Monday, April 30, 2012

ETF Seminar Recap

Thank you to all who came to our ETF seminar, what a great event it was! Together we expanded our knowledge of ETFs as well as learned a thing or two about Vodka tasting along the way.

Flyers from the Seminar

The evening began with John Vellinga from Slava Vodka teaching us the history of vodka and it’s Ukrainian roots as well as the differences between different types of Vodka with a tasting seminar. After a bit of mixing and mingling we made our way to the seminar where Mike Zienchuk talked about ETFs, what they are, how to utilize them and demonstrated a couple of different investment strategies.

Enjoying the Vodka Tasting Seminar

To check out all the pictures from that evening visit our Facebook page HERE.

Thanks Mike for expanding our investing knowledge!

For more information about ETFs take a look HERE for Mike’s article all about ETFs, or visit us HERE at the Wealth Strategies Office in Toronto at meet with our team personalized investment strategies.

Until the next seminar, happy investing!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kotiache Vesilya 2012

The 2012 edition of Kotiache Vesilya (Cat's Wedding) went off without a hitch today! FatCat was very pleased to come out and hang out with some of his biggest fans.

There was singing and dancing and a magician and lots of yummy food. Even FatCat's old buddy Lys Mykyta made an appearance.

To add to the fun, FatCat kicked off his new colouring contest during the celebrations. If you want to enter for a chance to win a little prize, you can read about it here: FatCat Colouring Contest.

Anyway, thanks to the folks at Svitlychka for putting on a great show. More pictures are available on our B page in the album titled: Kotiache Vesilya April 2012.

FatCat colouring contest

FatCat is happy spring is in the air! He wants to share his happiness with all of his friends by holding a colouring contest.

Entering is easy!
1. Pick one (1) picture in the FatCat colouring contest booklet and colour it, or create your own drawing.

2. Send your drawing to FatCat's helpers:

c/o Yuriy Diakunchak 
by e-mail: 
fax: 416-761-9604 
mail: 2265 Bloor Street W, Toronto, ON M6S 1P1 
or drop of at your local branch before June 1st 2012 with this information: 
local branch:
phone or e-mail:
parent / guardian’s

3. Have fun and be creative!

4. We will post entries on our Facebook page.

5. Top 5 vote getters (we'll count the likes) will get a prize.

6. FatCat will also personally pick up to 5 additional winners based on a complicated formula that takes into consideration how cat-like the drawing skills of the entrants are, the average price of liver flavoured cat food at Pete's No Frills during the course of the contest, and the decibel level of a meow from Bob the Cat who lives in the alley behind our office measured by the light of a full moon, among other criteria that suits FatCat's fancy.

Good luck!

Contest entries can now be seen here: Fat Cat Colouring Contest.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Inclement weather does not impede 68th AGM

At the registration desk
On Monday April 23 Ukrainian Credit Union Limited held its 68th Annual General Meeting. Despite a terribly miserable day weather-wise, with near freezing rain making travel less than ideal, the meeting was well attend and quorum was more than fulfilled.

The highlights of the evening included scholarship awards to a large number of young UCU members as well as a presentation to UCU CEO Taras Pidzamecky in recognition of his 25 years of service as an employee of UCU.

Members present also observed a moment of silence in honour of all of these members who passed away over the previous. The dearly departed included Maria Dunetz, a Founding Member of Ukrainian (Toronto) Credit Union Limited, and Yuriy (George) Karamanin, a former Director of the credit union.

Members of the Scholarship Committe, Andre Sochaniwsky,
and Walter Kish with Olenka Harasymovych
one of the scholarship recipients
(not pictured Natalya Witiuk Committee Chair)
In the report from the CEO, Taras Pidzamecky highlighted the fact that UCU had been very successful this year in not only increasing it's commerical and residential loan portfolios significantly, but also in doing so, was able to improve its financial margin. He also reported that in the first full year of operation as a single unit, the recently merged Ukrainian and So-Use credit unions were able to find significant operational efficiencies that allowed for reduced costs.

After the meeting was adjourned, members sat down to a dinner in celebration of yet another successful year.

More pictures from the evening are available on our Facebook page in the album titled: 68th AGM - April 23rd 2012.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Events worth noting June, July, August

UPDATED August 9 

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.

Please note events are listed in reverse order with the ones furthest away at the top of the page.

August 25, 2012
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Toronto invites you to celebrate Ukrainian Independence Day at Centennial Park. Gate opens at 10am, concert starts at 11am. An evening dance to follow. The event includes a food fair, youth activities (3-14yrs) and a chess tournament. Come visit the Ukrainian Credit Union booth for some goodies. For more information call 416-323-4772, email or visit

August 23, 2012
Flag raising at Queen's Park
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Toronto and other organizations invite you to a flag raising ceremony to take place at Queen's Park at 12:00pm to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the proclamation of independence in Ukraine.

August 19-25, 2012
UNF Dance Camp
The UNF Dance Camp program is available for junior (8-12) and senior (13-17) levels. The prgram is run under the direction of Danovia Stechishin, Artistic Director of the Ukrainian Academy of Dance & Arkan Dance Company. Students receive a full week of instruction (per level) which culminates in a concert performance. For more information call 905-822-1806 or e-mail:

August 18, 2012
Ukrainian Day on the Bay
Explore the beauty of the Hamilton Harbour on a boat cruise while enjoying Ukrainian Music. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Hamilton branch is organizing this 2nd annual outing. For information call 905-388-1356 or 905-662-5407. Adults $25, children 2 and under free. Cruise starts at 12:30pm.

August 17-18, 2012
Windsor Ukrainian Heritage Festival
The Windsor Ukrainian Heritage Festival will take place at St. Vladimir's Cultural Centre, 2000 Tecumseh Road E. in Windsor. It was a blast last year. The 2nd round will be even better! Celebrating over 120 years of Ukrainian immigration to Canada, the festival will feature great music, dancing, vendors, food and specialty drinks like the Kozak Cooler! Free Admission, starts 6pm on Friday and run till midnight on Saturday.

August 11, 2012
Zabava at Camp Sokil
The annual post golf tournament Zabava at Camp Sokil will feature PYX. Dance startsa 9pm. $25/car day pass, $55/car camping pass. Free admission for UNF golf tournament participants. 
August 11, 2012
UNF Golf Tournament
Book the weekend! To be held at Shanty Bay Golf Club 322 Line 2 North Shanty Bay, Oro Medonte (Hwy 11 north of Barrie). registration is at 10:30am shotgun tee off at 11:30am. Zabava at Camp Sokil to follow. For more info contact

August 10-12, 2012
UNF Sports Weekend
To be held at Camp Sokil. Details to come.

July 29-August 11, 2012
UNF Karate Camp
The Karate program is run by the UNF's Shotokan Karate School under the direction of Mykola Shishko a locally renowned Karate instructor. For more information bout the program please email Mr. Shishko at or call 416-909-4137.

July 27-29, 2012
To be held at Camp Sokil. Details to come.The UNF is inviting Softball teams from around the GTA and Beyond to take part in the annual Softball Tournament at Camp Sokil in Hawkestone, Ontario. The weekend will be full of softball, refreshments, and zabavas. For info or to register your team call  416-558-3222 or e-mail   

July 20, 2012
Join Crazy Voda fundraiser Friday July 20th at On Cue Billiards just North of Bloor West Village to support their upcoming CD! as a sponsor of this event, UCU has some free tickets available email us at (they will be available for pickup at our Wealth Strategies Group office at 2265 Bloor St. West). But hurry we don't have too many available...

July 18, 2012
In support of the Ukrainian Language
The member organizations of the Canadian Conference in Support of Ukraine have called on the Ukrainian Canadian community of greater Toronto and surrounding communities to gather on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at the Consulate General of Ukraine, (2275 Lakeshore Blvd. W. in Etobicoke) to rally in defence of the Ukrainian language and against Russia’s imperialist ambitions. For more information please call 416-516-8223.

July 17, 2012
Join UNF at the "Kyiv Pavillion" an open house birthday party in celebrating 80 years of service to the Ukrainian Canadian community. To be held at the UNF Toronto Hall. More details are on Facebook: 80th Anniversary Open House..

July 14
Sts. Vladimir & Olga Church (Windsor) Golf Tournament
St. Vladimir and Olga Ukrainian Catholic Church 2nd Annual Golf Tournament. More details to follow.

July 8-August 25, 2012
Camp Sokil
The Ukrainian National Federation's Camp Sokil has, for nearly 50 years, offered children, ages 7-15, of Ukrainian Canadian background the opportunity to safely enjoy all or part of their summer vacation at the Camp on the shores of Lake Simcoe. Initially offered as a children's summer & recreation camp, the program has since been expanded to include camps for Karate, Soccer, Ukrainian Dance, as well as the original Recreational camp program. For more information please visit the Camp Sokil page.

July 2, 2012
This year's Ivana Kupala Festival at Camp Sokil in Hawkestone will feature MAK Ukrainian Dancers, Ukrainian Bandurist Capella, Marko Dwult, Aleksa Gobosz, UNF Shotokan Karate Do Academy/ Zapovid will play at the Zabava. $25/car admission fee includes access  grounds, sports facilities, Saturday zabava and Euro CUp final on 100" screen. Camping fees extra. More details on Facebook: Ivana Kupala Festival.

July 1-August 17, 2012
Camp Soniashnyk
The UNF's Camp Soniashnyk children's Day Camp is a program for children ages 6-10 that exposes them to their Ukrainian culture in a fun and interactive way. Each week of the camp which runs for 7 weeks from July-August is designed around a specific theme, and the campers are introduced to different aspects of the theme in a creative way each day. Everything from Varenyky making to Ivana Kupala traditions is included along with traditional dancing, singing, story telling as well as outdoor activities like sports and swimming. For more info and to register please visit the Camp Soniashnyk page.

July 1
Euro 2012 at UNF - (Final match in Kyiv)
Teams to be determined. Doors open at 1pm. Free admission. Join family and friends at UNO's 145 Evans Ave. in Etobicoke.

June 19
Euro 2012 at UNF - (Ukraine vs. England)
Ukraine vs. England. Doors open at 1:30pm. Free admission. Join family and friends at UNO's 145 Evans Ave. in Etobicoke. After the round robin, UNO's on Evans will also show any games that feature Ukraine in the play-off rounds.

June 16
Community Treasures Sale
UNF Toronto Branch invites you to a Community Treasures sale featuring artisans, clothing, books, jewellery, pottery, artwork, plants, BBQ, pyrohy and much, much more. The sale takes place at the UNF Hall 145 Evans Avenue and runs from 8am to 1pm. 

Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre invites you to join them from 1:30 to 3:30pm on Saturday June 16 to learn about the various services for seniors in the community. The event will also feature Ukrainian entertainment and light refreshments. Admission is free, but please RSVP by June 8 to 416-243-7653 x313 as space is limited.

June 15
Euro 2012 at UNF - (Ukraine vs. France)
Ukraine vs. France. Doors open at 11am. Free admission. Join family and friends at UNO's 145 Evans Ave. in Etobicoke.

June 14
Leadership and Management of Non-Profit Organizations
This panel discussion will provide insight and new perspectives for effective management and improvements to charitable organizations. The keynote speaker is Natalia Bordun, Director of the Institute of Leadership & Management, Ukrainian Catholic University. Panelists include Lesia Babiak, Executive DIrector, Government Affairs & Policies, Johnson & Johnson, Anastasia Baczynskyj, M.A. History of Education, U of T, Don Sirko, Senior Investment Advisor, Assante Wealth Management, Natalie Witiuk, Consultant, KPMG. The event will be held at the Golden Lion Restaurant, 15 Canmotor Avenue in Toronto starting at 6:30pm. For more info please call Christine Kuzyk 416-239-2495 or email

June 11
Euro 2012 at UNF - (Ukraine vs. Sweden)
Ukraine vs. Sweden. Doors open at 2pm. Free admission. Join family and friends at UNO's 145 Evans Ave. in Etobicoke.

June 8
Euro 2012 at UNF - (Poland vs. Greece)
Poland vs. Greece, Russia vs. Czech Republic. Doors open at 10am. Free admission. Join family and friends at UNO's 145 Evans Ave. in Etobicoke.

June 8, 2012
Ukrainian Rock 'n' Folk Pub Night II
According to the event's Facebook listing this is the kickoff to the summer zabava season. The event features two of the most popular Ukrainian bands PYX and SKOPA. It takes place at On Cue Billiards, 349 Jane St., that's Hryts' bar for those of you that never look at the sign outside. $5 cover charge/donation gets you in. Doors open at 9, bands go live at 10, lights go out at 3am. Hryts' famous varennyky will be on sale while supplies last so don't get the munchies too late in the night.

How ETFs broaden your investment opportunities

We are holding a FREE seminar on Exchange-traded funds on Thursday April 26th and we would love to have you join us! Space is limited so to reserve your spot, please call Anna Procio at 416-763-5575 x200. The flyer below has all the details. 

Not sure what ETFs are all about? Well, we've posted an article that appeared this week in Meest newspaper below the seminar poster. The article was written by Michael Zienchuk who will be hosting the seminar on the 26th. Of course attending the seminar would let you pose any questions you might have directly to Michael.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) – Expanding The Footprint

We’ve run an article about Exchange Traded Funds last October and believe now is a good time to touch upon this subject again.  ETFs are a fairly new phenomenon, but have seen rapid growth both in the number of ETFs available, as well as in the variety of investment strategies that they encompass.  Just in the 1st quarter of 2012 (January to March), over $4.8 billion in net new money flowed into Canadian ETFs, a record for any 3 month period.  The total amount of money in Canadian ETFs is just under $50 billion, while globally there is over $1 trillion invested in various ETFs.

iShares S&P/TSX Capped Information Technology
Index Fund ETF
Source: UCU and Bloomberg.  
The first ETF was launched on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1989, the TIPS 35.  What makes ETFs compelling as an investment option?  First, as their name suggests, they are exchange traded, meaning that investors can purchase and sell these on a regular stock exchange, no different than any other type of company stock or shares.  This allows for easy and quick buying or selling, without having to wait for day end results to determine their value (unlike a mutual fund).  The stock-like trading features of ETFs also allow for purchases on margin, the use of limit and stop orders as well as short-selling – fully flexible in investment approach.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Secrets of Condo Investing" Seminar in North York

Giovanni Marsico of Sotheby's Internationl Realty talks
to seminar attendees at our North York Branch
Recently our branch in North York hosted a seminar on investing in the condo market. Susan Toughlouian and Giovanni Marsico of Sotheby's International Realty led the seminar. They work with investors who are looking to generate income from Toronto's pre-construction condominium market.

The seminar covered topics such as the different stages of a new condo launch and when the best times to invest are. The presenters talked about how to negotiate for the best price with the developer and discussed some of the big mistakes that new investors often make. They also provide some strategies on howto avoid making those mistakes.

The seminar was a success and we are considering holding another one in the coming months, probably at our new Wealth Strategies Group office at 2265 Bloor St. West. If this is something you'd be interested in attending, ease let us know via email:

Easter Bazaar in St. Catharines

Easter Bazaar is great fun!
Every year the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church in St. Catharines organizes an Easter Bazaar where they sell baked goods, including paska, varenyky, cabbage rolls, borscht. The bazaar also includes raffle draws consisting of prizes from various parishioners and local businesses.

This year the staff at the UCU branch in St. Catharines donated a huge "Spring Basket" filled to the brim with an array of goodies that was raffled off on April 1.

Irene Mychaskiw , MSR at our St. Catharines Branch,
pitches in as volunteers put in some hard time making hundreds
and hundreds, maybe even thoudsands. of varennyky. 
These photos were taken at the church school building property-Sts.Cyril & Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church, located on Currie St. in St.Catharines. On March 29th the women in the local Ukrainian community met to prepare varenyky for sale at their  annual Easter bazaar. 

The volunteers help with baking paskas, others come help make the varenyky, and other the cabbage rolls. Others set up the tables, displays, sell the food items, make the coffee and lunch, and so on. This involves a great deal of work and effort on the part of these devoted women. Kudos to all of them. This years bazaar was a success and the Womens League hopes to continue with these fundraisers.

- with reporting by Irene Mychaskiw, MSR, St. Catharines Branch

The staff from UCU's St. Catharines branch at our table
 at the bazaar. Wonder what was in those lovely little gift bags?
You can see more photos of the Varennyky Volunteers and of the Easter Bazaar on our Facebook page. Just click the links embedded in the preceding sentence.