Ukrainian newcomers treated to pre-Stampede breakfast

As Calgary welcomes hundreds of Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country, many got a preview of what the city is best known for: the Stampede.

The displaced Ukrainians were treated to a pre-Stampede breakfast and an introduction to what the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is all about after a Sunday service at St. Stephen Protomartyr Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Bill Lewchuk, one of the organizers, said the event was also aimed at helping connect the newcomers with support and people able to help make their stay easier.

“They don’t have a lot of contacts,” he said. “This is an opportunity to meet people from the community and people from Ukraine as well.

“A lot of them are looking for employment, so it’s a good chance for them to schmooze and make connections as well.”

Arina Nechatailiuk, a newcomer now calling Calgary home, said she has been impressed by the kindness shown by Canadians and hopes to learn more about Stampede.

“People are so nice,” Nechatailiuk said. “People are willing to help. People are not buried in their own problems. They are willing to communicate with you.”

“So far I understand Stampede is like a competition,” said Arina Nechatailiuk. “It’s all about the cowboy stuff, dressing like a cowboy or cowgirl. It has a historical meaning probably, but I didn’t really get into it.”

The Calgary Stampede runs from July 8 to 17 this summer.

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