|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
|Post office established||1908|
|• Reeve||Jim Swidersky|
|• MP (Provencher)||Vic Toews (CPC)|
|• MLA (La Verendrye)||Dennis Smook (PC)|
|• Total||3.05 km2 (1.18 sq mi)|
|• Density||135.9/km2 (352/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
Vita is a small community in Southeastern Manitoba settled by Ukrainian immigrants in the late 1890s. It is roughly 50 km by road from Steinbach, Manitoba (via PTH 12 and Manitoba Provincial Road 302) in the Rural Municipality of Stuartburn. The village's name means "life", and is pronounced as in vitamin; "bella vita" [beautiful life] in Italian is pronounced "veeda".
Vita is served by "Shevchenko School" (part of the Border Land School Division), built in 1970. It educates Kindergarten through Grade 12. From 1965 until 1991 the Ukrainian language was taught as an option at the elementary and secondary levels – parallel to the French language.
Businesses and services in Vita include, but are not limited to: a restaurant, fuel station, hospital, credit union with drive-thru ATM, post office, two grocery stores, an arena-curling rink, a liquor store, and a hotel-motel.
Vita is known for its large Canada Day celebration on July 1 of each year. The event generally includes a softball tournament, rodeo, beer gardens, and live entertainment. The night is capped off by a fireworks display. Other events include "socials" throughout the year and other events such as Halloween, Valentine's Day, and New Year's Eve.
In the 1950's & 1960's Vita was well known for staging major, high-priced[? clarification needed] baseball tournaments hosted by the towns' two teams.[original research?] The Vita Cubs & Vita Mallards played distant teams like Angusville from the Sask.–N/W border district; Chatfield in the Interlake; Kenora, Ont.; Greenbush, Lancaster, & Karstad, Minn.; Pilot Mound/Winkler to the west & many other teams.[original research?] The Vita Cubs 1955 team was elected into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame along with Steve Derewenchuk, catcher.[original research?] The Vita Mallards played in Senior Baseball Championships & in the Winnipeg league[? clarification needed] as the St. Boniface Mallards.[original research?] The Vic Bozyk Memorial Trophy in the Manitoba Junior Baseball League is named in honour of Victor Bozyk, who was a dominant pitcher for the Cubs and a major contributor to junior baseball in Manitoba.[original research?]
2012 wildfire and winter storm
A second disaster struck in early October of 2012 when a wildfire swept into Vita, burning four homes and a bridge on PTH 201 west of town – two vehicles attempted to drive over the collapsed structure with slight injuries to the two drivers. The fire began threatening Vita late in the morning and by noon the community was put under warning and the entire town was evacuated. By early evening, the high winds that had put Vita at risk calmed down and the evacuation order was lifted. Greg Selinger, the Manitoba premier at the time, toured the district by helicopter the following day. The community and area saw relief from the fires in the form of an abnormally early winter storm that saw the region receive snowfall of about 25 cm (9.84 in). The heavy snow felled about 100 power lines causing massive and lengthy power outages which again prompted evacuations for the town, this time voluntarily, to the local community centre.
Ukrainian culture in Vita
The original name for the community – "Szewczenko" – was a Polish spelling of the surname of the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. When the railway arrived in the district in 1910, the company decided that "Szewczenko" was both unpronounceable in English and too long to be put on train schedules – thus, "Szewczenko" was changed to "Vita".
- "Vita population centre date". Census Canada. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- "Wildfire evacuation orders lifted for dozens of residents". CTV Winnipeg. October 3, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- Carl Degurse and Geoff Kirbyson (October 3, 2012). "Vita family clings to faith after losing home to fire". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- "Manitoba premier tours town ravaged by grass fires". CBC News. October 3, 2012.
- "Southeastern Manitoba pounded by adversity". CBC News. October 5, 2012.
- Ewanchuk, Michael (1977). Vita : A Ukrainian Community. Books 1-3. Vita, Manitoba: Boundary School Division No. 16.
- Marunchak, M. (1970). The Ukrainian Canadians: A History. Winnipeg, Manitoba & Ottawa.