Friday, November 5, 2010

Historical Vignettes: St. Catharines Branch

The St. Catharines Branch of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited was founded in 1946 under the name of Ukrainian (St. Catharines) Credit Union. There were 18 founding members present at the first meeting. The St. Catharines area as well as the Niagara Region has a large and vibrant Ukrainian community. Institutions in the city include the Ukrainian National Federation, Ukrainian Black Sea Hall, St. John's and Sts. Cyril and Methodious Ukrainian Catholic Churches and St. George's Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Plast and SUM youth groups Ukrainian language schools and more. There are numerous other Ukrainian churches, businesses and institutions in the surrounding area stretching from Niagara Falls all the way over to Hamilton.

The staff at St. Catharines Branch today.
Fun Fact:
Angelo Mosca, a past wrestling and CFL football champion used to be member at Ukrainian (St. Catharines).
Angelo Mosca in his football years

According to the official minutes, the first General Meeting of Ukrainian (St. Catharines) Credit Union was held at 177 Niagara St at the "Ukrainian Home of Education". Mr. M. M. Borowsky presided over the meeting and Mrs. Lena Cybulak was the secretary.

In those early days, the credit union did not have its own vaults. Deposits were collected from members and then deposited into a chartered bank "not later than 48 hours after collection" according to the minutes. For children's accounts, the membership share stood at 25 cents!!!

The first branch was located at 181 Niagara St. in a small office in the UNF (Ukrainian National Federation) Hall. Later a property formerly occupied by an old jail house (pictured below) at 118 Niagara St. was purchased. Perhaps fortunately for the staff at the time, the jail was torn down before they moved in. This jail is noted for having conducted Canada's last hanging.
Former jail house

The branch as it looks today.

You have to admit, ghosts or no ghosts it would have been pretty cool to have the branch located in the old jailhouse.

Joining the UCU family
Ukrainian (St. Catharines) Credit Union merged with Ukrainian Credit Union Limited on December 1, 2008 and the members and staf have been a very important part of the UCU family since then.
Staff help a member decide between 2.25% for 6 months
or 2.50% for 20 months

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