The 2023 Tryzub Awards Gala united 260 guests on May 11 at the Art Gallery of Ontario in a tribute to the heroic defenders of Ukraine and a celebration of the Ukrainian identity for which they continue to fight.
Boris Horodynsky and William Browder were honoured with Tryzub Awards – each recipient being recognized for their respective contribution to strengthening the Ukrainian brand.
Ukrainian musician and choirmaster Pavlo Fondera opened the evening’s program by singing a “Prayer for Ukraine.”
Shevchenko Foundation (TSF) President Boris Balan delivered welcoming remarks, focusing on the consequences of the war on cultural preservation and development both in Ukraine and Canada.
“As we continue to watch the genocidal attempts of an aggressor nation to eradicate Ukrainian culture and identity, TSF understands that its role as part of the broader community response has only intensified,” stated Boris Balan. “We have an obligation to amplify our commitment to enrich the Canadian and the global experiences with the beauty, passion and diversity of Ukrainian culture. It is our role to contribute to the entire world’s understanding of what it is to be Ukrainian.”
The Community Leadership Award was presented by President and CEO of Funding Matters William Petruck to Canadian businessman, philanthropist and patron of Ukrainian Canadian culture, Boris Horodynsky. The son of post-Second World War immigrants to Canada, Boris pursued a farming career from an early age. Today, Horodynsky Farms is one of the largest onion-growing operations in North America.
The Boris Horodynsky Foundation supports health and wellness and the development of literary and visual arts in local communities. His love of music led to the creation of the Boris Horodynksy Music Fund within the Shevchenko Foundation (TSF), the Lead Musical Sponsorship of the Tryzub Awards Gala, and annual support for the Toronto Ukrainian Festival.
Accepting the honour, Boris Horodynsky paid tribute to his parents and his Ukrainian roots, extolling the virtues of innovation, perseverance, ingenuity, and hard work.
The CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and Head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, William Browder, was recognized with the Friend of Ukraine Award presented by President and CEO of Rodan Energy Solutions and President of the Ukrainian World Congress Paul Grod. William Browder was once the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia until being declared a “threat to national security” in 2005 for exposing corruption in Russian state-owned companies.
William Browder has made it his mission to ensure that governments around the world impose targeted visa bans and asset freezes on human rights abusers and highly corrupt officials. The Sergei Magnitsky Accountability Act was introduced in honour of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who uncovered the largest tax fraud in Russian history, was detained without trial, tortured, and consequently died in a Moscow prison in 2009. Canada enacted the Sergei Magnitsky Law in 2017.
Relaying his personal story of persecution by Russian authorities, William Browder underscored the importance of persistently raising awareness of the crimes of the Russian Federation and the threat it poses to democratic principles and fundamental human rights around the world.
The theme of the evening, hosted by television personality Marta Czurylowicz, was Ukraine’s ongoing fight against the Russian aggressor and was symbolic of the support of Canadians for the defenders of Ukraine and its people. A silent auction featured many items produced in Ukraine, some by veterans incorporating symbols of the genocidal war. Every guest received a unique replica of the silver hryvnia from the 11-13th centuries made of recycled artillery shells. Table centrepieces were constructed by wounded soldiers from artillery shells, detailed and cut with a custom Tryzub Award logo.
Guests enjoyed entertainment provided by singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk with guest musician Kevin Fox. Hailing from Winnipeg, Chantal is a platinum-selling Grammy and Juno award-winning artist, and one of the founding artists of War Child for which she has been an ambassador for over two decades.
In closing, Co-founder and Chair of the Tryzub Awards Rayla Myhal expressed gratitude to the recipients, sponsors, guests, and volunteers for reinforcing their unwavering commitment to Ukraine and its ultimate victory.
“More than a year has passed since Russian aggressors attempted to undermine Ukrainian sovereignty,” stated Rayla Myhal. “In the eyes of the world, it has been a year of resilience, strength and perseverance for Ukrainians who have solidified their presence, culture, and history on a global scale.”
Guests were treated to a closing performance by the Yavir School of Ukrainian Dance.
The Tryzub Awards were created by the Myhal Family Foundation in partnership with the Shevchenko Foundation. Proceeds from this year’s event are designated for the Ukrainian World Congress and the Shevchenko Foundation in support of humanitarian efforts and initiatives related to the war in Ukraine.
Photos counterclockwise from top: TSF President Boris Balan; Boris Horodynsky (far right) accepts Community Leadership Award from William Petruck; William Browder (left) accepts Friend of Ukraine Award from Paul Grod; Event Chair Rayla Myhal; Table centrepiece; Chantal Kreviazuk; William Browder and Boris Horodynsky with TSF Directors.