attended by more than 250 people. MC’d by Krystina Waler and Michael Schurr, the gala featured keynote addresses by Hennadiy Afanasiev and Ivona Kostyna, as well as greetings from Dopomoha Ukraini chair Ruslana Wrzesnewskyj and UCC National president Paul Grod.
A continuation of the last year’s tradition, the live auctioning of a book by Yuriy Zhuravel highlighted the event and yielded a winning bid of $4,000 from Caravan Group's Chairman John Iwaniura, which was generously matched by Ms. Marta Witer. Despite the somber topics discussed, all present were uplifted by the positive messages of the keynote speakers. Both extremely active and influential, and both under 30, they impersonated the face of the next generation of Ukrainian leaders.
Ukrainian Credit Union Limited was the Title sponsor of “Weekend for Ukraine II”. Olya Sheweli, Member of the UCU Board of Directors, presented a cheque for $10,000 for Dopomoha Ukraini at the gala.