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.
Board a bus in Saskatoon to tour the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village just east of Edmonton. At the Bergthal Mennonite Church in Didsbury, hear Russlaender stories and view an interactive map of Mennonite Churches in Alberta. Marvel at the mountains on a train to Abbotsford. Visit the three original Russlaender Mennonite villages in the Fraser Valley, Yarrow, Greendale, and Arnold to explore the challenges and rewards of pioneer life. Hear how the BC government drained Sumas Lake in the 1920s to establish these three villages, with a devastating impact on the Stó:lō people of the Fraser Valley. Also visit the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Abbotsford.
Part 3: Saskatoon, SK to Abbotsford, BC July 20-25, 2023 (6-day tour)
From 2844 CAD/ 2370 USD per person (Does not include PST/HST)
Will you be arriving early in Saskatoon? Need to book an extra night before the tour begins? Fill out this form and we can assist you.
Thursday, July 20 Red Deer, Radisson Hotel Red Deer
If you did not participate in part 2, please arrive in Saskatoon on July 19th to prepare for this morning’s early departure.
In the morning, board a bus in Saskatoon for the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village just east of Edmonton. Participate in a tour of the village followed by a full-course Ukrainian dinner. Afterwards, travel to Red Deer to spend the night.
Friday, July 21 VIA train
Today, proceed to Bergthal Mennonite Church, Didsbury for Russlaender stories and to view an interactive map of Mennonite Churches in Alberta. After lunch, travel to Evergreen Farms in Linden to learn about Mennonite/Holdeman history in the area and to enjoy entertainment by a cowboy poet. After a western barbeque supper, the bus returns to Edmonton to meet a late evening train to Abbotsford. Tonight the train is scheduled to depart at midnight.
Saturday, July 22 VIA train Wake up to a day of incredible scenery through the Rocky Mountains! Enjoy more expert talks, music, and conversation.
Sunday, July 23 Abbotsford, Best Western Plus Regency Inn & Conference Centre This morning, your train is scheduled to arrive in Vancouver at 8:00am. Check into your hotel in Abbotsford. After a solid snooze, visit Yarrow, Greendale and Arnold, the three earliest Mennonite settlements in the Fraser Valley. Tour a Russlaender village and its museum. Consider the themes of truth and reconciliation as you hear about a lake that was drained in 1923/24. This lake-draining made settlement possible for the Mennonites and had a devasting impact on the local First Nations. What message do we have for the Aboriginal community?
Monday, July 24 Abbotsford, Best Western Plus Regency Inn & Conference Centre
Visit the Hausbarn to remember historic Mennonite homes in the area, followed by lunch. Then, reminisce at a farewell dinner and sing your heart out at one last Sängerfest at a local Mennonite Brethren church.
Tuesday, July 25
Exchange photos and email addresses over breakfast. Depart for home after honouring your ancestors by remembering their hardships and their faith.
A group transfer to the airport will depart at around 11 am. Accordingly, please book your flight to depart after 2pm.
*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.