Wednesday, February 29, 2012

RRSP Gift-a-palooza makes final 2012 appearance

The staff in North York pose for a group picture.
RRSP Gift-a-palooza pulled into the North York branch amid a vicious February snowstorm. What a way to end off the RRSP season. We're glad that many of our members seem to have made their deposits early this year, because if the storm continues like this, the evening drive home (and to a branch to make your contribution) will be a bit rough. We suggest phoning in your RRSP contribution if you have not yet done so. A list of our branch phone numbers and location can be found here: Contact Us.

Anyway, despite the snow the branch is in a jovial mood and the members coming in are having a blast with some of the great gifts they can get if they sign up for a Pre-Authorized Contribution (PAC) RRSP plan.

Maria Chlapak and Antonina Svitilnikova last Friday
during the RRSP Gift-a-palooza visit to Bloor.
We also stopped by the Bloor branch last Friday. Another rather miserable day weather-wise, with sleety rain falling most of the day. Boy we sure know how to pick them. But on the other hand, what better day to put a smile on people's faces than when it is yucky outside?

More photos from RRSP Gift-a-palooza events around town can be seen on our Facebook page.

Know When to Hold 'Em and Know When to Fold 'Em

This week we are posting the portfolio standings at the end of trading on February 28th. Last week's results included the last posting for portfolios before our trade date, and given the larger than expected number of portfolios that required adjustments, it has taken a little longer than usual to get the portfolio positions posted.

Once again, most of those making trades saw a positive improvement to their positions, and for a couple of these it made a big difference - they knew when to fold 'em. However, a couple other portfolios saw substantial gains without making any changes at all, indicating that they knew when to hold 'em.

The net result is that we have two new portfolios in the top three as of the February 28th, one which made position switches that worked out really well, and another than just let their original positions catch a positive wave higher. What is interesting with respect to the trading that did occur, the top 4 spots at the end of February 17th did make trades, some looking to consolidate their gains and protect them through conservative holdings, while others looked to extend even higher their portfolio position by strapping on higher beta (risk).

Currently in top spot is Matthew R., who was in 4th spot at the end of February 17th, and whose portfolio gained 24% from the 17th to the 28th. He did make some trades, gearing up his portfolio for the push towards top prize. Up to this point, his portfolio has generated a 49% gain from the start of the contest.

In second spot is Yuri B., whose portfolio generated a very solid 28% gain since February 17th and is up over 38% since the start of the contest. Yuri did not make any changes to his portfolio, but has patiently waited for his positions to begin to bear fruit, and the last several days they certainly have.

Finally in third position right now is Alexandra F. who made a position adjustment in her portfolio following an impressive run up in her portfolio during the first two weeks of February. Her portfolio slipped a little since the 17th, but is up a strong 26% so far.

The other portfolios that deserves honourable mention this is week include: Giovanni V., who saw a strong 24% pick up in his portfolio, letting his original positions carry him into 7th spot, and move up of 42 positions from February 17th;

Pawel S., who did make position switches and benefitted from them as his portfolio gained over 14%, and;

Vitali S., whose portfolio also gained over 14%, gaining 18 positions in the standings.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

UCU Members on Dragons' Den. Again!

Katherine Vellinga challenges attendees at the Windsor
Ukrainian Heritage festival last fall to a vodka taste test.
You may remember from a UCU newsletter (see it here, page 3) about two years ago that UCU member, John Vellinga and his company Multiculture Bevco Inc., owners of Slava Ultra Premium and Zirkova Premium vodkas were featured on CBC's hit reality business show Dragons' Den.

That year, they won the Viewers' Choice Award & Grand Prize- as voted on by the national TV audience of nearly 2 million Canadians.

And now, Dragons' Den is doing a "Where are they Now Episode" on Wednesday February 29, 2012 from 8-9 EST which will be featuring Slava Ultra Premium Vodka!
“We will always appreciate the confidence UCU had in us and the assistance they gave our business in the early stages!,” says Katherine Vellinga, co-owner of Multiculture Bevco Inc. Katherine recently appeared at an evening devoted to female entrepreneurs in Ukraine. We will be posting some photos of that event on our Facebook page later this week, so stay tuned.
To see a SNEAK preview of the episode:

We have also had the pleasure of tasting their newest addition to the lineup, the honey pepper vodka, and it is a very smooth, yet sweetly spicy libation.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

RRSP-a-palooza update from Mississauga

Our road show is just wrapping up for the day in Mississauga. We'll be here for another hour or so. If you missed us, drop by the Bloor branch tomorrow. We'll be there starting in the morning.

More photos are in the RRSP Gift-a-palooza album on our Facebook page.

RRSP Gift-a-palooza!!! (Deadline is almost here)

The looming RRSP contribution deadline seems to elicit a
comically over-the-top reaction from  long-time
UCU member (and Director of Marketing) Yuriy Diakunchak
The RRSP deadline is almost upon us, and yet many of us are still probably saying "I'll make my contribution next week". I know that I waited till yesterday to make my first contribution (thanks Olenka at Etobicoke for preparing all the paperwork).

But we just know that our branches will be stacked with people on february 28 and 29 making last minute contributions. So we decided to make it easier to make up your mind by going from branch to branch this week with a little display to remind people that time is running out (only 7 days left as of today). We also want to let everyone know that the government is planning on reducing or even eventually eliminating the Old Age Supplement (OAS) thus making it even more important for all of us to save money for a financially secure future.

Today (February 23) we have set up shop in the Mississauga branch and tomorrow we will be at Bloor and Armadale. Next week we hope to visit another branch or two. We'll let you know where and when as soon as we can. Keep an eye on the blog or our facebook page for details.

More photos are in the RRSP Gift-a-palooza album on our Facebook page.

Durie Reno Pt. #4

Michael Zienchuk, Manager, Wealth Strategies Group,
goes over  some architectural drawings of his
group's new headquarters.
We had a site visit yesterday for a pre-move-in orientation and everything looks splendiferously fantabulous! We can't wait till this space will be open for members to visit. This will likely be the final set of photos that we post before we move in.

You can see new pictures taken yesterday (Wednesday Feb 22) as well as older photos on our Facebook page in the Durie Renos album.

Furniture was being moved in yesterday.

Stay tuned for news on events that we will be holding here soon. There will be a couple of "sneak pre-view" opportunities to come by and see the space in action. The official opening will take place later on once the weather gets much more spring-like.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The gift of giving starts at...

Etobicoke? Mississauga? Bloor West Village? Elsewhere? Over the next few days this week and perhaps even next week, we will be setting up a little gift table at certain branches in the GTA. As those of you who have already set up a PAC (Pre-Authorized Contribution) Plan for your RRSP know, we have been giving out a small gift this year as an encouragement to those who take their RRSP savings very seriously. For the next few days we will visit a number of branches to during the height of RRSP season to encourage you to save, save, save.

We'll be in Etobicoke (West Mall) on Wednesday, in Mississauga (Cawthra) on Thursday and Bloor West on Friday. Next week we'll visit another branch or two. Anyway, if you want a special little gift of appreciation from UCU, be sure to come early as we will be setting up early to mid-morning (depending on the branch, in Etobicoke we probably won't be set up till around lunch time for example) and hanging about until we run out of supplies. You will probably be okay if you show up around lunchtime or early afternoon.

Fat Tuesday in Windsor

If you have a hankering for delicious donuts today is the day to show up at our branch in Windsor where Mike Kryworuchko is doing what he always does and supplying pampushky/paczki from a local bakery!

Also tonight is the Shumka concert in Windsor. So if you need a bit of a sugar rush, or you want to shoot the breeze about Ukrainian dancing, or mortgages or something, drop by the branch and see Mike.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week Five Results In - We Have a New Leader!

It's nice to have strong markets during an investment challenge, as almost everyone enjoys watching how their portfolios rise in value. So far we see that 40 of the 59 portfolios in the contest (68%) have generated positive returns over a 5 week period. That is a great result.

Often there is a position or two that tends to drive overall portfolio performance, and we have seen this with many of the strong portfolios in our contest. A few weeks ago we listed the top 10 individual positons in our contest, one of which had over a 100% return over just a few weeks. When we did our review, the 10th best position at that time had a 25%+ return.

This trend continues, and we've seen some other positions rise rapidly since our last review, and a couple in particular have helped catapult a portfolio into 1st place. Alexandra F.'s portfolio has had very strong gains over the past few weeks, driven by two positions that have gained over 25% in the first 5 weeks - Complete Genomics, which is up over 33% and Netflix, which is up almost 26%. Alexandra F. is now our leader, with a 30.6% return on her portfolio!

Great work, but there are others who are not far behind, including Volodymyr V., whose portfolio has dominated for a few weeks, and is currently in second spot with a 28.8% return so far. His portfolio holds the National Bank of Greece position, which has generated a 106%+ return so far when converted into CAD. Other positions for Volodymyr have also been fairly strong, with Apple up over 16% and Guggenheim China Small Cap ETF up over 13%.

In third place we currently see Adam M., whose portfolio is up over 23% at the halfway mark of our contest. His big contributors to portfolio performance include MAG Silver Corp (up almost 29%) and Imperial Metals (up over 20%).

Week Five signalled the halfway mark of our contest, but it also was the trade date. We had many contestants making trades, and we will release the new portfolio positions once we have entered those trades in. We are using Friday February 17th closing prices for both sells and new buys. We'll get the posting of the new portfolios as soon as possible.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shumka in Windsor

Shumka will be appearing at the Chrysler Theatre, St. Clair Centre for the Arts on Tuesday Feb 21 at 7:30pm. We congratulate our branch in Windsor for selling all 200 tickets he had on hand at the special discounted price of $30 (including all taxes and fees). Great job Mike and your crew!

For those of you who still wish to get discounted tickets, you can call Mike at 519-256-2955 or email him at and he will see if he can still get some more for you from the St. Clair Centre. You can also get full-price tickets form the box office.

You can read more about Shumka and the show in the Windsor Star.

Below is a description of the show taken from the program booklet.


Harvest Angels
A stunning display of energy and colour featuring four distinct regions of Ukraine:  Bukovyna, Zakarpattia, Pokuttia and Hutsulschyna. Set against the backdrop of a golden wheat field – the symbol of life that nourishes the body and the spirit – a flowing red ribbon connects the harvest angels of these lands. Despite the geographical contrast between the regions – from the highest peaks of the mountains to the vast openness of the plains – a profound sense of passion, pride and unity unfolds.

Pathways to Hopak
Pathways to Hopak explores the twists and turns of life that lead us to this moment of celebration. This emotional journey guides its travelers through life’s universal cycle of birth; youthful playfulness and the search for love; the tragedy of conflict and the desire to wash clean our battlefields; and, ultimately, the opportunity to begin the cycle again. Shumka’s Ukrainian dance vocabulary springs from the traditions of our ancestral village dances and the joy of freeform dance inspired by the kolomeyka at our festive gatherings.

A Cobbler’s Gift
Unlike his distracted fellow cobblers, an aspiring young bootmaker works diligently to craft a new pair of boots from the finest white leather - befitting a princess. Enchanted by the sudden arrival of a beautiful woman, the young bootmaker presents his gift as a gesture to win her heart. Enamoured with her gift and charming new suitor, the young woman departs to share the news of her good fortune. Motivated by this tender moment, the other two cobblers get down to work in hopes of securing a similar destiny. Caught up in their excitement and fun-loving antics, the cobblers fail to notice that the young woman has returned…and, she’s not alone. The day ends with everyone putting their best feet forward in a romantic, kick-up-your-heels celebration.

Eve of Kupalo - a Midsummer's Night Masque
Rife with the symbolism and pageantry of summer solstice folklore, Eve of Kupalo is a delight for the senses. On the enchanted midsummer’s night of Ivana Kupalo, magical creatures take on human form to influence fate and determine who will be lovers, who will be prosperous, and ultimately, reveal what – or who – is behind the masque. Pre-Christian Slavic rituals that blend human relationships with the splendor of nature inspire this passionate search for truth.

50th Anniversary Hopak
The Ukrainian Shumka Dancers celebrate tradition in motion with this hypervisual, breathtakingly powerful new Hopak! Ukrainian dance companies the world over are defined by their Hopak and Shumka’s 50th Anniversary was the ideal occasion to introduce a new artistic milestone to the company’s extraordinary journey. Choreographer Dave Ganert’s creative quest began with eight dancers working long days, challenging conventional perspectives on the “traditional” Hopak and expanding its vocabulary in a distinctly Canadian context. The creative team set out to discover, for both male and female dancers, a fresh expression of the virtuosity in Ukrainian dance and ways to intertwine contemporary lyricism with traditional steps.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Friday Feb 17 - UCU Investment Challenge 2 Trade Day!

Markets have been strong over the past several weeks, with the exception of last week (which was a slight pull back from a very strong 6 week run).

We posted an earlier comment where we showed the top 10 performing positions, and the 10th best had a return over 25% since the start of our contest. This week has shown a few other stocks performing very well, and we will see that portfolios will be shifting positions fairly dramatically by the end of the week.

Which leads us up to Trade Day, which is Friday, February 17th. We will ask that all contestants wishing to make changes to their portfolios please send in their switches (both sells and buys) by 18:00 (6pm), so that we can record them. Both sell and buy prices will be marked using closing prices as of Friday February 17th.

Things are heating up, and we noticed that over the past week distances between portfolios in the winners' circle have narrowed, and we have several portfolios within striking distance of a prize, where the 4th through 8th spots that could make a dramatic move during any week.

St. Valentines in St. Catharines

Svitlana Rudenko and Alicia Ritchie get ready to
greet members with  sweets and coffee.
St. Catharines branch held a little impromptu St. Valentine's Day celebration yesterday with cake and cookies and coffee!

Some branches seem to have all of the fun.

Happy Anniversary Natalia!

Olena Dzyubak, Anna Komelkova and Natalia Chervonyi
of the London branch pose with Roman Litwinchuk, UCU COO
Natalia Chervonyi, our Branch Manager in London just celebrated her 20th year with Ukrainian Credit Union Limited!

Her co-workers brought some delicious sweets while Roman Litwinchuk our COO and Alison Conroy our Operations Manager presented her with some gifts for her new house.

On behalf of the whole company we thank you for your dedication, knowledge and expert care of the members.

Natalia's co-workers wished her many more energetic years of working for UCU and also a speedy conclusion to her current project - building her dream home.

You can read more about Natalia in her spotlight article.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Durie Reno Pt. #3

Painting the hallway.
The painters were in last week. Everything looks a lot brighter now than it did a few days ago. Still a lot of work to do, but you can start seeing the end on the horizon. Those of us who have been displaced for the past 5-6 weeks are starting to think about how we'll handle the move back.

Also last week, there was some tiling work being done in the front entrance, so we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused in regards to access to the ATM.

It won't be long before we throw the doors open again and you will be able to come in for yourself to see what we have done to the place. Even the front facade will get a make-over, but that will have to wait till near the end of the project.

From the outside everything still looks the same.
We'll try to get back in for some more photos next week. Hopefully by then the painting will have been done and the work will have moved on to other stages.

There are more photos from the construction site on our Facebook page in the Durie Branch Renos folder.

2nd Annual Bohdan Tatarka Bonspiel

This year's bonspiel winners before the start of the tourney.

The 2nd Annual Bohdan (Bob) Tatarka Memorial Bonspiel took place on Sunday February 12th 2012 at the St. George’s Golf and Country Club. A dozen teams faced off for the top honours, some faring much better than others.

The event is held in commemoration of Bohdan Tatarka and the proceeds are donated to support summer camp programs of the Ukrainian Youth Association, "My father's favourtie charity," according to Adriana Grod (nee Tatarka).

Last year's event generated over $6500 mostly from the generous bids on auction items. Not yet sure what this year's total is, but prizes included everything from a vodka tasting party hosted by Slava Vodka, to a fully stocked Molson's beer fridge to hockey ticekts and even tickets to Luba Goy's new show.

The winners for the second year in a row were a team consisting of Stephan Luciw, Taras Pitt, Slawko Medwidsky and Andriy Kostecki. I guess we know whom everyone will be gunning for next year. Start practicing your rock throwing now.

You can see more pictures of the tournament on our facebook page.

Kidzapalooza at St. Joseph's Church

Volunteers from St. Joseph Church get ready to
serve coffee and pampushky

St. Joseph's Ukrainian Catholic Church hosted Kidzapalooza at their branch new community centre. Kidzapalooza was put on by a local neighborhood group called Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre and featured kiosks from many child-oriented organizations and businesses.

Ukrainian Credit Union helped out by sponsoring coffee on behalf of the St. Joseph parish. Coming out to this event not only gave us the opportunity to meet many of the new church's neighbours, but also to see the progress on construction. The community centre portion is finished but for a few cosmetic touches and the parish is now holding  services in the banquet hall. The church itself will be finished sometime in March. 

We've posted some more photos of Kidzapalooza and the church on facebook.

Rough week, but some impressive gains

Following a week of market declines as the world waited for Greece to ratify further budget austerity to gain access to a second financial aid package, the Fourth Week of the UCU 2 Investment Challenge wrapped up.

This current week, Week Five, is trade week, where we allow any one to make trades in their portfolios, with the closing prices on Friday, February 17th being our marks for both sells and buys. We will post an updated stock screen with valuations and price momentum indicators to our website to help those looking for ideas.

Back to Week Four results. We are pleased to see that even though the week was a rough one - the TSX Composite was down over 1.35% on the week, while in the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about a third of a percent and the S&P 500 Index was down a touch as well, we saw some portfolios post impressive weekly gains.

Here we highlight George F.'s portfolio, which returned 34% on the week. The second strongest performer was Alexandra F.'s portfolio, which returned 8.5% on the week, and helped her move into 4th position in our contest, less than $1,000 behind the third place spot. Other strong performers included: Giovanni V. with a 5.7% return on the week; Boris B. with a 4.4% return, and; Kelly M. and Alexander R., both with a 4.1% weekly return.

The portfolios in the winner's circle are in a tight race, where Volodymyr V. remains in top spot for the second week in a row, and his portfolio has returned 22% over the first four weeks. In second spot is Adam M., whose portfolio is up 17% so far, while in third is Matthew R., up 15% for the same period.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

News of the weird department...

1847 self portrait of
Taras Shevchenko as a soldier
Several years ago, someone stole a Taras Shevchenko statue in Oakville. Considering it was made of metal, you would think that it was sold for scrap, melted down, gone for good. Turns out, Shevchenko is quite the survivor (like anyone ever doubted that!).

You can read about this peculiar saga in the Toronto Star: Stolen Taras Shevchenko statue returned after 10 years. There's an interesting video that goes along with the story.

For those of you not familiar with Taras Shevchenko, he is considered the "national bard" of Ukraine. Sort of a Sheakespeare type of thing, though his works are much different. He was born as a serf, but managed to get a decent education and showed a talent for drawing which helped get him de-serfed and turned into a freeman. He then went on to annoy the heck out of the oppressive foreign tsarist regime ruling over Ukraine at the time and had to suffer much because of that.

Though the formation of a national culture is a complex and multi-faceted process, Shevchenko is quite rightly credited with being the key driving force behind the emergence of modern Ukrainian culture, literature and national identity.

His most famous poem is the Zapovit (or Testament), written in 1845 provided here in both Ukrainian and English (sourced from Wikipedia). It has been translated into over 60 other languages:
When I am dead, bury me
In my beloved Ukraine,
My tomb upon a grave mound high
Amid the spreading plain,
So that the fields, the boundless steppes,
The Dnieper's plunging shore
My eyes could see, my ears could hear
The mighty river roar.
When from Ukraine the Dnieper bears
Into the deep blue sea
The blood of foes ... then will I leave
These hills and fertile fields --
I'll leave them all and fly away
To the abode of God,
And then I'll pray .... But till that day
I nothing know of God.
Oh bury me, then rise ye up
And break your heavy chains
And water with the tyrants' blood
The freedom you have gained.
And in the great new family,
The family of the free,
With softly spoken, kindly word
Remember also me.
— Taras Shevchenko,
25 December 1845, Pereiaslav
Translated by John Weir, Toronto, 1961
Як умру, то поховайте
Мене на могилі,
Серед степу широкого,
На Вкраїні милій,
Щоб лани широкополі,
І Дніпро, і кручі
Було видно, було чути,
Як реве ревучий.
Як понесе з України
У синєє море
Кров ворожу... отойді я
І лани, і гори —
Все покину і полину
До самого бога
Молитися... а до того
Я не знаю бога.
Поховайте та вставайте,
Кайдани порвіте
І вражою злою кров'ю
Волю окропіте.
І мене в сiм'ї великій,
В сiм'ї вольній, новій,
Не забудьте пом'янути
Незлим тихим словом.
25 грудня 1845,
в Переяславі

more on Taras Shevchenko on wikipedia

Events worth noting March, April, May


All sorts of things are happening in the community this fall. We thought we'd post info about a few of them here for you. If you have an event that UCU is supporting through sponsorship, volunteer assistance or via an ongoing relationship with your organization, please feel free to send us information to post on the blog.

New to this post! We are now going to list things in reverse order so that you don't have to scroll all the way down to the bottom to get at the latest information! Yeah!

For summer events please visit: Events worth noting June, July, August

May 27, 2012
SFI Speaker Series
The Strategic Foresight Institute and the League of Ukrainian Canadians (Etobicoke Branch) invite you to an evening featuring Edward Lucas, International Editor of The Economist. He has covered Central n Eastern Europe for more than 20 years and is an expert on energy security and on Russian foreign and security policy. Admission is $20 for adults, students free with ID.

May 26, 2012
Vyshyvanyj Vechir
The Vyshyvanyj Vechir Zabava and fashion show is taking place Saturday May 26 at the Lithuanian Hall on 1573 Bloor St. West. Klooch and Zirka will headline the evening. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Zabava starts at 9pm. For more information please call 416-566-2664.

May 24, 2012
Town Hall Meeting
The Canadian Conference in Support of Ukraine (CCSU)  League of Ukrainian Canadians, League of Ukrainian Canadian Women, Ukrainian Yoh Association of Canada (CYM) and the Society of Veterans of UPA invite everyone to a townhall meeting with MPs Bernard Trottier (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) and Bob Dechert (Mississauiga-Erindale) Start 7pm at the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Community Ctre 482 Horner Ave. in Etobicoke.

May 26, 2012
Canada Ukraine Chamber of Commerce AGM
The AGM of the CUCC will take place in the foyer of the Trident Banquet Hall 145 Evans Avenue in Etobicoke starting 6:30pm sharp. Guest speakers will invlude Ihor Ostash, Ambassador of Ukraine in Canada (2007-2011) and Volodymyr Stelmakh, Past President of the National Bank of Ukraine. Admission is free for members, $20.00 for non-members.

May 6, 2012
Markian Ochrymovych Humanitarian Award
Ukrainian Canadian Social Services Toronto Branch will honor Erast Huculak and Zenia Kushpeta with the Markian Okhrymovych Humanitarian Award at the Old Mill Restaurant in Etobicoke. Tickets at $200/person (with a $100 income tax receipt). The event starts at 6pm. To order tickets call Olena at the UCSS Toronto office 416-763-4982. Please visit for more info.

April 29, 2012
PLAST 100 Year Anniversary events
Plast will be commemorating it's 100th Anniversary throughout this year. The first event is a world-wide renewal of the Plast oath that is scheduled to take place on this day everywhere that there are Plastuny. CKOB!

Tango - Vesolowskyj CD Launch
Vesnivka Choir with guests Toronto Ukrainian Male Chamber Choir and Burya Band will be performing songs by the composer I. B. Vesolowskyj. The event will start at 3:30pm and will be held at the Trident Banquet Hall at 145 Evans Ave. Tickets are $45 for adults, $35 for seniors and students (includes wine and canapes). Call 416-246-9880 or 416-763-2197 for tickets.

April 26, 2012
How ETFs broaden your investment opportunities
We are holding our very first in a series of seminars at the new Wealth Strategies Group office at 2265 Bloor St. West. Join Michael Zienchuk, Manager Wealth Strategies Group, to learn about Exchange-traded funds on Thursday April 26th. The evening will also feature a guest appearance by John Vellinga of who will be hosting a Slava vodka tasting before the seminar begins. We would love to have you join us! Space is limited so to reserve your spot, pleas call Anna Procio at 416-763-5575 x200. More details on our blog

April 23, 2012
The 68th annual General Meeting of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited starts at 6pm!

April 22, 2012
Spilne Sviachene - Easter Luncheon
Enjoy an afternoon with the Ukrainian Community at the UNF/UWO Easter Luncheon. The event is hosted by the Ukrainian Women's Organization at the Ukrainian National Federation - Toronto Branch at 145 Evans Ave. All are welcome, admission is by donation: $25.00 for adults, $12.00 for children 12 and under. Contact Anne at 416-249-0907 to reserve your seats.

April 4, 2012
Lecture by Dr. Marta Dyczok
The UWO Ukrainian Students' Club has invited Dr. Marta Dyczok, Assistant Professor of History and Political Science, to present a talk on Ukraine titled "Ukraine's Ups and DOWNS: The FIrst Twenty YEars of Independence. The event will take place at the Stevenson-Lawon building room 2270C at 7pm. Non lub memebrs are welcome. A discussion/Q&A session will follow.

March 31, 2012
Pysanka Workshop #3 
Kosa Kolektiv is hosting its 3rd annual Pysanka Ukrainian Easter Egg Workshop. Proceeds are to go to the Pysanka Orphanage in Potelech, Ukraine. Beginners are welcome, starts at 2:00pm and ends at 5:00pm. Supplies and eggs are included in the $10 admission price. More info about the workshops and the Pysanka Orphanage here: To sign up, please email

March 29, 2012
2nd Annual WUSA Pysanka Extravaganza
Starts 6pm at 121 University Avenue Unit 100 in Waterloo. Bring a kistka if you want to use your own. Eggs will be provided along with great pyrohy!

March 24, 2012
Pysanka Workshop #2
Kosa Kolektiv is hosting its 3rd annual Pysanka Ukrainian Easter Egg Workshop. Proceeds are to go to the Pysanka Orphanage in Potelech, Ukraine. Beginners are welcome, starts at 2:00pm and ends at 5:00pm. Supplies and eggs are included in the $10 admission price. More info about the workshops and the Pysanka Orphanage here: To sign up, please email

March 18, 2012
Pysanka Workshop #1
Kosa Kolektiv is hosting its 3rd annual Pysanka Ukrainian Easter Egg Workshop. Proceeds are to go to the Pysanka Orphanage in Potelech, Ukraine. Beginners are welcome, starts at 2:00pm and ends at 5:00pm. Supplies and eggs are included in the $10 admission price. More info about the workshops and the Pysanka Orphanage here: To sign up, please email

March 14, 2012
Taras Bulba Movie Night
The Ukrainian Students' Club at Ryerson is organizing a Taras Bulba Movie Night at Imperial Pub (54 Dundas St. E.) Event starts at 6:30pm. More about the event at this Facebook link.

March 12, 2012
An Evening with Shevchenko
The Ukrainian Women's Organization and the UNF Boyan Choir invite you to an evening with one of the worlds greatest poets, Taras Shevchenko. The event will take place at the UNF Hall at 145 Evans Ave. at 7:00pm in the evening. 

March 10, 2012
Perogie Night II
The UWO Ukrainian Students' Club is holding its 2nd Annual Perogie Night at 375 Huron St. near King's College. Event starts at 6pm. Lots of food will be available. $3 cover charge with proceeds donated to charity. More info at this Facebook link.

March 9, 2012
Ukraine What Next? An evening with Oleh Rybachuk
Oleh Rybachuk, Chair of the "Centre UA" NGO, will speak about the political situation in Ukraine. He will focus on the parliamentary elections that will be held in October 2012, the candidates, the issues, the role of the Diaspora, and support from Western Nations.

Ukrainian Literature Day
SUSK is holding Ukrainian Literature Day to mark the birthday of Taras Shevchenko, Ukrainian poet, artist and literary father. SUSK encourages you to visit your library to check out books on Ukrainian topics so that they do not end up being discarded as "infrequently used". To find out what this is all about, visit this link.

March 7-8, 2012
Family Portrait in Black
In a small Ukrainian town, Olga Nenya raises 16 black orphans amidst a population of Slavic blue-eyed blondes. This film tells their stories and exposes the harsh realities of growing up as a bi-racial child in Eastern Europe. Two showings remain at the ROYAL Theatre (608 College St. W.) Wednesday March 7 at 7pm and Thursday March 8, 9:30pm. You can learn more about this movie at the film's website or at IMDB

March 7, 2012
Making Bombs for Hitler
The Ukrainian Women's Organization of Canada, Toronto Branch, is holding a book launch for Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's "Making Bombs for Hitler". This novel follows the fate of Lida, kidnapped by the Germans and forced to work as an Osterbeiter - a slave labourer. Severely malnourished, emotionally traumatized, and worked half-to-death in a munitions factory where her small hands make her an ideal bomb-assembler, Lida is nonetheless determined to find out what happened to her vulnerable younger sister. The event will be held at the UNF Hall, 145 Evans Ave. Toronto, 7;30pm.

March 4, 2012
Документальний фільм "Двері Лемківщини"
The Canadian premiere of the film "Двері Лемківщини" (At the Gates of Lemkoland) will take place at the Cine Starz theatre at 377 Burnhamthorpe Rd E. in Mississauga. Film starts at 5pm. For more info call 905-629-2627, 905-586-1456 or visit the Canadian Lemko Association website.

Ukrainian Foxtrot
A century of cakewalks, two-steps, ragtimes, shimmies, foxtrots, charlestons, and more... This multi-media presentation by Wasyl Sydorenko will take place at St. Vladimir's Institute (620 Spadina Ave.) on Sunday at 2pm. For information call 416-923-3318.

March 3, 2012
Slovo Tarasa - Bandura Recital
The Canadian Bandurist Capella presents "Slovo Taras" a unique commemoration of Taras Shevchenko first performed in 1939. This is the first time in 45 years that this program is being staged. Come and experience Shevchenko's great works at St. Joseph's Ukrainian Catholic Church Heritage Centre at 300 River Oaks Blvd E. at Trafalgar Road in Oakville. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 fdor students and seniors. Children under 14 that are accompanied by an adult are free. The show starts at 6pm. For info and tickets visit, or call 905-330-0642.

March 1, 2012
Kobzar Literary Awards
The Kobzar Literary Award Gala will be taking place on March 1 at the Palais Royale in Toronto. Tickets are $250/person. for info, please visit or email 

St. Valentine's Day Dances

Roses are red
Violets are blue
We may be a financial institution
But we love to have fun too....

There are a ton of St. Valentine's Day dances and events happening around the community in the next couple of weeks. We have tried to list as many as we know about. If you know of an event we missed, please post a comment below or email us at with the details. Have fun!

There's a Facebook page with many listings all together Upcoming Events. But we've also listed them out separately for you below for easy browsing.

February 11, 2012
St. Valentine's СУМ Родинна Забава
At the Taras Schevchenko Hall on Horner in Etobicoke. Starts at 5:30pm. More info on Facebook

St. Valentine's Day with Zirka
At St. Nicholas Ukrainian Church in Hamilton. Doors open at 7:30, Zirka comes on at 8:30pm. For info call Morris Hucal 905-662-8138 or visit Facebook

February 18, 2012
St. Valentine's Day Dance
At St. Mary's Ukrainian Church in Mississauga. Starts at 7pm. More info on Facebook:

February 27, 2012
Last Chance Zabava before Great Lent!
The Parish of St. Demetrius Ukrainian Orthodox Church (3338 Lakeshore Blvd. W. in Etobicoke) invites you to come enjoy an evening og music and dance featuring Dzvin. Tickets are only $25 and include a hot meal and live music. For tickets and information call Halyna at the church office 416-255-7506.

More events and happennings...

Once a Dog, Now a Star - What's Driving Portfolio Returns

As we move towards the close of Week 4 of our UCU Investment Challenge 2, we wanted to take a look at some of the best performing positions that our participants hold in their portfolios, and that have been solid drivers of performance so far in our contest. We think it would be interesting to share these with our participants.

Our current leader, Volodymyr V., made a shrewd position selection in putting the National Bank of Greece ADRs in his portfolio. NBG has generated a leading 112% return from January 17 to February 8th. This has driven Volodymyr's portfolio to a near 27% return so far. Interestingly, Volodymyr's portfolio is equally balanced across 5 different positions, but it really is the NBG position that has driven his portfolio to the top.

Another very strong performer is Andriy S.' Intertainment Media (INT-T). INT has delivered over 59% return to the close of February 8th. Andriy's portfolio is also fairly well balanced between 5 positions, and also holds the 9th best performing individual position, in Dynamic Fuel Systems, which has generated a 26% return so far.

The third strongest performing position so far is Marc M.'s AMR Corp, another dog turned star, which is up over 53% over just less than 4 weeks.

Rounding out the rest of the top 10 performing positions, we have: Daniel T.'s Copper Fox Metals - up just under 36%; Pawel S.' Petroamerica Oil Corp, up 33%; Roxy L.'s RuggedCom Inc - up just under 33%; Marisa M.'s Rentrak Corp, up 28%; Alexandra F.'s Netflix position - up almost 28%, and; Oleh F.'s Michael Kors Holdings - higher by more than 25%.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Strong Markets Drive Gains in UCU 2 Portfolios!

It is a nice change to have positive market tone over the course of our UCU Investment Challenge 2, a much more pleasant environment relative to what we saw last autumn.

Over the past week, the TSX Composite Index was up 0.89%, while the S&P 500 Index was up 2.17% and the Nasdaq Index was up 3.16%. Driving gains in the US was a very strong day on Friday, where the S&P 500 was up 1.46% on the day, led by the Financial sector that gained a lot of lift from very strong economic data - mainly great non-farm payroll numbers and a drop in the unemployment rate.

Many institutional investors are now talking about the January effect, which basically states that market tone for the whole year takes its cue from the month of January. As of the close on Friday, the TSX Composite was up 3.2% on a one month basis, while the S&P 500 was up 5.3% and the Nasdaq was up a impressive 8.7%!

In our competition, the positive market tone is driving some very strong performance numbers for the portfolios that have a bullish bias (our regrets to the bears in our contest, but one never knows how the markets will behave, and sentiment can turn on a dime!). Over the course of the week, top performing portfolios in our contest include: Matthew R., up over 11% over the past 5 trading days; Volodymyr V. - up over 7.5%; Andriy S. & Roxy L. both up over 7% and Matthew M. & Oleh F. - both up over 6%!

Currently wearing the Green Jacket is Volodymyr V., whose portfolio has posted a 25%+ return over the first three weeks of the contest. Closely on his heels is Adam M., whose portfolio has gained over 21% for the same period and clinging to third spot is Matthew R., up over 18%.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Things you didn't know about UCU employees...

Spot light on:
Yuriy Nesvit speaks at a management
meeting in our Toronto HQ.

Yuriy Nesvit

Yuriy Nesvit is our (relatively) new Commercial Relationship Manager, he took charge of the portfolio in the summer and has been racking up new business across Ontario, working with our team of commercial lenders in Windsor, Oshawa and the GTA. Before that, Yuriy was our branch manager in St. Catharines for about two and a half years.

One thing that you may not know about Yuriy is that he is pretty handy at turning boars into barrows (Google it), his record is more than 200/day (ouch! – literally). His journey into the financial services field (we just kill ourselves with these half-baked puns!) started at the National State Agricultural University in Ukraine (also known as the Ukrainska Silsko Hospodarska Akademiya). He graduated with a “zootechnik” degree (closest we could figure is “Animal Husbandry”) with a major in beekeeping. “I had a 70 hive apiary back home,” says Yuriy.

Yuriy (far right) with members of the St. Catharines branch 
Advisory Committee last fall when he was 
the branch manager there.
Turns out beekeeping on its own was not enough to pay the bills, so Yuriy enrolled in law school, but when the opportunity arose to emigrate to Canada he jumped at the chance. Here he enrolled in school again, but this time in an MBA program which he successfully finished.

“Upon finishing my MBA, I decided to look at the pig from the other end,” he says. “So I became a lender at a bank in southwestern Ontario where I specialized in agricultural loans.”

 In his spare time Yuriy likes to enjoy the outdoors. He likes to camp and fish. You can see Yuriy catch a biggie at this link: Yuriy catches a fish. He also likes to play ping pong as a way to relax.

Yuriy in his best vyshyvka at the UCU AGM in 2011
His two biggest goals at the moment are to learn more languages (French, Spanish and maybe Mandarin) and to help his daughter, a very accomplished figure skater, achieve her dreams and appear in the Olympics.

Yuriy is a very cheerful guy, always smiling, always willing to share a joke, he even claims that he is always smiling in his sleep. We believe him as it is hard to think of a time when he is not in a positive mood.

To read profiles about other UCU members, employees and directors, please visit the Spolight on... page