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 Celebrating Bridge Re-Opening   

Brilliant Bridge

Brilliant Bridge


Haiti Relief Benefit

Haiti Relief Benefit


Olympic Torch Relay

Grand Forks Olympic Torch Relay














2010 - Current News & Events of Doukhobor Interest

December 18, 2010 - USCC Christmas Eve Program and Broadcast

You are cordially invited to celebrate the renewal of our extended USCC family during the Christmas Eve Program at the Brilliant Cultural Centre on Friday, December 24, 2010.

Festivities begin with hot chocolate and caroling at 6:00 pm in front of the Brilliant Cultural Centre. Dress warmly!  A traditional program continues inside at 7:00 pm ~ a celebration of the reasons why Christmas is a time for unity and brotherhood as we move forward into the future.

Unable to attend in person? Watch a live stream broadcast from the BCC here on this website, starting at 7:00 PM, December 24, 2010.

June 3, 2010 - Global TV Brilliant Bridge News Coverage Confirmed

Global TV has confirmed that the Castlegar/ Brilliant Bridge Grand Re-opening will be highlighted this coming Saturday, June 5th from 7am-10am on Global's Saturday Morning News as part of the Small Town BC segment.


May 27, 2010 - USCC Union of Youth 63rd Annual Festival Photos Posted

View Bridge Opening Ceremonies - Saturday Morning Programme
View Saturday Evening Programme

View Sunday Programme

View Monday Sports N' Fun Day


May 22, 2010 - RDCK-USCC Brilliant Bridge Re-Opening Ceremonies

UStream recorded broadcast from the Brilliant Cultural Centre 11:30 am



May 14, 2010 - 63rd Annual USCC Union of Youth Festival Schedule

An abbreviated schedule of events is now posted on this website. (webpage link)  An official festival program booklet will be available at the Brilliant Cultural Centre with additional information about the festival and the historic event we are celebrating this Victoria Day weekend.


May 5, 2010 - RDCK - USCC NEWS RELEASE - Public Invited to Attend Grand-Re-Opening of Local National Heritage Site, Castlegar

The Regional District of Central Kootenay is pleased to announce that the grand re-opening celebration for the historic Brilliant Suspension Bridge on the Kootenay River near Castlegar will occur on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010. The festivities are planned to coincide with the 63rd Annual USCC Doukhobor Union of Youth Festival at the Brilliant Cultural Centre in Castlegar whose theme this year is “Bridging Communities in Harmony.”


The bridge was built by the local Doukhobor community over a seven-month period in 1913 and was used until 1966, when a new bridge was constructed.  Public outcry saved the historic bridge from demolition in the 1970s and in 1991, a Working Group was formed to explore the possibility of restoring the bridge. After years of perseverance by some members of the community, the bridge was declared a National Heritage Site of Canada in 1995. Years of fundraising led to the start of restoration work last fall, which will see the bridge re-open to foot traffic only.


“What a great final chapter in the story of this unique historical and cultural structure,” said Gordon Zaitsoff, Director with the Regional District of Central Kootenay. “The restoration of the Brilliant Suspension Bridge will be a catalyst for many other endeavours to promote our community, cultural and historical resources. The project has definitely been a highlight during my tenure as a regional director. It would not be possible without the dedication of volunteers, associated provincial ministries and valued sponsors.”


The official opening ceremonies will commence at the Brilliant Cultural Centre at 10:00 a.m. on May 22nd, with guest speakers and entertainment, followed by the official ribbon cutting ceremony at the Brilliant Suspension Bridge, which is within walking distance of the Brilliant Cultural Centre. Provincial and municipal elected officials will be participating, along with First Nations representatives. Organizers will be asking those in attendance to help recreate a historic photo that was taken in 1913 when the bridge was originally opened.


Following the ceremony, the public will be invited to return to the Brilliant Cultural Centre grounds where refreshments will be provided.  Regular festival programming will occur after 2:00 p.m. with cultural presentations and performances, and those interested in a taste of Doukhobor culture are encouraged to attend. All activities are free, except for an evening program which will occur on Saturday – tickets are available in advance.  For more information on the 63rd Annual USCC Doukhobor Union of Youth Festival, visit:  and click on “Calendar of Events.”

“The Youth Council would like to thank the Regional District of Central Kootenay for inviting us to partner in this historic event,” said John Kanigan, Chair of the USCC Youth Council. “As we cross the historic bridge built by our forefathers, we are honoured to join with all brothers and sisters representing our rich cultural diversity in the Kootenays as we “Bridge Communities in Harmony.”


For more information on the grand re-opening festivities, contact Audrey Polovnikoff, at 250 365-3386, extension 4105. For information on the Brilliant Suspension Bridge, visit:


For more information, contact:
Audrey Polovnikoff                                                         
Recreation/Cultural Programmer
Castlegar & District Recreation Centre
Regional District of Central Kootenay
Phone:  250.365.3386 ext. 4105



Audrey Repin

USCC Union of Youth Representative

Contact:  250.365.9502  




April 20, 2010 - Grand Re-Opening of the Historic Brilliant Suspension Bridge

The official re-opening of the Historic Brilliant Suspension Bridge will take place on May 22, 2010, in conjunction with the 63rd Annual USCC Doukhobor Union of Youth Festival at the Brilliant Cultural Centre in Castlegar, BC. The festival theme "Bridging Communities in Harmony", was chosen to recognize the historical significance of this bridge and to emphasize the renewed interest of the the USCC organization in working with other local communities in various common endeavors. The official opening ceremonies will start at the Brilliant Cultural Centre at 10:00 am, with guest speakers and entertainment, followed by the official ribbon cutting ceremony at the Brilliant Bridge nearby. The Grand Re-Opening event is co-sponsored by the USCC and the Regional District of Central Kootenay and is open to the general public.


The Brilliant Bridge, initially built by local Doukhobors in 1913 to span the Kootenay River and connect Brilliant with Ootischenia, has had an intriguing history, culminating in its recent recognition as a Canadian National Heritage Site. After years of abandonment since the construction of its modern counterpart, the bridge was rescued from demolition by local enthusiasts who raised the necessary funds to begin its restoration in 2009. Over a million dollars was collected towards its reconstruction by means of grants and donations from various levels of government, organizations, trust funds, businesses and individuals. The Regional District of Central Kootenay has assumed ownership of this bridge and will facilitate its designation and eventual use as a pedestrian bridge to serve the local community.


Our current website coverage of this historic bridge now includes:

The Historic Brilliant Suspension Bridge webpage ... here

Several photos of the bridge restoration in our web gallery  ... here


Follow recent developments regarding the restoration of this bridge on the excellent Official Online Resource Website of the Restoration Committee here:


April 12, 2010  - USCC Moves Forward

Grand Forks/Brilliant, BC – After two years of research by the Renewal Task Force, a new governance structure has been adopted by the delegates to the 2010 Annual Convention of the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ, held on February 27 and 28, at the Grand Forks USCC Community Centre and concluded on April 11, 2010 at the Brilliant Cultural Centre in Castlegar.


Delegates representing 13 communities in the Kootenay Boundary, membership from the Okanagan and the organization’s numerous sub organizations, committees and working groups reviewed the spiritual and cultural operations of the USCC, Canada’s largest Doukhobor organization.  For the first time an external financial review of the organization was conducted by Kemp Harvey Burch Keintz Inc. and delegates and observers were pleased to hear that the organization’s financial affairs were stable and being handled in a responsible, transparent, and professional manner.


The Convention adopted resolutions transferring authority from the organization’s Trustees to an Executive Committee elected by the entire membership, replacing Trustees with Community Representatives responsible for spiritual and cultural development, finances and asset stewardship, and membership, youth and communications, and authorizing a review of the organization’s by-laws to ensure they reflect the new governance structure.  At an extraordinary general meeting held on April 11, 2010 the newly selected community representatives Stephanie Swetlishoff, Larry Jmaiff, and Ellen Strelaeff of Grand Forks, and Andy Ozeroff, Colin Markin, Lovette Nichvolodoff, Fred Bojey, Paris Voykin and Wendy Voykin of the Kootenays  were confirmed to implement and monitor the transition with the support of the outgoing Trustees.


Among other items of business delegates adopted a balanced budget for 2010, reaffirmed the Executive Committee consisting of Mike W. Kanigan (Chairperson), Pete Relkoff (Treasurer), David Sookaveiff (Secretary), Marjorie Malloff, and Lawrence Tamelin of the Kootenays, and Larry Kurnoff (Vice Chairperson), Sam Semenoff and Barry Verigin of Grand Forks, and the Renewal Task Force membership to oversee the governance transition and ensure its completion by the 2011 Annual Convention. Delegates unanimously reaffirmed JJ Verigin as Executive Director of the restructured USCC organization,  and expressed their sincere appreciation to outgoing employees Steve Babakaiff and Wallace Dergousoff of Grand Forks, and Marcie Voykin and Bill Popoff of the Kootenays for their many years of service to the USCC and its membership.


At the close of the Convention, as has been the practice for several years, delegates recognized those USCC members who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and spirit of service to the organization and membership.  This year recognition and appreciation was extended to Alex and Marcia Elasoff, Helen Horkoff and Marion Demosky of Grand Forks; and to Alex and Nancy Pereverzoff, Bill and Mary Stoochnoff, and Fred and Mabel Osachoff from the West Kootenays.


Delegates also expressed their appreciation to Colin Markin for ably chairing the Convention sessions, to Stephanie Swetlishoff, Ellen Strelaeff, Vera Kanigan and Fay Malins for secretarial support, to the Grand Forks and Kootenay Ladies Organizations for wonderful meals and snacks, and to the Grand Forks and Kootenay Trustees for attending to Convention set up and take down.



March 27, 2010 - USCC Union of Youth Talent Night in Grand Forks
This popular annual event returns again, with a delightful assortment of talented performances from the young and young at heart (See slideshows in the Photo Gallery section of this website). Time:  Doors open at 6:00 P.M., Programme commences at 7:00 P.M.
Admission:  At the door. Everyone welcome! Location:  USCC Community Centre Centre. Grand Forks


March 27, 2010 - Youth Action Summit
A coalition of community organizations involved in youth leadership development is putting on a two-day Youth Action Summit for high-school aged youth in the West Kootenays to learn about important social and global issues.
The two-day summit is open to all high school students aged 15-18 / Grades 10-12 and is organized and conducted by youth themselves. They use hands-on experiential learning activities to help participants develop knowledge and empathy — as well as the confidence and tools to take action in their schools and communities… to help them “become the change they wish to see in the world”… to inspire them to make hope possible for a better world.
Topics include poverty-disease cycle, human rights, armed conflict, children and war, food security, action skills training (event planning, using the media, building a culture of peace) and project planning.
Whether you’re already creating change in your community or looking to start, the Youth Action Summit is for you! This is a great opportunity to make an impact by gaining valuable insights and ideas, practical tools, and meaningful connections with other youth from across the West Kootenays.
Participants will stay overnight together on Saturday at Selkirk College.
Cost: $20, includes registration and food! Registration deadline: March 1. Spaces are limited and filling-up fast, so register now!
To register, visit
For more information:  Please contact Melissa Koftinoff at 250-304-7724 or


March 19, 2010 - The Mir Centre Lecture Series

Humanitarian Action

A young medical student, James Orbinski, embarked on a research trip to Rwanda—a trip that would change who he would be as a doctor and as a man. Investigating the conditions of pediatric AIDS, he confronted widespread pain and suffering. Fueled by this injustice, he helped establish the Canadian chapter of Medicin Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).

Speaker:  Dr. James Orbinski, Medecins Sans Frontieres
Date:  Friday, March 19, 2010  7:00 - 9:00 pm  (Doors open 6:30 pm)
Location:  Brilliant Cultural Centre, Castlegar
Tickets:  $20 Available at our College campuses/centres, Otters Books in Nelson and the Castlegar District Public Library.



February 27, 28, 2010 - USCC AGM. 
The USCC Annual Convention takes place on February 27 and 28, 2010, at the USCC Community Centre in Grand Forks. The Saturday session begins with registration of authorized delegates at 8:30 A.M., and the Sunday session begins after the traditional prayer service (moleniye), which commences at 10:00 A.M. All members of the USCC and interested friends are welcome to participate in the moleniye and attend as observers at the Convention sessions. Participation in the Convention proceedings is restricted to authorized delegates.
This year’s annual Convention has special historic significance. It is the first Annual General Meeting since the designation of USCC Executive Director, J.J. Verigin, as the official head of the USCC. The proposed Agenda also includes a slate of proposed resolutions presented by the Renewal Task Force, encompassing the largest structural changes in the organization’s 72-year history.
Call the USCC Offices for more information.  (See “Contact” in this Website.)


February 23, 2010 - The Mir Centre Lecture Series

The Meaning of Life

Dr. Hugh Brody, internationally recognized scholar, anthropologist, land claims researcher, policy adviser, film maker and writer will show a segment of his film “Meaning of Life” and share his research related to aboriginal land claims and aboriginal youth.

Speaker:  Dr. Hugh Brody
Date:  Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Location:  Sentinel 113, Castlegar Campus
Tickets:  $10 at the door


February 21, 2010 - Heritage Seed Exchange. 
Castlegar’s Doukhobor Discovery Centre presents Seedy Sunday on February 21, 2010. This annual event will give participants an opportunity to exchange heritage seeds or to sell them to other collectors and gardeners. This will be followed by a workshop which will focus on seed selection, avoiding cross pollination, preserving the gene pool and other vital information concerning the ever expanding human consciousness about soil improvement and food sustainability. All are welcome at the Village Bistro from 1:00 to 4:00. Donations will go to the maintenance of the Community Garden Project and refreshments will be available.
Contact:  Larry, 365-5327 or Netta Zeberoff @ 250.365.3512, for information, transportation assistance, or to donate heritage seeds.


February 17, 2010. - Kootenay Youth for Haiti Relief – Benefit Concert a Great Success!

A capacity crowd at the Brilliant Cultural Centre demonstrated compassion and support for the victims of the Haiti earthquake disaster, helping to raise a total of over $22,000.00 for the Haiti Relief Fund of the Canadian Red Cross. The January 30, 2010 event showcased an amazing array of Kootenay talent, gathered together by organizer Ellie Davidoff, with the assistance of her husband Michael, friends Greg and Naomi Popoff, Andrew Davidoff, the USCC Union of Youth and many other volunteers.


Performers included: Vision of Peace Youth Choir, Deb Chamera, SHSS Band, Dallas Saur & Geordi Campos, Steps Dance Company, Danika & Kelsey Law, Clara Halbert, Turning Pointe Performance Company, MSSS Band, Marie Civitarese, Kootenay Dance Works, Emma Caron & Aline Daigle, Linnea Barisoff, Kootenay Women’s Chorale, and the Robson Community Choir.

The programme was preceded by a one hour musical serenade and informative slide show. Local MP, Alex Atamanenko, spoke and also performed in the finale with the Vision of Peace Choir. A recorded video message from USCC Executive Director, J.J. Verigin, was played on the Centre’s big screen during the programme. Red Cross volunteers were also on hand to explain how the donated funds would be utilized in Haiti.


The Mount Sentinel Secondary School Quest for Community Students, who had flown into Haiti on a humanitarian mission – just minutes prior to the tragic earthquake – and who had only recently returned to their home in the West Kootenays, also appeared on stage to tell their story. The students’ accounts of their traumatic experiences and their own generosity to the Haiti victims left few dry eyes in the audience…


Donations to this event are still being accepted by the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-418-1111 or by logging onto and informing them your donation is part of the "Kootenay Youth Haiti Relief Benefit Concert." 


In addition to the generous public donations of those in attendance at the Concert, the total raised included corporate donations, such as those from the Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union ($1000.00) and Columbia Power ($4900.00). With matching funds from the federal government, the event will have raised almost $45,000.00 in relief funds for Haiti.

Among new information learned at the Concert was the stark fact that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and is ranked 149th out of 182 world countries on the human development index. Canada is ranked 4th.


The Human Development Bank now estimates that a total of more than 250,000 people lost their lives in the catastrophe, and that the total cost of rebuilding Haiti will exceed $14 Billion. When viewed in relation to the size of Haiti’s population and its effect on the Haiti economy, this earthquake is likely to be the most destructive natural disaster of modern times.

 (View Photos)


February 15, 2010 - USCC Takes Part in Olympic Torch Relay Event - Photos Posted

A composite singing group, including members of the Grand Forks Psalmists and Grand Forks Doukhobor Men’s Choir, participated in the gala program performance before an audience of over 1000 locals and guests in City Park, gathered to cheer on the Olympic Torch Bearers as they passed through Grand Forks on January 24, 2010. Larry Kurnoff expressed greetings on behalf of the USCC.


Performers included the Sopranos and Co., the Boundary All-Nations Aboriginal Council, Perley Handbell Choir, Les Folles Jambettes Dancers, and others. John Zibin emceed the programme, in which Mayor Brian Taylor made opening remarks and greetings, and respected local, Jock Mackay, was honoured to bring in the torch.

Grand Forks USCC Ladies Organization volunteers made four canners of borshch and served out over 800 free cups of the hot treat before they ran out!  (View Photos)


JANUARY 31, 2010 - Website Acknowledgements Posted

With sincere gratitude, the USCC Web Group is proud to post a list of financial sponsors and supporters for 2009 (Webpage link), as well as the updated list of acknowledgements (Webpage link) for all those who are contributing in some way. We look forward to working with all of you, and others, for the ongoing exciting development of this website in the coming years!



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