Join Us for a Hurried Historic Church Drive!

This is not your typical church tour! ha

Yesterday after church, Andrew and I decided to follow one of the suggested routes from a little book I picked up at McNally Robinson, called Manitoba Walks and Scenic Drives, by Prairie Pathfinders Wendy Wilson and Leone Banks. Because it was a pretty hot afternoon, we decided to do a drive, not a walk — and, something a little closer for an afternoon jaunt here in the southeast corner of the province. So we chose a scenic church drive!

I thought I’d already seen all the churches on this drive, but never all at once. So here’s how it all played out:

First stop, Sarto. This is not on the book’s suggested route, but it was on our way and we knew we’d find two churches there. Might as well add them to the tally! (I kind of approached this as one might a fishing expedition, seeing how many images of churches I could “catch”.)

Also, fun fact: Andrew took the majority of these photos from the air conditioned passenger seat of our car before we peeled outta there and went to find the next one. You can probably tell! haha

Sarto: Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Sarto: St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church

Then we arrived in Rosa, which is the official start of this scenic drive.

Rosa: Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church

Next, we hurried to Tolstoi, where we noticed a church with its door open and a sign declaring “open ’til 3” so we wandered on in. I’ll tell you about that some other time. Fact is, that church was not on this tour, but I spent a great deal of time chatting with the lady inside and momentarily forgot our objective. Whoops!

Back on the road, we found the two historic churches of Tolstoi that are on the scenic drive:

Tolstoi: Sacred Heart of Jesus Ukrainian Catholic Church
Tolstoi: Descent of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church

Then Andrew directed me to drive down a neat little road and there we found this historic site. This church was built in 1899, it’s Canada’s oldest Ukrainian church! Later when some upkeep work was being done on the building, they found two journal pages that had been hidden in the original build in 1899! These two pages listed the names of all the volunteers who had built the church, and they are all remembered by name on this site today.

St. Micheal’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church historic site (between Tolstoi and Gardenton)

Then we continued to Gardenton where we took this photo hastily out of the car window:

Gardenton: “new” St. Micheal’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church

You can hardly blame us. We had a lot of driving to do, if we were going to see all these churches in one afternoon. (Which we definitely were. We were determined.)

Next, we headed into Vita to see this one!

Vita: Holy Trinity Orthodox Church

And THEN we found a BONUS church near Caliento — this wasn’t on the Pathfinders route and I’m not sure why:

Caliento: St. John’s Ukrainian Catholic Church

Then to Sundown! Now we were definitely in new territory. I’d never been to these village sites before!

Sundown: St. Peter & St. Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church

THEN we had the final church of our scenic drive, in Sirko — a place I did not know existed. Yet here it was… and it was the best one of the whole drive!

Sirko: St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Church

It was built in 1908, and even has a log-cabin bell tower on the site! Looked like I could go inside…

And I rang the bell! (And yes, this is a hilarious picture of my hand, oh my goodness hahaha)

Since this was our last stop, we spent time walking around the grounds and cemetery. I will say, I should’ve probably done that at all the other churches as well, but we were essentially playing pokemon go with little white country churches. I had to write about it before I became completely scrambled about what we all did and saw yesterday!