Ruth and Henry Dyck. (Photo by John Longhurst)
Ruth Dyck is on “Memories of Migration: Russaender Tour 100” because of her parents and grandparents, who came to Canada from the Soviet Union in 1924.
“They were well to do in Ukraine, living on an estate,” she said. They arrived in Canada with little, making a new life in a new land as farmers.
Ruth, a math and computer science teacher at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate in Winnipeg, is travelling with her husband, Henry, a retired microbiologist, whose roots go back to the 1870s migration to Canada.
Those were hard times, Ruth remembers, but her parents paid off their travel debt (“Reiseschuld”) to the Canadian Pacific Railway—her father farmed and her mother worked as a maid and a cook.
Ruth is on the tour as “a way to remember my parents and grandparents, and to honour them for what they went through to come to Canada,” she said.
The Dycks, who are members at Charleswood Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, are two of 60 people on the first leg of the tour that starts in Quebec City, where the immigrants landed 100 years ago, and includes stops in Montreal and Kitchener, Ont.
Thursday featured walking tours of the old city and the classic Chateau Frontenac hotel, along with a dinner together where participants had a chance to introduce themselves and share their reasons for joining the tour.
Common themes included remembering the past and learning more about the experiences of their ancestors, along with a chance to meet new people and make new friends.
John Longhurst is a freelance writer from Winnipeg who is blogging about the first and third legs of the tour.