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WALTER LUCIW


Engineer, Architect

Date and Place of Birth: 1940 in Buchach, Ukraine


Date of Interview: October 13, 2016

Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario

Interviewer: Zoriana Kilyk

Length of Interview: 02:05:19 (raw)


(Excerpt):


Interviewer: Let's talk about that a little bit [the opening of Cardinal Josyf Slipyj school.

WL: I was president of St. Nicholas church parish and my wife was a school teacher. Bishop Boretskyy said, "Mr. Walter we need to open a school." At the time the school at St. Nicholas was 3 times or twice a week in the evenings, there was no parking...we needed a real school. My children went to St. Josephat which was jam-packed, at the time it was overcrowded and my children were in the basement of a house. That was dangerous. Everybody said yeah, yeah. I said, well, what are you going to do about it? So I went to the School Board and asked for another school. I checked out the Pastor of one school who said, “leave my school alone” because he was renting that building, so they didn’t want to rock the boat. So, I went to Metro[politan Toronto] Separate School Board and I said look at it, and they said yeah, we know the school is not large enough for 120 children and you’ve got 480. So, it’s a dangerous situation. Walter, we don’t have time to prepare the documents. I said, “I’ll do it for you.” So we checked out all the possibility of all the people, within a postal code within a certain distance in Etobicoke and western Toronto and we sent out mail to people to see how many would be interested in a new school. I got a response of 180 people. So I prepared all the documents for Mr. Norman, the man in charge of the programming. He said ‘this is fantastic’ and my timing was perfect. He presented it to the School Board, they said they appreciated it, and yes it’s a dangerous situation, and said they were closing certain schools because of lack of students. So, they gave us a school that was originally for JK [Junior Kindergarten] and SK [Senior Kindergarten] in the Queensway and Parklawn, and that area. We had 40 children or so in our first year. I said, ‘this is fantastic.’

So then they freed up Sunnylee School, the one south of Bloor and Royal York. It was a beautiful facility, a park, a lawn and everything else. Within two years we had 380 children there. Buses coming, and what have you; it was fantastic. I was the head of the PTA [Parent Teacher Association] and I was organizing it and everything else. Well, the local people got ticked off because this was their school and now all of a sudden these foreigners are coming in here singing strange songs, and what have you. So they created a rebellion and they made hypothetical demands that they needed the school back for this program, for senior citizens, they made up programs, unbelievable. The School Board decided to give back Sunnylee to the community. I said, what about us? They told us they were closing the school where JCS now is. They said it was a much larger school and we could grow into it. And there was a kindergarten wing. It wasn't ideal but it will bring other people from the north end. So we got involved in that, and now I know it's one of the largest schools with 480 kids, or what have you. Bishop Boretskyy was saying later we have a school, now we need a high school. I said "Bishop, we have Weston Road but parents aren't sending their children there." Boretskyy was saying until he died: "Walter we need a school."

Interviewer: That's your next project.

WL: Well I pushed it. When they opened up the school on Royal York, what's that school?

Interviewer: Bishop Allen.

WL: Bishop Allen. Bishop Allen was half full, so they offered it up. Why don't you co-share Bishop Allen, 50-50. I thought it was a wonderful program but when I proposed it to the community they wanted their own school so within two years Bishop Allen started filling up and we lost that opportunity. But I did my best.



CROSS REFERENCES:


St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church – Church History (see “ЦЕРКОВНИЙ КОМІТЕТ – ПАРАФІЯЛЬНА РАДА / CHURCH COMMITTEE - PARISH COUNCIL”


List of PLAST leaders from 1948 until today [Список Станичних від 1948 до тепер]

The interviews can be accessed at the UCRDC. Please contact us at: office@ucrdc.org

excerpt from the Interview with WALTER LUCIW
ORAL HISTORY OF UKRAINIAN CANADA