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Estate bequest to provide long-term support for Canora Lesia Statue

A popular Canora landmark is receiving funding to keep it looking its best as a welcome to visitors

CANORA - On October 5 at the regular Canora Town Council meeting, a special presentation was made. Representing the Canora Ukrainian Heritage Museum committee, Bernard Marchinko (president) and Dorothy Korol (treasurer) presented a cheque for $1,000 to The Planning and Development Department.

Korol presented the following remarks at the meeting.

“The Canora Ukrainian Heritage Museum is grateful for the generous bequest of $10,000 from the estate of the late Ernest Lewchuk who died in November of 2020. Instructions were: "This for the purpose of maintaining the grounds and maintaining the Welcome to Canora Lesia Statue with the direction that such be incurred at $500 per year for 20 years."

“The statue was built in 1979 and 1980 by his father, the multi-talented Nickolas Lewchuk and his brother Orest Lewchuk, located at the south end of Norway Road. It arrived on site on September 2, 1980 and was officially unveiled by Governor General Ed Schreyer on September 3, 1980, a seriously rainy day. 1980 was the 75th anniversary of Saskatchewan and Canora.

“The partners were the Town of Canora, The Board of Trade and The Canora Branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Assistance came from donations from organizations and individuals.

“On August 24, 2014, the Welcome Statue Committee passed a motion that the account and paperwork be transferred to the Tourism Committee and the Town of Canora. Much good work has been done by the Town to look after this symbol of welcome.

“Today we are honouring the request that this be used for the purpose of maintaining “Lesia” and grounds by presenting you with this cheque for $1,000 for the years 2020 and 2021, and will do so at $500 yearly for 18 more years. The Welcome Statue Committee still exists but is now an advisory committee,” concluded Korol.

Brandi Zavislak of the Canora Planning and Development Department, said the ongoing support for Lesia maintenance is much appreciated. “It’s all part of our community revitalization,” explained Zavislak. “It’s a wonderful way to carry on a legacy. We’ll see it in the community for years to come.”

According to information from the website, Lesia is a 15-foot statue of a woman dressed in traditional Ukrainian attire. Lesia holds a loaf of braided bread known as kolach along with salt, which is a welcome ceremony in the Ukrainian culture. Construction of Lesia took over a year and she weighs over 4,000 pounds.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress is a national organization established 80 years ago. Canora has been a branch since the beginning. Since then a Saskatchewan level has been added, which will be celebrating 50 years in 2022.

The main projects of the Canora Branch have been the Lesia Welcome Statue and the Museum.