Community hub and store for Ukrainian newcomers to Ottawa opens at Westgate mall

As Ottawa continues to welcome Ukrainians fleeing their country, support grows with a new store at the Westgate Shopping Centre.

At first glance, it’s a store like any other you’d find in a mall. Shelves are stocked with everything from clothing to hygiene products, but missing is a cash register.

Maidan Market is a volunteer-led initiative run by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) Ottawa Branch.

Created in response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, it’s where newcomers to Canada who register can come to shop for free.

“It’s been a success; I cannot believe it,” organizer Olenka Reschitnyk-Bastian tells CTV News Ottawa.

She says most of the items here were collected during a donation drive in early March at a the Ukrainian Orthodox Hall. Anything that couldn’t be shipped has been sorted and is now available to be picked up.

“A space that’s welcoming, that feels normal, not a box to siphon through and find what fits. It’s curated, there’s dignity, there’s autonomy,” says Reschitnyk-Bastian.

Each of the rooms is organized by need: women’s clothing, men’s, children’s, a pantry, and there are multiple rooms for baby items and personal hygiene.

Some new to Canada are staying with relatives, others with hosts. The space is also a place to connect.

“A hub, a space for newcomers, particularly Ukrainian newcomers, to come and gather things that they need, get connected to the services that they require, to help them get settled here in Ottawa for as long as their stay is,” says Reschitnyk-Bastian.

The store is open Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays during normal mall hours. If you want to help, organizers are asking for cash donations, as space is very limited.

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