Brownstein: Little Ukraine? In Montreal? You bet
Galina Lykhoshva notes that some may confuse the design of the park’s striking metallic arches for something sinister, perhaps a structure leading to a Siberian Gulag.
“But that’s not the case at all,” Lykhoshva insists. “We consider these arches a tunnel of love.”
By “we,” she is referring to fellow Ukrainians.
Lykhoshva is in the midst of conducting a tour of Little Ukraine, an area roughly bordered by 8th and 13th Aves. and Bellechasse and Beaubien Sts. in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
The catchy metallic arches are in Ukraine Park on the corner of Bellechasse and 12th Ave.
It is with no small amount of pride that Lykhoshva points out this is one of the few parks in the city named for a specific country: “I don’t know of a park of Russia, Armenia or even France. So this is really something.”
Lykhoshva has lived in Montreal for only five years, yet she is probably better acquainted with some of the city’s lesser-known sights than many native Montrealers. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked as a guide at the Château Ramezay museum, but, ever resourceful, she began offering tours of Little Ukraine and responding to visitors’ queries in French, English, Ukrainian and Russian.
“As an immigrant, you tend to look for some aspect of your home country in your new one,” she says. “In Montreal, I was surprised and happy to find so much — parks, schools, churches, stores, a seniors’ residence, even a Ukrainian Caisse populaire and a funeral parlour that offers services in Ukrainian in this area.”
It was Lykhoshva who dubbed the area Little Ukraine. “And now it’s official,” she says.
Lykhoshva is allied with the Professional Association of Tourist Guides of Montreal (APGT), which offers tours specifically designed for Montrealers to learn about the history, architecture, social fabric, diversity and evolution of selected neighbourhoods. In addition to Little Ukraine, certified guides also cover Cité de Maisonneuve and Little Burgundy.