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Historic Smoky Lake general store moved to Ukrainian Village

Edmonton ... The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village added a new building and another unique chapter of Alberta’s past to its historical townsite this past week. Andrij (Andrew) Shymko’s United Merchants of Alberta (UMA) general store, a gift from the Town of Smoky Lake, was moved to the village in a two-day journey on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 8-9.

Built circa 1930, the 35 x 60 foot (10 x 18 m) store was located in Smoky Lake’s business centre and initially housed approximately $25,000 worth of stock. The store changed owners several times and was finally acquired and operated for many years by the Mykytiuk family.

The store will be installed along the Main Street of the village on a new foundation and eventually restored to its original condition. Once research is completed, the building will be furnished with contents appropriate to the era in which it was built.

Shymko’s store represents the transition made by some first-wave homesteaders from Galicia and Bukovyna into professions and mercantile businesses, a change that began around the time of the First World War. These new Ukrainian business operators formed the National Cooperative Association, which later became the United Merchants of Alberta. Eventually they established a chain of UMA stores throughout Edmonton, east central Alberta, and beyond.

Andrij Shymko was a Ukrainian entrepreneur who came to Canada just prior to the First World War. He joined the UMA in its formative years in the early 1920s, and built and owned several UMA stores in addition to the Smoky Lake venture.

Operated by Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is located 25 minutes east of Edmonton on Highway 16. Regular seasonal opening is from the May long weekend through to Labour Day. For more information, visit www.ukrainianvillage.ca or call 780-662-3640 (dial 310-0000 for toll-free access within Alberta).

Photos of the move are available at www.culture.alberta.ca/newsroom

 Media inquiries may be directed to:

Arnold Grandt
Director
Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
780-662-3640
Cell: 780.499-1873
arnold.grandt@gov.ab.ca

Radomir Bilash
Senior Historian
Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
780-341-2354
radomir.bilash@gov.ab.ca
To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

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