Diaspora: noun

A group of people who spread from one original country to other countries.

Canada is home to many communities who over the years came here to find refuge, work, build towns and critical infrastructure, start successful businesses, seek opportunities and be part of the social fabric of the country. This has resulted in our cities, towns, and villages being cultural mosaics, a reflection of the diversity of stories that have shaped our regional and national heritage.

ICOMOS Canada is launching an initiative that aims to highlight the impact of heritage conservation on the resilience of peoples and their communities. Over time, we will discover and share those stories through the places that reflect the identity of these communities. By raising awareness, we hope to also bring attention to the conservation needs of some of these places, some exceptional and many modest but all worthy of our care. We also hope to highlight the importance of preserving these places as a human right, one that contributes to feeling safe, being included, having the right to express oneself, and the right to gather as a community.


Canada hosts one of the largest and oldest Ukrainian diasporas in the world. In fact, according to the most recent census, close to 1.5 M Canadians state a Ukrainian origin. There were many waves starting in the late 19th century up and with significant immigration in the 1920s and after the Second World War. These immigrants shaped numerous communities in Western Canada and Ontario in particular, leaving their mark in the heritage landscape of the country through churches, houses, farms, and institutional buildings.

Spotlighting the Richness of Ukrainian Heritage

Today’s diaspora, in light of the conflict in Ukraine, is mobilized to help the country of their ancestors. In recognition of these close ties between Canada and Ukraine, ICOMOS Canada is leading an initiative together with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, ICOM Canada, and the Ukrainian Museum of Canada to provide a spotlight on the richness of Ukranian heritage, here and in Ukraine. Additionally, these organizations are working together to highlight the impact of the conflict on cultural heritage and the rights of the people.

How you can help

ICOMOS Canada as a member of an international network of heritage professionals has been at the forefront of the initiatives that aim to help Ukraine. ICOMOS has been monitoring the situation since the first day of the conflict in Ukraine, establishing contact with partners to identify needs and provide support on the ground. Together with UNESCO, the International Council on Museums (ICOM), the International Federation of Libraries Association (IFLA), the International Council on Archives (ICA), and the International Blue Shield Committee, a crisis unit has been set up that monitors the situation, maintains contact with local partners, and coordinates efforts to provide resources.

Joint Initiative with ICOMOS Ukraine

ICOMOS Canada is leading assistance efforts in Canada to provide technical materials, expertise and funds to heritage professionals in Ukraine. The committee established a relationship with the Center for the Rescue of Ukrainian Heritage, a joint initiative between ICOMOS Ukraine and heritage professionals in Lviv (Ukraine). This Center is in contact with professionals across Ukraine to deliver expertise, support strategies, and provide funds to quickly protect monuments, sacred spaces, and objects. Through that relationship, ICOMOS Canada is able to determine the needs and coordinate the delivery of materials and funds in an efficient manner under difficult circumstances.

Make a donation for immediate help: every dollar collected is sent directly to the Center who then disburses the money on a daily basis to institutions and localities to protect, shelter, and record heritage before war affects monuments, sites, and objects. This will help buy household materials to deal with immediate protection and sheltering.

Make a donation towards the transport and ongoing costs: the coordination of delivery to Lviv is ensured from Canada directly there. Funds will help cover the costs of safe and efficient transportation as well as acquiring materials that are easier to buy closer to Ukraine, such as fire extinguishing products.

Donate materials: various specialized materials are require to wrap, pack, preserve from moisture, protect from fire, stabilize, shelter, cover a range of monuments, objects, and written material. Some of it can be bought at hardware and packaging stores, others materials are much more specialized.

Share expertise: if you’re a conservation professional and you have solutions to help protect objects and monuments from moisture, fire, and other exceptional events, please share them HERE so that we can provide these to our Ukrainian colleagues. These solutions have to be simple, practical, and rely essentially on household materials.

Join the Coalition

Want to donate materials or expand the network of supports?

Join the coalition of heritage organizations here and let us know what you can do to help.

Stories from the Front: Protecting Heritage

  • Map of Crimes Against Cultural Heritage in Ukraine

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor … Read More

  • Message from ICOMOS Canada President on Ukraine

    Dear colleagues, ICOMOS Canada unreservedly supports the position of ICOMOS. Additionally, Canada being home to one of the largest Ukrainian diasporas and with strong historical connections, our national committee is actively engaged in our international network to be ready to … Read More