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Sophia Kyforuk (nee Sophia Yakivna Porayko) was born on June 10, 1896, in the village of Tulova, Sniatyn Province, Western Ukraine. Her parents (Yakiv and Kateryna/Jacob and Katherine Parayko) were peasants in the old country and came to Alberta, Canada together with their five children (John, Mary, William, Alex and Sophia) in 1899, where they acquired a homestead. They stayed on the same homestead all their lives. Her father Yakiv knew how to read and write - he was the only one in the family who had had any schooling. He was interested in astronomy and for this he was nicknamed the Stargazer by the villagers. He used to go to the reading hall where he became acquainted with the booklet "O Emigratsii" (Concerning Emigration) written by Dr. Joseph Oleskiw. Yakiv was interested in public issues. It was Oleskiw's booklet that encouraged him to go to Canada. In fact, he was the first in the village to do so. He was a member of the Radical Party in the old country and he brought some literature on radicalism with him to Canada.
The family spent their first winter with Alex Chorney's family. In November of 1899, they paid for their own homestead. In 1907, a school was built in the district in which they had settled. Sophia was already eleven years old when she entered the first grade. She attended school until 1911.
They read several newspapers in our home: Ruske Slovo (Ruthenian Word), Soyuz (Alliance), Kanadiiskiy Farmer (Canadian Farmer), Chervonyi Prapor (Red Banner), Robochyi Narod (Working People), Ranok (Morning), Hromadskyi Holos (Community Voice), Novyny (News) and Ukrainskyi Holos (Ukrainian Voice).
Sophia’s brother Alex was a delegate from Calgary to the First Ukrainian Social Democratic Party Convention that was held in Edmonton in 1910. He brought back some socialist literature from this convention. He also subscribed to the Western Clarion, the Social Democratic newspaper published in English in Vancouver.
Sophia joined the Association for Self-Enlightenment as soon as it was formed in Edmonton in 1916 under the guidance of John Klebanowsky. In the years 1917-1918, she was living in the mining district of Cardiff where she was in contact with the branch of the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party. She also acted parts in plays on stage and took part in concerts.
In 1927, Sophia married Peter Kyforuk (1894-1976). They farmed at Warspite, AB (near Smoky Lake) from 1937 to 1957.
Sophia was a life long member of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians and its organizational predecessor, the Ukrainian Labour-Farmer Temple Association. Upon her death in 1993, her daughter, Octavia Hall, honoured the memory of her parents by donating the family home in Edmonton to the Alberta Ukrainian Heritage Foundation, along with some money, a collection of Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian artifacts, and personal archival materials.
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Kyforuk, Sophie. 1983.
"Peter Kyforuk" in Our legacy: history of Smoky Lake and district. Smoky Lake, AB: Smoky Lake and District Cultural and Heritage Society, pp.573-4.