Our History




The church building, a solid brick structure was built in 1891 and was called the McDougall Memorial Methodist Church. At one time a creek ran alongside the parish location, delineating Lord Selkirk’s holdings.

On March 1, 1931 a meeting was held at the home of Stephan Piseski. Twenty-nine faithful, from a group of immigrants and pioneers who had emigrated from the territory of Bukovina in Western Ukraine, were in search of their own house of worship.  They formally organized themselves as the Brotherhood of St. Ivan Suchavsky and purchased and became the new owners of the building.

The purchase of the church building in the 30′s was a major challenge.  The roof had to be replaced and a sanctuary constructed.  The interior and exterior of the building needed to be modified to conform to the requirements of the Orthodox Church.

The congregation struggled in its efforts to bring in much needed funds through loans, the sale of shares, and personal contributions for an initial down payment and to fulfill the mortgage commitment.  To raise additional funds, teas and socials were held in the homes of members and door to door canvassing was undertaken.

Although many of the artifacts were made of crude materials, they were created with much reverence and care.  The final touch for the completion of the interior of the Church was provided by the women through donations of hand-embroidered linens and scarves as covers.

The next steps, more specific to the spiritual needs, involved the confirmation of the jurisdictional links of the Parish and the engagement of a priest to serve in the Cathedral.  The Parish was accepted under the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America, with Canonical ties (under Bishop Dr. Zuk).  Rev. Fr. A. Khrustavka was assigned as the first permanent priest. He commenced duties in December 1931.

In 1933, bells were donated for the belfry by the Canadian Pacific Railway.  These remain in the belfry today and are used on special occasions.  In 1938, the church complex was expanded to include the parish hall, rectory and residence.  In 1944, the mortgage was paid and the Parish had clear title.  In 1945 work began on the onion-shaped domes which grace the Cathedral.  These were completed in 1952.

While energies were still being directed toward the organizational and physical structure of the building, the spiritual life of the church began to unfold.

It was not long before the church vibrated with the beautiful sound of a 50 voice choir.  The choral tradition remains very strong at St. Ivan’s, with priorities placed on a worship service and fellowship time full of music.

Although very traditional on one hand, the parish has always been very progressive in its approach to matters.  The Parish was lead by Dorothy Hardy as President for in excess of 25 years from the mid 1970s.  She set the parish on a path that was membership based, and quickly realized that English had to be a major part of the parish and that immigrants had to be constantly involved and assisted.  Hence parish life was bilingual – English and Slavonic in church, and English and Ukrainian at all functions.  In addition to these issues, she was a female leading a predominantly male parish council.

The 1980s saw major renovations to the church building including painting the domes and interior, carpeting, residence additions and installation of central air-conditioning throughout the parish complex (including the church) and acquisition of the lot next door through $1,000 leadership pledges.

The 1990s saw the parish start to work closer with other local churches, and in the 1997, the parish joined the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.

The 2000s were exciting times as new immigrants took hold of parish life and participated in expanding programming at St. Ivan’s including Orthodox discussion groups and weekly fellowship lunches.  Adjustments to life with a local Bishop and local sister parishes also took hold.  Major physical repairs to the front fence of the Church were lead by Olga Kyridak in memory of her husband Walter Kyrdiak.

Into the 2010s, St. Ivan’s  is very fortunate to have as Parish priest, Rev. Eugene Maximiuk.  Fr. Gene, Dobr. Zenovia, Lukian, Oryanna, and Markian are a great addition to the parish, which now boasts an Acolyte group of at least 8 members and an active Sunday school programme.   Major fundraising in the early 2010s was obtained through the Cropo Foundation and Winnipeg Foundation to assist in replacing the Boiler system.  Community Organizational leadership was echoed by Parish members.  Following the example set by leadership pledges in the 1980s, a Founder’s Circle was established to supplement the funds raised for replacing the boiler