When: Jul 20—Jul 25
Tour Style:

Memories of Migration: Russlaender 100 Tour 3

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)

Thursday, July 20

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

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
Wake up to a day of incredible scenery through the Rocky Mountains! Enjoy more expert talks, music, and conversation.

Sunday, July 23
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

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.

Part 1: Quebec City to Kitchener, ON, July 6-12, 2023

Part 2: Toronto, ON to Saskatoon, SK, July 12-20, 2023

*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.

REGISTER  for the Russlaender 100 tour: Part 3 with a $1500/person tour deposit by September 30, 2022 to secure your preferred train accommodation.

GET A TASTE OF THE TOUR by watching the webinar below with Dr. Aileen Friesen. Explore the experiences of Mennonites in the Soviet Union as they prepared to immigrate to Canada in the 1920s.

Henry Paetkau will lead a second webinar called A New Home in Canada on October 28, 2021, 6:30 CT/7:30 ET. REGISTER on Zoom.




Route Map:

Corridor – Part 1 from Quebec City to Kitchener

The Canadian – Parts 2 and 3 from Toronto to Abbotsford

Cabin categories:

For more details, see the VIA Rail brochure.


Please note:

  • The Skyline car cannot be booked at the moment due to COVID restrictions
  • Prestige booking only available for the entire duration of Toronto to Vancouver


For further information, please consult the Russlaender FAQ page or contact us. We would be happy to be of assistance.