Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize the passing of Mr. Erast Huculak, a distinguished Etobicoke entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Born in Ukraine in 1930, Mr. Huculak witnessed the ravages of the Holodomor and World War II as a boy. He immigrated to Canada as a displaced person in 1948 with his family. Erast Huculak had a visionary entrepreneurial spirit as a business owner, founding and becoming president of Medical Pharmacies Group, serving long-term care facilities in Canada.
Mr. Huculak was dedicated to giving back to Canada and supporting the Ukrainian Canadian community. When Ukraine won her independence, he donated a building in Ottawa for the first Ukrainian embassy in Canada. He founded the Children of Chernobyl Canadian Fund and served as president of the Canadian Friends of Rukh for Canada.
For his humanitarian activities and advancement of Ukrainian studies, Mr. Huculak was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Alberta and the Ukrainian Free University in Munich. He was recognized with many honours, including the Order of Canada, the Taras Shevchenko medal and the Ukraine president's medal of merit.
Erast Huculak's life shall be celebrated for strengthening the cultural, social and economic fabric of Ukrainian Canadians in Canada.