Peter Svarich Memoirs: 1877 - 1904, vol. 1

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Peter Svarich. William Kostash, trans.
Edmonton: Ukrainian Pioneers' Association of Alberta and Huculak Chair for Ukrainian Culture and Ethnography, 1999

Peter Svarich is a Canadian with a fascinating story. His autobiography begins with a Ukrainian village boy full of dreams. He pushes hard for an education, serves as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army, then organizes the emigration of a huge group of families to Edna (now Star, Alberta) in 1900. The trip to Halifax was not without adventure, and the ride between Edmonton and Edna was momentous; pulling horses out of the deep mud, nearly drowning, coping with horrible mosquitoes, feeling alternately elated and hopeless. Peter describes the experience of selecting homesteads, building their first houses and ploughing their first fields. Peter Svarich does not stay long on his homestead, but works on the CPR, in the Rossland mines, and up in the Klondike during the gold rush. He returns to Vegreville and marries Mary Fedorkiw, opening a post office, building roads and schools and exploring many other occupations. Peter Svarich was an articulate and vocal community leader, and a writer with a vivid style. Translated by his nephew William Kostash, his tale is presented here for the first time in English.

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