Ukrainian Labour Temple: 1922 – 1940
Maltese Cultural Club: c. 1950s – present
The Ukrainian Labour Temple served a Ukrainian left-wing socialist organization in the pre-WWI era and was later the home of the Maltese Cultural Club. Connected to the Ukrainian Labour Temple Association (ULFTA), a branch was formed in Oshawa in 1922, with construction on the building beginning in 1923. By the following year, the ULFTA had seventy registered Oshawa members and dozens more event attendees. Concerts were hosted by mandolin and string orchestras; the association also held classes for children on Ukrainian language and cultural topics.
During the Depression in the 1930s, unemployed citizens (including those of Ukrainian and other backgrounds) began to meet at the ULFTA hall. Political tension in Canada and abroad in Europe also contributed to the political polarization of Oshawa’s Ukrainian community, which resulted in higher levels of membership for the ULFTA. The United Automobile Workers (UAW) Union, founded in 1937, and pro-communist political parties also began to hold meetings at the ULFTA Hall.
Due to increasing political tension surrounding World War II and the fear of fifth columns, the ULFTA was declared illegal and shut down on June 4, 1940 by order from the Canadian government. The organization’s halls and other properties were seized by the federal government. In 1941, the Polish Friendly Alliance Association began to rent the Oshawa hall. In January 1944, the federal government returned the ULFTA halls to their previous owners.
The Maltese Canadian and Falcon Soccer club opened in the late 1950s, coinciding with an influx of Maltese immigrants to Oshawa after World War II.
The Malta United Soccer Club, as it was known in 1958, played against other teams in the Oshawa Soccer Association. In 1968, the club – known now as the Malta Falcons Soccer Club – was facing a crisis due to declining membership. The crisis was slowly averted as the result of fundraising through picnics and dances, with many more people joining by 1976 when a new committee was formed. In the early days and before taking ownership of the building on Bloor Street in 1977, the club met occasionally in St. Gregory The Great Catholic Church.
The club was later renamed once again to the Maltese Canadian Falcons Soccer and Social Club and again to the Maltese Cultural and Sports Club. Often taking part in the popular Oshawa Folk Arts Council festival (later Fiesta Week), it continued to function as a hub for cultural events and sporting events until 2008. In the half-century since it first opened, membership had steadily declined due to aging members and younger families moving out of Oshawa. Today, the club still has an active online presence with an operating Facebook page.
By the end of the 2000s, the building at 236 Bloor St E was being occupied by a dance company, and less than a decade later, the New Life Global Church occupied the building.