Ah, Sarto. Located so near, yet it’s a place I know so little about. Let’s take a closer look.
Located in the southern part of Hanover, the area in and around Sarto was originally settled by Ukrainians. Sure, this was the East Mennonite Reserve, but Mennonites weren’t really into settling here, so some Ukrainian families figured they’d give it a shot.
According to Reflections on our Heritage (written by Abe Warkentin), the Ukrainians actually came here because they’d heard about the place from Mennonites themselves. After all, the Mennonites who settled in the ER were from “South Russia”… Ukraine. The two groups knew each other, and so Ukrainians showed up at a time that the government pretty much wasn’t worried about holding the reserve for Mennonites anymore, since so many had left this area for the West Reserve anyway.
Actually, some French Canadians were already in this area… but they didn’t really form a village. The Ukrainians did, sometime in the year 1900, a village sprang up… and folks called it New York. I wish it was still called New York. But perhaps that’s bad to say, because Sarto likely got its name from Cardinal Guiseppe Sarto, who became Pope Pius X roughly the same time that this little Ukrainian village received its post office… which was registered as Sarto. (Info from the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve… again.)
It’s interesting, reading a bit about this area in the Reflections on our Heritage book.
“Some families had less than a dollar to start a new life.”
Not a dollar per day, but a dollar total.
“As the young settlement became established, mothers with their children were left on the homesteads to tend to gardens and to make hay with a sickle or scythe while their men went in search of work.”
These words bring to mind this diorama at the Manitoba Museum!
(So glad I was able to find those pictures… we took them two years ago!)
Driving through Sarto today, the two churches catch your eye. Really beautiful!
When I was growing up, “Sarto Beach” was a thing. Like, a joke. I don’t really get it. I think maybe there are pits in the area? I googled it just now and saw that there’s a geocache for this. I’m gonna have to go find it sometime.
When we drove through Sarto this past summer, I noticed that the Sarto General Store had a sign out in front declaring “Coldest Beer in Town”. And I wondered, aren’t they the ONLY place to get beer in town?
I clearly don’t know Sarto well enough.