*We welcome you to join the waitlist with a refundable deposit of 1500 CAD/1500 USD per person. Please fill out the registration form to join the waitlist.
The three-part Russlaender Centenary Tour will re-enact the historic migration of 21,000 Mennonites from Russia to Canada beginning in 1923. With the help of established Mennonites, the migrants found new homes in Canada in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution—a time of civil war, famine, and epidemic. This tour celebrates the faith of these newcomers, memorializes the challenges of resettlement, acknowledges race and displacement in Canadian history. The tour is a collaborative effort among Canadian Mennonite historians and heritage enthusiasts. Tour leaders Henry Paetkau and Ingrid Moehlmann, along with other historic resource people, will share informative talks during the tour.
On the train between Toronto and Winnipeg, enjoy onboard lectures, oral history, hymn sings, and talking with fellow Russlaenders and enthusiasts. Attend intriguing lectures at a Russian Mennonite migration conference. Gather with local Mennonites for Singing our Journey: Sängerfest 2023 at the Winnipeg Centennial Concert Hall. Visit Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach. In Rosthern, SK visit the Station Arts Centre located next to the railway where immigrants de-trained in 1923, Rev. David Toews’ gravesite, the old German-English Academy, the Anabaptist Centre, and Rosthern Junior College.
Part 2: Toronto, ON to Saskatoon, SK, July 12-20, 2023 (9-day tour)
From 4575 CAD/3813 USD per person* (Does not include PST/HST)
Will you be arriving early in Toronto? Need to book an extra night before the tour begins? Fill out this form and we can assist you.
Wednesday, July 12
Meet at Toronto Union Station at 8:45 am for a 9:45 am departure. If you did not participate in part 1 of the tour, we recommend arriving in Toronto on July 11th to prepare for this morning’s departure.
On the train between Toronto and Winnipeg, enjoy onboard lectures, oral history, hymn sings, and talking with fellow Russlaenders and enthusiasts. Lecturers and musicians will rotate from lounge car to lounge car to ensure that all passengers will have the option to participate in all activities. Play the Mennonite Game to your heart’s content as you discover long-lost cousins or your ancestor’s neighbours’ descendants. Also, enjoy the scenery between Toronto and Winnipeg. Various sleeper accommodations are available.
Thursday, July 13 Arrive in Winnipeg in the early evening (the train’s scheduled arrival time is 7:30 pm). Check in to the hotel to rest or explore the city on your own.
Friday, July 14
Attend an academic conference about the Russian Mennonite migration. If you don’t attend the conference, enjoy a free day exploring Winnipeg or take a day trip (TBD).
Saturday, July 15
Attend intriguing lectures of your choice on day two of the Russian Mennonite migration conference. This evening, gather with local Mennonites for Singing our Journey: Sängerfest 2023 at the Winnipeg Centennial Concert Hall. Sing a few songs common among Manitoba Mennonite choirs in the early years. Also enjoy grand choral masterpieces, modern choir songs, and traditional English and German hymns. The Sängerfest, emceed by Eric Friesen, will feature guest soloists, and adult, youth and children’s mass choirs. Choir festivals, or sängerfests, began in the village of Rückenau in 1893 when seven church choirs sang praise to God directed by a guest conductor. These large-chorus events spread to many Mennonite communities in Ukraine. When they came to Canada, many Mennonite churches continued to hold annual sängerfests.
Sunday, July 16 In the morning, take a coach to Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach. Begin with a worship service that incorporates songs and other elements drawn from Russlaender history to commemorate the anniversary of their arrival to Canada. Then view “The Russländer” exhibit, which won the 2018 Award of Excellence from the Association of Manitoba Museums. The exhibit explores four themes of the 1920s Mennonite migrations: Golden Age, Flight, Arrival, and Legacy. Crown your Mennonite Historical Village experience with a traditional Mennonite lunch at the museum’s Livery Barn Restaurant. Return to Winnipeg in the evening for a Mennonite Theatre Play with a Russlaender theme.
Monday, July 17
On a city tour of Winnipeg, visit the CPR Station, unique shops at The Forks, and the Human Rights Museum and the Mennonite Heritage Archives at Canadian Mennonite University. Tonight, take the overnight train to Saskatoon. The train is scheduled to depart at 9:30pm.
Tuesday, July 18 Arrive in Saskatoon late morning (around 9:50am). Check into the hotel. After a refreshing free afternoon, enjoy a performance of the Mennonite Piano Concerto by Victor Davies at Knox United Church.
Wednesday, July 19
Take a short coach ride to Rosthern for a day that is certain to be a highlight on this migration re-enactment. This full day includes a visit to the Station Arts Centre which is located next to the railway where immigrants de-trained in 1923. Attend the formal opening of a photograph exhibition of Mennonites who arrived in 1923 and their early experiences. The exhibition will also feature First Nations photographs related to Ancient Echoes petroglyphs at Herschel, Saskatchewan. We hope to show the film produced in 2021 about Ancient Echoes, the Eagle Creek Valley with its petroglyphs, stone formations and its fossils. The film will tell the story of the Interpretive Center’s valuable 17 paintings by painting artist Jo Cooper. Harry LaFond and David Neufeld will be guest speakers. We will also make brief stops at Rev. David Toews’ gravesite, the old German-English Academy, the Anabaptist Centre, and Rosthern Junior College. Rev. Toews was instrumental in resettling Russian Mennonites in Canada. He championed the cause of his suffering Mennonite brothers and sisters as he talked with government officials and railroad executives. Eventually, more than 20,000 Mennonites from Russia came to Canada. A number settled in Rosthern and injected new energy and gifts in the church and community. Also, take time to recognize that Russlaenders moved into treaty territory. Return to Saskatoon for the night.
Thursday, July 20 Today, depart for home or continue on the final leg of the Russlaender 100 journey as you board a coach for Edmonton.
There will be no group transfer for those going to the airport.
*Rates listed are “from” and do not include any taxes, HST or applicable discounts. Restrictions and limitations may be applicable and will be subject to availability at time of booking.