Ottawa’s First Annual Ukrainian Summer Festival

Gregory Guevara, Ottawa.

Who is Behind the Festival’s Curtain?

When Jane Kolbe accepted the position as chairwoman of Ottawa’s first annual Ukrainian summer festival, she knew it would be a difficult but essential task. Why did she do it? “Vladimir Putin has united Ukraine like never before, and Ukrainians all over the world stand with Ukraine. Part of our job in helping Ukraine is to ensure that we maintain strong ties with each other and to help explain why everyone interested in global peace should be concerned about Ukraine’s future.”

The festival, which will be hosted in the nation’s capital from July 24 –26, 2015, will “… not only be a celebration of all things Ukrainian, it will also allow festival patrons look into Ukraine’s struggle for sovereignty and territorial integrity. Festival programming will showcase and elevate Ukrainian culture in Canada beyond a weekend of food tents and ‘zabavas’. The festival will foster a sense of common identity and fellowship in Ottawa’s Ukrainian community, and in Canada as a whole.”

Jane explained that Ukrainian Canadians publicly celebrate their heritage through a number of annual events. The best-known is Toronto’s Bloor West Ukrainian Festival and Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin, Manitoba “To date, the nation’s capital does not have such a commemorative festival that promotes civic memory and pride and respect for core democratic values. Having a Ukrainian Festival in the nation’s capital aims to remedy this.”

Jane, a policy analyst by trade, born in Edmonton, is a first generation Ukrainian-Canadian. She was raised in a small Northern Ontario town called Wawa and has been an active member of her community ever since she was young. “Wawa had a very active Ukrainian community,” she explains. “We made pysanky (traditional painted Easter eggs) and a Ukrainian priest from Sault Ste. Marie would visit Wawa every month so we could practice our Byzantine faith.”

Jane’s academic and professional backgrounds are one and the same. She has an MBA from the University of Ottawa, an MA in public ethics from St. Paul University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. Jane expects to finish her Masters of Law from Osgoode Hall Law School in September.

Jane is no stranger to volunteer work. She currently serves on the Board of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Ottawa Branch, is an executive of the Ukrainian National Federation, Ottawa-Gatineau, and is active in the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League and the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Ottawa. For over thirty years she has volunteered, and raised funds for organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, Breast Cancer research, The Man in Motion World Tour. She volunteered her time at The Ottawa Mission’s Stepping Stone program, and since the age of 16, Jane has been active in ensuring that issues of human rights and democracy remain on the forefront of people’s minds. Family life brought her to Ottawa where she has continued to be actively involved with several Ukrainian organizations and consistently promotes Ukrainian-Canadian culture.

In the past few months, Jane has united countless volunteers and all Ukrainian organizations in Ottawa, as well as secured many generous sponsors, to help make this festival happen. Although there is still plenty of work to be done, the festival has been planned to brighten up the summers of not only Ukrainian-Canadians seeking to celebrate their culture and heritage, but also of anybody interested in Ukrainian culture at all. To learn more about Ottawa’s first Ukrainian festival and see how you can help, visit Also, follow the Festival’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and be among the first to receive weekly updates about this exciting, dynamic, first-annual event!


Friday, July 24th
8:00pm- 1:00am
(1000 Byron Ave.)

Pub Night

• Ukrainia
• Lemon Bucket Orkestra
Doors open at 8 pm
Music to follow

Ukrainian Food, Alcoholic beverages available for purchase

(Available June 1 online and at the door)

Saturday, July 25th
(952 Green Valley Crescent)

All-Day Entertainment

• Lemon Bucket Orkestra,
• Ukrainia,
• DoVira,
• Svitanok Dancers,
• Zirka,
• many more

Grass “Zabava” with Zirka
from 8 pm-11pm

Vendors, market, Ukrainian Food/Bar, Pop-Up entertainment, displays, dancing


Sunday, July 26th
11am-6 pm
(952 Green Valley Crescent)

Community Picnic

• Multi-Faith “Prayer for Ukraine”
• Community sing-a-long/Jam session with Festival entertainers
• dancing

Vendors, market, Ukrainian Food/Bar, Pop-Up entertainment, displays, dancing