Upcoming events:

Russlaender 100 Ontario Events Preview

May 9, 2023 7 pm CT, 8 pm ET

In July 2023, the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada will commemorate the 1920s immigration of Mennonites from the Soviet Union with a cross-Canada tour. This webinar, hosted by Aileen Friesen (CTMS), will preview events in Ontario.


  • Marlene Epp – introduction
  • Henry Paetkau – history of the Russlaender in Ontario
  • Laureen Harder-Gissing – Russlaender materials in the Mennonite Archives of Ontario
  • Leonard Enns – overview of his original composition “The Place of Memory”
  • David G. Neufeld – preview of Niagara Peninsula tour
  • Ed Janzen – preview of Waterloo Region tour

Recordings of past events:

Welcome Encounters: Mennonites & Muslims in Central Asia Event

WEBINAR: Welcome Encounters: Mennonites & Muslims in Central Asia Event

During this webinar, TourMagination tour leader John Sharp had a conversation with New York Times best-selling author Sofia Samatar about the historic trek of Mennonites from Russia to Central Asia in the 1880s. On this epic journey, Mennonites enjoyed a surprising welcome from their Muslim hosts in what is now Uzbekistan. Sofia is the author of The White Mosque, a memoir about how this migration intersects with her own story. Sofia joined the tour to explore her family history and “her complex upbringing” as a Mennonite of colour in America born to a Swiss-Mennonite and a Somali-Muslim. During the event, Sofia also read from her book and took questions from the audience. WATCH THE RECORDING.






PRESENTATION: Tour Preview of the 2023 Memories of Migration: Russlaender 100 Tour

During this Zoom call, representatives from Mennonite historical committees in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC gave brief presentations about historical sites in their region that travellers will visit on the Russlaender cross-Canada train tour. Also, hear about the train journey, accommodation and city sights in Quebec City, Montreal, and Winnipeg. WATCH THE RECORDING.





PRESENTATION: Reading the Russländer in Ukraine: On Real and Literary Places

In this presentation, Robert Zacharias reflected on the centenary of the Russlaender migration from the Soviet Union by considering its representation in Mennonite Canadian literature. From Sandra Birdsell to John Weier to Rudy Wiebe, a host of Mennonite authors have returned to rewrite this dramatic history in fictional form. Why have so many authors returned to retell this story? How does literature help us remember the past? And is it truly possible to visit the places to which we are first introduced by fiction?

Robert Zacharias is an associate professor in the Department of English at York University, and associate editor of the Journal of Mennonite Studies. He is author of Rewriting the Break Event: Mennonites and Migration in Canadian Literature (2012) and Reading Mennonite Writing: A Study in Minor Transnationalism (2022), and editor of After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America (2016). WATCH THE RECORDING.

WEBINAR: Leaving Russia
Dr. Aileen Friesen explores the experiences of Mennonites in the Soviet Union as they prepared to immigrate to Canada in the 1920s. Follow their journey as they gathered their travel documents, packed their trunks, and boarded the train that took them through the Red Gate. Discover the challenges they faced, the sorrows they suffered, and the faith that sustained their spirits. Find out more about the upcoming Memories of Migration: Russlaender 100 Tour, in 2023. WATCH THE RECORDING.

WEBINAR: A New Home in Canada
Explore the experiences of Mennonites as they arrive in Canada. Follow their journey as they find new homes, form new communities and meet their new neighbours. Discover the challenges they faced, the sorrows they suffered, and the faith that sustained their spirits. Find out more about the upcoming tour, Memories of Migration: Russlaender 100, in 2023. WATCH THE RECORDING.


TourMagination is proud to have co-sponsored the Yesterday’s Wisdom for Today: Anabaptist Conversation Series. During these engaging online events, experts from North American Anabaptist Heritage organizations showcased historic documents relevant to current issues, and shared their perspectives.  Following the presentations, attendees joined facilitated discussions in breakout rooms. Learn from history, shape the future! The series is co-sponsored by Anabaptist History Today, a collaboration of 16 Anabaptist Heritage organizations.

Yesterday’s Wisdom for Today: Virtual Relationships Past & Present
Are virtual relationships real? History sheds light on this modern question. In generations past, Mennonites who lived far away from each other wrote letters back and forth. Friendships deepened as they shared the realities of their lives, their faith, and their hopes through letters. Some of these relationships blossomed into romance.  In this session, listen to excerpts from historic letters collected in North American Mennonite archives. Mennonite Church USA Archivist, Jason Kauffman, will reflect on the role that letters played in building relationships. As well, Sandra Reimer, long-time freelance communication strategist talked about how she builds virtual relationships with clients and colleagues. As a leader in a Mennonite Brethren church in Canada, Sandra also reflected on the challenge of connecting in an age of hybrid church—both in-person and online. WATCH A RECORDING.

Yesterday’s Wisdom for Today: Racial Harm and Harmony Among Mennonites
North American Mennonites from racial minorities have not always been fully embraced by their Mennonite brothers and sisters. In this session, Tobin Miller Shearer, African-American Studies Director at University of Montana, provides context on some historic documents that show attempts and failures at racial reconciliation. Also, hear from John Powell about the Minority Ministries Council formed in 1969 to represent Mennonites of color in the (old) Mennonite Church and his continued work for racial justice. John is a former Mennonite pastor and administrator, and a civil rights activist. WATCH A RECORDING.

Yesterday’s Wisdom for Today: Remaining Community-Minded in an Individualistic Culture
In the past, many North-American Anabaptists lived in set-apart communities that were more focused on the common good than people in the dominant individualistic culture. This session explores historic examples of great things Anabaptists accomplished by working together. Also, hear from a panel of Anabaptists who think and act from a community mindset. WATCH A RECORDING.


PLAYLIST Anabaptist Story Lives On: Virtual Museum & Archive Tour_Round 1

PLAYLIST Anabaptist Story Lives On: Virtual Museum & Archive Tour_Round 2

PLAYLIST Anabaptist Story Lives On: Virtual Museum & Archive Tour_Round 3

WEBINAR: About Hutterites & Culture in Romania with Rod Hofer
Rod shows photos and talks about the fascinating story of a small community of Hutterites who lived in the Transylvania region of Romania before their sudden escape over the Alps in 1767. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE WEBINAR RECORDING.