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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Veselka Ukrainian Festival in Teulon Manitoba

By Ihor Cap

It  happens  every  year  since 1989, and this year was no different. They come from all over. They come  for the food, they come to buy souvenirs and gifts, they come to watch the children, teens and young  adults perform on stage, and they watch the awards ceremonies with nail biting interest, but mostly they  come to have fun!  Where?  They all come to the Veselka Ukrainian Festival in Teulon Manitoba. Hundreds upon hundreds of Ukrainian dancers make there way up onto the stage in front of an  audience of eager parents, guests and festival visitors. Over 500 dancers graced the stage at the  Teulon-Rockwood Arena to do their “gig” and compete with other 4 to 26+ year olds in their age  category. Then, they waited for the final decisions of expert adjudicators’ and announcements in front of  an appreciable audience to learn what awards they are going to take with them back home. 
7-year old Julia Armstrong 
with Selkirk Zorya

This dance competition is not like other dance competitions. There is no prompting whatsoever from instructors or audience members. Breaking the rules can lead to disqualification. Everyone is a medal winner though. All participating dancers receive an assigned mark with a corresponding medal: bronze, silver or a gold depending how well they performed in their age category. It’s a win–win situation for everyone.  There is plenty of applause and cheering from the audience. There are many smiles on the dancers’ faces when they receive their medals. There are also parents once again reassuring their siblings that working just a little harder at their technique may just bring them that much-desired gold medal next year. The whole scenario repeats itself with a different set of performers and groups the second day.  Sixteen dance clubs in all!
Ukrainian Dance has long been a popular form of dancing in Canada, but nowhere is this pursuit more apparent than it is than on the Canadian Prairies. It is a tradition that continues with each successive generation. You do not have to be Ukrainian to learn or appreciate Ukrainian folk dancing. It’s an art form that is loved by people everywhere. So treat yourself to one of the many Ukrainian Folk Festivals in the Canadian wheat belt. Meet Ukrainian dancers from all across the country. Join a dance club. Then prepare to meet the other participants at the amateur dance competitions in May at the Veselka Ukrainian Festival. Festival organizers say that it is bound to leave you feeling a “little more Ukrainian”.! 

5 year old Symon Cap with Vesna Ukrainian Dance School

  1. Saturday, May 23, 2009 a small portion of the participating Veselka Ukrainian Festival Dancers

What to See and Do in Teulon & District
Teulon and District Museum
Teulon Golf & Country Club
Teulon Curling Club
Teulon Veselka Ukrainian Dance Club
Veselka Ukrainian Festival end of May
Teulon & District Agricultural Society Fair in mid August
Teulon Tractor Pull in August
Pumpkin fest end of September
Teulon Green Acres Campground
Teulon-Rockwood Green Acres Park
Teulon’s Castle Sign (the only castle in the Interlake region)
Norris Lake Provincial Park nearby (10 minute drive)
Narcisse Wildlife Management Area (northwest of Teulon, take Hwy 17 to see the red-sided garter snakes that come to mate here)

Oak Hammock Marsh (southeast of Teulon, a nature viewing eco-reserve), and Winnipeg (a 30 minute drive from Manitoba's capital city)

History/Heritage of Teulon

According to the Town of Teulon Brochure (incorporated 1919), Teulon and District Museum pamphlet, the official Town website (, and Wikipedia, we learn that:
·        Rev. A.J. Hunter, a Presbyterian Church minister, developed a medical mission to serve Ukrainian pioneers settling the Interlake region in the early 1900’s.

·        Rev. A.J. Hunter is also the founder of the local Boys and Girls Homes boarding house where immigrant children could stay while they attended school.
·        Today, Dr. Hunter’s residence forms part of the larger Teulon and District Museum which consists of a one-room country school, a Ukrainian log house with outdoor bake oven, John Marko’s Shoe Repair Shop, a large machine shed with agricultural implements and a refurbished 1922 Model T Ford, a Ukrainian Catholic church with original contents from the 1920s, a Doll House with over 350 collectible dolls, and a railway caboose from the C.P.R. and C.N.R. rail lines.
·        Charles C. Castle affectionately named the town after his wife’s maiden name of “Teulon”. 
·        As of January 2008, Teulon’s population stands at 1124.