We are the largest Ukrainian Catholic parish in Northwestern Ontario, established in early sixties within the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto. We are an active community who strive to live and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those of our day. We find support in our communal prayer which is conducted mostly in English language and is in accord with the Ukrainian Byzantine Rite. We also welcome individuals and their families of different backgrounds who recognize the beauty of Byzantine Tradition and choose the Byzantine Rite to worship God.
The Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was the inspiration and dream fulfilled of Rev. B. G. Shumay. In the 1950’s Father Shumay, then pastor of the Church of the Holy Transfiguration, realized that the present church was not adequately serving the needs of the parishioners. With the steady growth of the Ukrainian Catholic community in Fort William consideration had to be given to the construction of a new church.
Funds would be needed and for this purpose a campaign committee was organized and on November 22nd 1959, the entire parish was canvassed for support. This initial campaign was successful and a piece of property of 3.4 acres was purchased on West Victoria Avenue. In 1964 another campaign took place to raise money for the construction of the new church. Professor Radislav Zuk, an architect well known for his Byzantine church designs, was retained. The original name of the church was Church of St. Joseph. Later the name was changed to the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Unfortunately during the planning years Father Shumay became ill and was confined to hospital. Father Patrick Byce was appointed administrator for the parish. He with Father Joseph Krupp as assistant carried on the enthusiasm of Father Shumay, seeing the new church progress planning stage through construction and on to eventual completion.
In the fall of the 1966 finances were such that construction could begin. The official ground breaking ceremony took place on September 25th, 1966, with Father Shumay and Byce, and Father T. Harasymchuk of the Church of the Holy Protection present as well as the local architect and many parishioners. The building of the church was completed in 1967. His Excellency, Bishop Isidore Borecky, officiated at the corner stone laying ceremony. The first Liturgy in the new church was celebrated by Father Byce, Krupp and Shumay on November 26th, 1967. The next few years were spent in reducing the debt owing on the church. In the spring of 1971 Father Byce left the parish and the church was without a permanent pastor. Weekly services were conducted by Dean J. Habrusevich from the Church of the Holy Transfiguration and Fathers E. Yarema and B. Kelleher, from the Church of the Holy Protection.
On July 15, 1972, the entire parish was saddened by the death of Father Shumay. The parish hall, The B. G. Shumay Auditorium was dedicated in his memory.
The church debt was eliminated in 1972. Bishop Borecky was invited to witness the burning of the mortgage and to officially bless our church. This took place on September 17th, 1972, celebrating the feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The year of 1973 was memorable in the life of the parish. In January the parish rectory at 422 W. Victoria Avenue was purchased. In February, Deacon Basil Kondusky and Mrs. Kondusky arrived to assist in serving the parish. In May we were honoured by a visit from His Beatitude Joseph Cardinal Slipyj. In October after two and half years without permanent pastor, Father Eugene Halitsky was assigned to our parish.