Canadian First World War




BANFF, ALBERTA – The Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (CFWWIRF) hosted the Rocky Mountain Premier of the award winning internment documentary, “That Never Happened: Canada’s First National Internment Operations” on Friday, November 17, 2017 at the Cave & Basin National Historic Site, one of the 24 First World War Internment Camps.

Internment directly impacted 8,579 so called “enemy aliens” including, among others, Ukrainians, Croatians, Armenians, Bulgarians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Macedonians, Polish, Romanians, Russians, Serbians, Slovaks, Slovenes, Turks and others from the Ottoman Empire, of which most were Ukrainians and most were civilians.

The Endowment Council of the CFWWIRF is working hard on shedding light on this tragic yet little known chapter in our Canadian history. Since the inception of our Fund back in 2008, the Endowment Council has awarded over $3 million in grants. Grant projects include: historical exhibits, awareness campaigns and presentations, commemorative plaques and statues, internee cemeteries, films, historical research, artistic endeavors, symposiums, and educational resources, among others.

The CFWWIRF provided a grant to Ryan Boyko of Armistice Films in support of “The Camps” webseries and the documentary, “That Never Happened” which focuses on one of the dark chapters of our Canadian history.

Mr Emil Yereniuk, Chair of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund. Photo courtesy of Andrea Malysh.

CFWWIRF Chair, Mr. Emil Yereniuk stated during his opening remarks, “On behalf of the Endowment Council, I would like to thank the Parks Canada for providing this venue for the Rocky Mountain Premier. The Cave & Basin internment exhibit on this site ensures that visitors will learn of the effects of the War Measures Act and its crippling legacy 100 years after it was first implemented. It also represents an important contribution to remembering, commemorating and recognizing the historic injustice suffered by thousands of innocent people and to learning from our Canadian history as ensuring that a similar tragedy not be repeated again.”

The film screening at this symbolic location was shown on 4 giant screens to a packed house. Included in the VIP guest list was the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko, Board of Directors and internee descendants, of whom are highlighted in the film. Mr. Andrew Hladyshevsky Q.C., President of the Shevchenko Foundation, spoke during the Q&A session with Ryan Boyko and co-Producer, Diana Cofini. Mr. Hladyshevsky described to the audience the negotiation process with the Government of Canada and the signing of the agreement with the Shevchenko Foundation on May 9, 2008 at Stanley Barracks, a former internee receiving station in Toronto. He commented to the audience that, “During the seven years of negotiations with 3 Canadian Prime Ministers; 6 Ministers of Heritage; 5 Secretaries of State for Multiculturalism and 7 Directors for Multiculturalism, we were able to achieve an honourable settlement with the creation of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund. I believe we have begun to honor the memory of the men, women and children who were imprisoned or had their civil rights abused during Canada’s First National Internment Operations.”

Shevchenko Foundation Board of Directors
Left to right: Oryssia Lennie, CM, Orest Sklierenko, Wallace Shoemay, Lidia Narozniak,
Adrian Boyko, Diana Cofini and Ryan Boyko of Armistice Films, Irka Mycak;
Gordon Gordey and Andrew Hladyshevsky Q.C.
Photo courtesy of Trevor Shular

Actor/Writer/Producer Ryan Boyko researched Canada’s First National Internment Operations in 2010 and in the fall of 2015, Ryan and the crew of Armistice Films embarked upon an historical journey. Armed with professional cinema cameras, four film professionals set out to document the remains of all of the internment camps used during Canada’s First National Internment Operations from 1914 to 1920. The idea behind “The Camps” was to create 26 mini films that are structured like a web-series creating short documentaries with a cinematic feature film style.   At the end of this cross-Canada adventure, the team has completed 33 episodes of “The Camps” featuring various affected communities, internee descendants, Military, Police and Scholars.

Ryan Boyko is the Founder and President of Armistice Films. As a Producer/Writer/Director he created the series “The Camps”. The series premiered on September 8th 2016, it has since been seen in 174 countries around the world with over 100,000 views and counting. “The Camps” garnered 2 prestigious awards, The IndieFest Award of Merit with Special Mention and an award of Recognition from the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival.

Ryan Boyko has also written a historically approved feature film screenplay on internment called “Enemy Aliens.” The Ukrainian State Film Agency has chosen the movie “Enemy Aliens” to receive its largest grant and over one third of the movie’s budget is now secured.  Ryan Boyko and co-Producer, Diana Cofini is currently in talks with numerous Canadian and International Production and Distribution companies to help finance the remainder.

The Documentary, “THAT NEVER HAPPENED” reveals the story of Canada’s first national internment operations between 1914 – 1920, when over 88,000 people were forced to register and more than 8,500 were wrongfully imprisoned in concentration camps across Canada, not for anything they had done but because of where they came from. In 1954, the public records were destroyed and in the 1980s a few brave men and women began working to reclaim this chapter in history and ensure future generations would know about it.

To date, “That Never Happened” has won 5 Film Festival awards:
10° Hotter – Best Documentary – Valley Film Festival LA
People’s Choice Award – Bay Street Film Festival
Best Documentary – Festival Vues du Monde – Montreal
Best Investigative Documentary – Regina International Film Festival and Awards (RIFFA)
Silver Award – Best Documentary – Spotlight Documentary Film Awards – Atlanta, GA

The CFWWIRF digital map on its website contains “The Camps” webseries along with over 10,000 digitized news articles dating from 1914 to 1920 that describes the opinion of the time and presents the hardship unjustly endured by new immigrants who were invited to Canada and then had their civil and human rights taken away by the War Measures Act. The Camps DVD’s are now available for purchase on the Armistice Films website,

The Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (CFWWIRF) was established to support projects that commemorate and recognize the experiences of all of the ethno-cultural communities affected by Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914 to 1920.

For more information on the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund contact the Program Manager,, toll free at 1-866-524-5314.