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The Heritage Trails are presented courtesy of CKUA Radio Network and Cheryl Croucher

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Ukrainian Settlement, Part Two

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After serving six months in prison for encouraging his neighbors to emigrate, Ivan Pylypow was finally free to leave the Ukraine and move to Canada.

Meanwhile, his fellow villagers had arrived at Bruderheim, Alberta. But, as historian Radomir Bilash explains, these first Ukrainian settlers weren't too keen on the land in that spot.

So they moved a little bit eastward, to a place where a man had a post office, and the post office was called Edna. And they settled in that particular district, in a particular township.

When Ivan Pylypow turned up with his family, he decided to stay in Bruderheim. He had claimed a homestead when he'd come to Alberta earlier, in 1891, to check out this new country. Besides, it was near the farm of his friend, Jan Krebs, a German who'd emigrated to Canada several years earlier.

But then, Ivan's house burned down.

And when his house burned down I think it sounded, as is from the various recordings we did with people who can still remember, it sounded as if his wife was of a definite opinion that they should move and be near their fellow villagers. And that's what they eventually did.

Others followed Ivan Pylypow and his fellow villagers to settle this new land in east-central Alberta. At the time, no one was allowed to leave the Russian part of the Ukraine, so those who came originated from the western Ukraine, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

What they wanted was a better life for their children.

This seemed like the impossible dream. What was being offered on paper was 160 acres of land, which could be acquired eventually, after paying some kind of an administration fee, for ten dollars. The average size of a rich farmer's holdings in Bukovyna was five-and-a-half acres, if you were very, very rich. Here, somebody was offering the equivalent of the [lotto] 649 win, for everybody who had ten dollars and was willing to work. Well they knew that they knew how to work.

The late 1890s times were desperate in Eastern Europe. The Ukrainian farmers had to sell everything to raise their passage. It was a one-way trip, and there was no going back.

On the Heritage Trail,

I'm Cheryl Croucher.

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