Manitoba Historical Society
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MHS Field Trips: Spring 2015 - “Agriculture, Settlement and Society Along the Assiniboine”

Wednesday, 10 June 2015, 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM

Led by Dr. John Lehr and Dr. Keven Van Kamp

The flat plains of the lower Assiniboine Valley constitute some of the finest agricultural land in Canada. French and Metis settlers eagerly took land along the banks of the river in the 1800s creating a distinctive pattern of settlement that still endures. Decades later Hutterites moved into the area, purchasing land on which they established their distinctive colonies. The area now has one of the densest populations of Hutterite colonies in the world. This field tour guided by Keven Van Kamp and John Lehr will explore the economy, geography and history of this remarkable area on Winnipeg’s doorstep.

The day will begin at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, 10 June 2015, when the bus will leave Grant Park Shopping Centre and head, via St. Francois Xavier, to James Valley Hutterite Colony, located about six miles south of Elie. James Valley was established in 1920, one of the first six colonies to locate in Manitoba when the Hutterites left the United States. After a tour of the colony we will have lunch with colony members in their communal dining room, after which there will be an opportunity to visit the colony bookstore and, for those who wish to do so, to purchase colony produce (an insulated bag or cooler might be good thing to bring along.)

Calving Barn at the James Valley Hutterite Colony
Source: John Lehr

In the Kitchen at the James Valley Hutterite Colony
Source: John Lehr

After leaving the colony we will visit other agricultural operations and some historic sites north of the Assiniboine. Dinner, catered by the local community, will be at Belcourt Community Centre. The tour will then return to Winnipeg (via St. Francois Xavier) arriving at Grant Park at approximately 7:30 PM.

This field trip is organized and operated jointly with the St. Francois Xavier Historical Society. Members of either society qualify for the reduced member rate. The MHS and St. Francois Xavier Historical Society reserve the right to cancel the trip or change the itinerary if circumstances beyond their control so dictate.

The cost per person will be $92.00 ($98.00 for non-members), including transportation by air-conditioned, washroom-equipped bus; colony tour; lunch, dinner, all admissions and all taxes and gratuities. To reserve your place on this trip, please contact Jean Owchar at 204-864-2304.


John Lehr

Dr. John Lehr

Lehr is a retired Professor of Historical Geography at the University of Winnipeg, specializing in Ukrainian settlement in western Canada and South America, communal settlements in Canada and Israel, and provincial parks in Manitoba.

He was President of the Manitoba Historical Society from 1998 to 2000, and he has organized numerous popular and informative field trips for the society.

Page revised: 7 February 2015

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