There is a Babushka Trail. There Should be a Mennonite Trail!

I wrote this post in 2020, but never finished because I thought I should say more things, better things. I felt overwhelmed and never revisited the post until now… at the advent of the Peace Trail. (If you haven’t yet heard about it, I’ll tell you more about that soon!)

This post includes MANY links because the stories are many, and interconnected. It’s a web.

When Andrew and I were on our trip to northern Manitoba in the summer of 2020, we encountered many Ukrainian sites… and alongside these sites, we encountered signs that declared this was part of the Babushka Trail. What a great idea! Perhaps Mennonites should copy it. (Andrew said we could call it the Düak Trail 😀

Hmmm. What would be some sites that would be on the Mennonite/Düak Trail, if it were to exist?

First of all, let’s take a look to see what’s all on the Babushka Trail.

Hmmmm looks like a lot of museums and churches, with food getting a little shout-out in the far right corner of the brochure. Plus one cemetery, and one homestead… which is where we learned of the Babushka Trail!

So, taking these cues as inspiration, here are my votes for what could be on the Düak Trail:

Chortitz church & cemetery in Randolph ER

Mennonite Landing Site at the confluence of the Rat and Red Rivers

Shantz Immigration Shed cairn ER

Mennonite Heritage Village

Neubergthal WR

MJ’s Kafe ER

Post Road Trail WR

The first four in the above list will be on the Peace Trail! Here are a few more random suggestions added now, two years later, that make this not so much a trail at all but rather a web, as mentioned above…

Grunthal Cemetery ER — see the original lopsided stones not aligned during the controversial cemetery “renovation”

Gruenfeld Cemetery ER — I’m grateful the site is still here, it contains my family history and maybe yours too (will be on the Peace Trail!)

Rosengard ER– possibly the only/best remaining example of a Mennonite village on the East Reserve, only public access to the legendary Ridge Road trail

Neuanlage ER — a beautifully wild park where you can imagine the last remaining farmsite from what had been a largely Koop-oriented village for a time

Tourond Creek Discovery Centre ER — beautiful wild site adjacent to Kleefeld, will be on the Peace Trail

Rosenthal Nature Park ER — nature park on the site of what was once a Mennonite village, and before that, an Indigenous site (I have everything to learn about this yet)

Rosenort/Rosenhoff/Riverside — the Scratching River Reserve deserves a bit of attention too obviously, this is a place I must learn more about

Neubergfeld ER — fairly inaccessible, I feel like it tells a story based on its distance from other centres; visit if you dare

Osterwick WR — I have a penchant for only being interested in stories that link with my own, so

Hochfeld ER — a half-destroyed cemetery in the midst of a field holds stories, doesn’t it?

Blumenort #2 ER — tells the story of a village that moved twice, this is the halfway point and it’s very accessible

Hochstadt #1 ER — another village that moved twice and changed names too; this one juts out onto a gravel excavation site… at the roadside yet invisible

Neureinland WR — not only because it links with my story, but because it tells the story of what can happen when a group wants to revive a forgotten site

Schonsee ER — while you need permission to see the remains of the original village (yes, there are remains!), the cemetery is accessible next to the road

Reinland WR — a very well preserved Mennonite street village that did not obtain national historic distinction and I suppose they will never tell you what they think of that and perhaps I ought not to even write this here oops

Vollwerk ER — just realized I’ve never mentioned the historical significance here: it’s where Delegate Jacob Peters was buried

Sommerfeld WR — the site of the origins of the church conference by the same name (click to see sweet cemetery pics)

Greenland — a settlement established by Holdemans in 1890 (I think they print Martyrs Mirror in this village! I must return)

Willow Plain School — original one-room schoolhouse built in 1911 still standing as a museum in Sarto

I’ll write about the actual incoming Peace Trail soon. But until then I figured I’d link to an article that already exists.

Related posts: 

A Visit to the Negrych Homestead: The Best Preserved Pioneer Homestead in Canada!

Every Step Covers Sacred Ground