Barrie Honours Ukraine Independence Day with Historic Flag-Raising and Mobile Classroom

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An undisputed remnant from Ukraine’s turbulent history is taking pride of place in the outskirts of the Barrie Public Library this week. Quite fittingly, its presence aligns with a commemoration of a significant occasion in the country’s journey to freedom and independence.

A symbolic flag-raising ceremony transpired outside the grand structure of Barrie City Hall, signifying the Ukrainian Independence Day. Dating back to August 24, 1991, this important day recalls the moment Ukraine formally severed ties with the Soviet Union.

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The city’s Mayor, Alex Nuttall, stood with solemn grace announcing, “On this day, the 24th of August, 2023, we hereby acknowledge Ukrainian Independence Day within the city limits of Barrie.” This ceremony saw a congregation of many, including eminent local officials, honoring the noteworthy event.

Roman Plawiuk, orchestrating the event, expressed heartfelt sentiments, “Despite the inability to rejoice aptly on this Ukrainian Independence Day, we can harness a sense of pride—for the land you’ve crafted, the people tenaciously safeguarding it, and the values we ardently cherish. You are not isolated; Canadians stand unified with you, with faith dictating brighter days to come.”

Amid the Ukrainian Holiday’s celebrations, the Holodomor Mobile Classroom marks its three-day residency at the Barrie Public Library. Initiated by the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, this roving educational project illuminates Canadians about Holodomor—the famine genocide which wrenched millions of Ukrainian lives away in the brutal era of 1932-1933.

Roma Dzerowicz, the steward of the project, stated, “Our objective is to acquaint Canadians, particularly the student population, with this instances of genocide, while concurrently enlightening them about democratic principles, tolerance, and civility. More so, we aim to inspire them to make a significant difference in today’s global society.”

Since its inauguration in 2016, this “Classroom on wheels” has crisscrossed through numerous Canadian communities. This unique concept was birthed as an alternative to an expensive museum dedicated to the Holodomor, with its estimated costs spiraling into millions.

Dzerowicz explained the genesis of this unconventional project, “The proposal to spawn a mobile apparatus was derived from the notion that it could journey to places all over Canada, predominantly the inaccessible regions of Northern Ontario, Northern Canada, and Northern Alberta, where community members could not feasibly travel to a museum.”

The mobile classroom’s contents variably adapt according to its geographical positioning. Generally, when stationed in common areas, such as the Barrie Public Library, it features insightful documentaries on the Holodomor. However, visits to educational establishments offer a different curriculum, with specialized lessons presented on individual iPads, thus enlightening the student population about this overlooked historical period.

In conclusion, Dzerowicz noted, “In Canada, we have the privilege to discourse openly about unfolding events. Today’s students are the precursors to future leadership; the responsibility rests on them to take a bold stance.”

Towards the week’s closure, the Holodomor Mobile Classroom has scheduled stopovers at the Painswick Library Branch on Friday and the Essa Library Branch on Saturday.