A community hall near Smoky Lake has been awarded a high honor by the province of Alberta. The Ukrainian Farmers’ National Home of Taras Shevchenko, also known locally as the Highland Hall, was built in 1933 by early Ukrainian homesteaders at the rural crossroads community of Barich. It is considered a rare example of a masonry building featuring pink, grey and white fieldstone walls.
On Friday, the hall was designated a Provincial Historic Resource. This means the building is protected against demolition or changes to the historic character of the property. Among those on hand for the honor was Ricardo Miranda, Alberta’s Minister of Culture and Tourism.
“Our government is proud to designate the Ukrainian Farmers’ National Home of Taras Shevchenko as a Provincial Historic Resource, ensuring the stories of Ukrainian settlement in central Alberta continue to be shared today and for generations to come. Preservation of Alberta’s historic places helps strengthen pride in our past while creating new economic opportunities for the future through heritage tourism.”
The hall was named for Shevchenko, a renowned Ukrainian poet, writer, artist and political figure whose works and life have been honored by Ukrainians around the world.