Day 18 – June 24 – Humboldt, SK to Yorkton, SK

We only made one sightseeing stop today.

I can’t remember what town we were driving through when we spotted these two beautifully carved heads on the deck of a large building.

We did stop briefly a few other places, most notably at the welcome signs to the town of Englefeld where they host a hog-fest every year. The large pig was made by a local company owner to celebrate the 25th Englefeld Hog-fest and was atop his building until it was moved to the entrance to town. He chose a Yorkshire pig for his sculpture because they are long and sleek, without the typical potbelly. After the pig was moved community members decided to beautify the area and planted a garden, then they needed somewhere to store their tools and water buckets. An internet search provided an image of a small building that looked like it could be from the “Three Little Pigs” story so more volunteers drew up plans and built it to futher enhance the site. The fat pig in the coat on the right is the Hog-fest mascot.

We stopped in Canora to see the Ukrainian Heritage Museum, but it was closed and we carried on driving to Verigin to the National Doukhobour Heritage Village.

We drove past several of the distinctive Ukrainian churches in communities we passed through today.

When we noticed this animal crossing the road ahead of us John and I both thought at first it was a coyote, but we soon realized it was a fox. You don’t see them out in the open very often.

Another group of people persecuted in their own land were the Doukhobours from southern Russia. They are pacifists and refused to take up arms and were no longer willing to do military service; to the point that they had a Day of Burning in 1895 where they gathered all their weapons and burned them. Their pacifist stand met with harsh oppression and great persecution followed, including torture and exile to Siberia. They realized they must leave their homeland and seek a place where they could live without sacrificing their principles. Through their own efforts and those of author Leo Tolstoy, as well as the Society of Friends (Quakers) sufficient funds were raised for the move. Arrangments were negotiated with the British and Canadian governments. They were offered land and about 7500 people migrated to the North West Territory which later became the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan in 1899.

There was a large number of photographs and items in the main center and 9 buildings on the grounds that we could wander through at will. All of the buildings but the large one had been brought to the park from other Saskatchewan Doukhobour villages.

A complete set of hand-carved wooden cutlery.

The man’s suit is handmade from linen made from flax.

An aerial view of the heritage park with the large Prayer Hall and leader’s residence in the center.

This building is fashioned on the style of the Doukhobour leader’s house from Russia. It was built on site in 1917 and served as a place for communal gatherings, weddings, funerals and spiritual meetings. The upstairs was the private living quarters of the sect’s leader, Peter V. Verigin, and later his son, Peter P. Verigin. Peter V. was released from a 16-year exile in Siberia and reunited with the Doukhobours in Canada in 1902.

During WWI the Canadian government asked the Doukhobours to contribute to the war effort with their labour since they would not contirbute with arms. A group traveled to Toronto in 1915 to build a bridge. The above photo is of Doukhobour men at the J. Couglan & Son’s shipyard in Vancouver May 9, 1918.

This ingenious water basin was in the Verigin House. Water was kept in the cabinet at the top. To fill the basin you pulled the knob and when you were finished you raised the shelf base and the water was sent to a container in the bottom.

We looked at the blacksmith shop, which was empty because they were renovating, a communal barn that housed all the village horses, a granary that all the grain was stored in from every farm, a communal bath house where the muscles from a hard day’s work were soothed in heat and steam, the bakery, and the a brick house that also contained the Tolstoy museum.

The brick oven in the bakery is still used for special occasions. You can bake 35 loaves of bread at a time inside it.

They had their own general store and their own flourmill, three grain elevators and a brickyard. The bricks on the this prayer house from the village of Gromova were placed on edge instead of flat to provide a different look. The bricks on the corners were placed in the traditional manner.

The library of Russian books.

The cradle was suspended from the ceiling beside the bed. Very clever idea when the baby is very young.

There were old photographs in almost every building and they were an excellent journal of the experience of these early settlers. I do not know who’s idea it was to have a photographer document their journey to and in a new land but there were pictures right from the emarkations point in Russia, on board the ship, and working the new land. I have added quite a few of them below. The titles are on each and I think are clear enough to read. Just like the Ukrainian immigrants these people worked very hard to make a new life in a new land.

Without horses or oxen the men (and sometimes women also) pulled the wagons. Note: they were hauling a TON of flour for miles.

Leo Tolstoy – author of War and Peace and Anna Karina which are often regarded as among the best novels ever written.

Even as a young man Tolstoy had his distinctive beard. And very fiery eyes.

We left Verigin at 4:15 and arrived in Yorkton at 5. Tomorrow we will tour their branch of the Western Develoment Museum before crossing to Manitoba.

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