The Doukhobors - Cascade, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 49° 00.413 W 118° 16.243
11U E 407070 N 5428998
Quick Description: About 13 kilometres east along the Crowsnest Highway from Grand Forks is a large pullout on the south side of the highway. In the pullout one will find this Heritage marker.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 5/25/2020 12:35:37 PM
Waymark Code: WM12GRF
Views: 2

Long Description:
This marker is one of well over 100 Heritage BC Stops of Interest which line the highways and byways of British Columbia. The oldest series of markers consisted of green placards with white lettering placed within a zinc frame. Newer ones, such as this example, consist of a predominantly green metal plaque with an off-white frame and lettering, mounted on a board of composite material. This marker is one of the 2017 series and relates a bit of the story of the Doukhobors, who immigrated to the region shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. More of their story follows text from the marker.

Doukhobors arrived in the Kootenay Boundary area in 1908. Persecuted in Russia for rejecting church rituals and military service, they were derisively named Doukhobors, or 'Spirit Wrestlers'. Finding refuge in Canada, these Christian pacifists maintain their heritage and contribute to B.C.'s multicultural mosaic.


History of the Doukhobors Migration to Canada
In Russia, the Doukhobors had been exiled or sent to prison because they refused to fight for the Czar. They believed it was wrong to kill. Many died in the harsh conditions of Siberia.

At this time, the Canadian prime minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and Sir Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior, were advertising free land to encourage people to settle in Canada. Some people, including a Russian writer named Leo Tolstoy, decided to help the Doukhobors and arranged for them to move to Canada.

The Canadian government offered the Doukhobors land to farm in the Saskatchewan district. They were promised free land, the right to their own religion, and a guarantee that they would not have to serve in the Canadian military.

The first Doukhobor immigrants left Russia aboard the Lake Huron on December 21, 1898. This group, numbering over 2 100 people, arrived in Halifax on January 23, 1899. Another group of 2 300 Doukhobors arrived several days later on the Lake Superior. This same ship returned and brought well over 2 300 more people. These Doukhobors had immigrated to Cyprus but the colony was not a success, so they decided to come to Canada. They arrived on May 21, 1899. A fourth ship carrying around 800 people had arrived earlier in May 1899. There were approximately 7,500 Doukhobors that came to Canada in 1899.

The Doukhobors settled down, cleared the land, built houses and began farming. They did well and eventually built brick factories, saw mills and flour mills.

In 1902, Peter Verigin, the Doukhobor community's spiritual leader, decided that he would buy land in British Columbia where an oath of allegiance was not required. Over the next five years, he moved around 5,000 Doukhobors to the interior of British Columbia, around the towns of Brilliant, Grand Forks, Glade and Pass Creek.

Once more, they had to clear the land, prepare the soil for planting, and build houses. This time they also planted lots of fruit trees and built a big jam factory, as well as more brick factories.

In 1907, the Doukhobors faced a new challenge. The Canadian government was asking the Doukhobors to swear an oath of allegiance to the King. Many did not wish to do so, as they felt this would mean they would have to fight in a war if there was one.

They were given a choice: sign the oath or lose their land. Some of the Doukhobors, who became known as the Independents, signed the oath and remained on their land. The others lost over 250,000 acres that they had worked to clear and improve for farming. The Canadian government sold their land.

Parks Canada Honors the Migration of Doukhobors to British Columbia as a National Historic Event.
Photo goes Here
Type of Marker: Cultural

Type of Sign: British Columbia Tourism Sign

Describe the parking that is available nearby: The marker is in a large pullout

What Agency placed the marker?: Province of British Columbia

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T0SHEA visited The Doukhobors - Cascade, BC 5/26/2020 T0SHEA visited it