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The Russians

St. Nicholas Russo-Greek Orthodox Church at UCHV. This church was originally built in 1908 to serve settlers in the Kiew area of Alberta- near modern Wostok. It is typical of the kind of church built by local farmers in rural districts in east-central Alberta. Although those of Russian descent made up nearly three percent of Alberta's population by 1916, they were very difficult to identify. Many people of various nationalities were registered by immigration and census officials as Russians; for example, many Ukrainians considered themselves to be Russians, as did the Dukhobours. In the minds of some, the Russians were simply grouped together with the other central and eastern Europeans into one, large, catch-all group - the Slavs.

Those of Russian origin generally included Estonians, Rumenians and Bulgarians, spread out all over the province. There was some concentration of these groups around the Redwater area, northeast of Edmonton, and around the Acme-Beiseker area northeast of Calgary. As with many other groups, the Russians traveled to Alberta after 1900. Before the turn of the century there were less than 2,000 Russians living in the province. Over the next decade and a half, however, their numbers had expanded to nearly 13,000.

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            For more on the history of settlement in Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.