Ottawa, November 25, 2011 – On Thursday, November 24, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism attended the inauguration of the interpretation centre at Camp Spirit Lake. He was accompanied by his Parliamentary Colleagues from the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship group, including James Bezan, Peter Goldring and Bernard Trottier.
This was the site of one of the twenty four internment camps that were established in Canada during the First World War. Camp Spirit Lake held 1200 detainees, the majority of whom were of Ukrainian origin. The historical materials collected in this centre document the experiences of entire families, who found themselves surrounded by barbed wire and treated like prisoners of war.
Minister Kenney stated: “Our Government was proud to establish the Canadian Historical Recognition Program which has sought to teach future generations of Canadians about the often forgotten aspects of our past that, while unsettling, are important to remember. I am pleased that this interpretation centre, funded in part by the Government of Canada, embraces this mission.”
The Camp Spirit Lake Interpretation Centre will serve as a permanent memorial to those, mainly Ukrainians, who were interned at Spirit Lake during the First World War for no other reason, apart from the fact that they were of Ukrainian descent.