Kalyna Country

Canada's Largest EcoMuseum

Martin_Turcan_Shandro_Church_Photo
©Photo by Martin Turcan

Kalyna Country's Heritage Attractions

kalyna-wagonHome to aboriginal peoples from ancient times, and to Woodland Cree tribes since the mid-18th century, the Kalyna Country region was the first part of Alberta to be traversed by European adventurers. The North Saskatchewan valley was initially explored by Anthony Henday of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1754-1755, after which Peter Pond (1778), Peter Fidler (1792) and David Thompson (1812), were among the trailblazers who opened up the territory to the fur trade. As a result, Kalyna Country is also home to several fur trading posts (see map – 98K) formerly operated by the Hudson’s Bay and the North West Companies, such as Fort George-Buckingham House (est., 1792) and Fort Victoria/Victoria Settlement (est., 1864), both of which have been developed as provincial historic sites.

In the late 19th century the Kalyna Country wilderness was heavily settled by an influx of East European immigrants, chiefly Ukrainians and their Old World neighbours, the Poles, Romanians, Slovaks, and “Vlksdeutsche” Germans. To this day, the prosperous rural communities dotting the most historic countryside in Alberta have a distinctly multicultural flavour.

Museums

Much of the rich multicultural heritage of the region has been preserved in the two dozen traditional and open air museums of Kalyna Country. Among the more significant displays of artifacts are those housed at the Regional Museum in Vegreville, the open air pioneer museum at Shandro, learn about Ukrainian settlement in the area at the Basilian Fathers Museum in Mundare and at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village Provincial Historic Site. In the future you can learn about Métis culture through development of an Interpretive Centre near Victoria Settlement. To be known as Victoria Landing, the first two phases will be fully operational and ready to celebrate the Alberta Centennial in 2005.

100+ Byzantine – Style Historic Churches

kalyna-museumAmong the architectural treasures of Kalyna Country are more than 100 churches, most of them built in the “onion-domed” Byzantine style by Kalyna Country devout Ukrainian pioneers. Whereas late 19th century German-speaking immigrants established religious communities at Josephburg and Bruderheim, Hutterite colonists of more recent origin maintain Old World customs and traditional dress and modern communal farms in several Kalyna Country districts, such as in Lamont County, the self-proclaimed church capital of North America. Other important spiritual landmarks include the grotto at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, in the polish district of Skaro; St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church, at Boian, the Goodfish Lake burial place of the Ojibway evangelist, Henry Bird Steinhauer (1818 – 1884); the McDougall Methodist Mission at the Victoria Settlement; and the St. Paul de Cris Catholic Mission founded at Brosseau in 1865 by Father Albert Lacombe. Inquire about our Church Tours and other Special Tours.

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