Gordon Drive resident Mattew Harras stands beside a Ukrainian flag, riddled with bullet holes, that he spray-painted on the side of a moving container. Harras, who is of Ukrainian descent, hopes the forces of democracy will prevail in the troubled country.
It began with the saying of prayers for the 77 people killed in protests against the pro-Russian government led by Viktor Yanukovych. It ended with rejoicing as Yanukovych fled the capital of Kyiv.
"It's been unbelievable, a real rollercoaster of emotions for us," Peter Bihun, a past-president of the Dolnya (Valley) Ukrainian Cultural Society said Sunday.
"We started out shedding tears for the protesters who were murdered, but now there's jubilation with Ukraine maybe headed back to democracy," Bihun said.
"There's hope for the future but so much depends on what (Russian president Vladimir) Putin decides to do now."
Ethnic Russians make up the majority in parts of eastern Ukraine and there is some talk of an armed separatist movement rising in those regions. But Roman Chez, North Okanagan president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, doesn't believe the violence will worsen.
"I think and I hope that Putin will just have to accept what's happened in Ukraine," Chez said. "But the Russians are opportunists, and Putin is going to have a whole lot of military and security people freed up now that the Winter Olympics are over."
After English, German, Punjabi and Dutch, Ukrainian is the fifth-most common language spoken in the Central Okanagan.
Just over 1,000 people, or about half-of-one per cent of the region's 180,000 residents, speak Ukrainian, according to the 2011 Statistics Canada census.
Many of those people attended church services at local Orthodox churches where prayers were said for the protesters killed in the popular uprising against Yanukovych's government.
"I truly believe all those prayers that were said for the dead, both in Ukraine and around the world, helped things turn out the way they did," Chez said. He has been to Ukraine 12 times, including twice when he served as an elections observer as part of an official delegation representing the Canadian government.
"We have a tremendous feeling of relief right now," Chez said. "Hopefully, the situation stabilizes, the Russians stay out, and new elections go ahead as planned in the spring."