Sunday, October 7, 2001

Hello from Vegreville, Alberta!

Start time: 0900

Start odometer: 16984

Weather:  Clear sky morning, 43 F.


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As you can see, I did not get to the planned destination (again!)  I keep finding wonderful things to see and do along the way, which has been the trend of this trip!  Today was the same, as I found myself visiting a museum and heritage center.  Towards the end of the day, I decided to stay in the area and follow a pamphlet I picked up this morning describing a driving tour of the many Ukrainian churches in Lamont County.  I ended the journey in Vegreville, a town named after a Roman Catholic missionary.  This town is also in the region where many eastern Europeans arrived near the beginning of the twentieth century, and were able to select land for their homesteads.  


The day started out well, as I awoke to another beautiful morning.  Not a cloud in the sky, and the sun was just rising above the horizon.  In the car, the thermometer reported 43 degrees, but the sun made it feel warmer.  My first stop was at the Edmonton Visitor Center, where I was ably assisted by the staff with information on the Edmonton area.  Behind the center, they have the original Oil Derrick No. 1, which was the unit that discovered the first oil in the region, changing the face of Alberta.  



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I decided to take a drive through Edmonton.  It was getting near 10:00, which was the time The Odyssium, a science and space museum in the city, was scheduled to open.  I drove to the site and spent a couple of hours inside.  While this is primarily a learning museum for children, they have some great interactive displays, including a section where people get to investigate the murder of a fictitious writer.  This allows participants to learn about the many facets of detective work and ways we can determine how our bodies look and work, or what might be left behind.  This included DNA demonstrations, x-rays, computer generated mug shots, writing analysis, and many other ways detectives research a case.  The museum also has an IMAX theatre and a laser show available.  This is a great place to learn.

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Entrance area of the Odyssium.



My next destination was outside of Edmonton, twenty miles east of the city.  This is the location of the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Center.  The organization has collected original settlement churches, homes, and businesses, and brought them to this area to show what a typical 1929 Ukrainian immigrant village might be.  People in costume portray citizens of that time, providing information about how the people of central-eastern Alberta lived.  I had some nice conversations with the people, including Gordon and Steve (picture below.)  Steve portrays John, the Blacksmith, while Gord portrays the hotel owner.  The discussion involved quite a wide variety of topics!  It was also very interesting to hear their perspective of past, as well as current events.

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Entrance sign

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Introductory plaque

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Information on the originations of the immigrants.

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Exterior - Demchuk Blacksmith shop

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John Demchuck

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St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church

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Helen Yurko

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Exterior - Yurko house

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The neighborhood depicting the Bukovynian settlers.

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Butterfly outside of the Grekul house

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Interior - Grekul house

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Exterior - Barn next to the Grekul house

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St. Nicholas Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

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The Provincial Police Post

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Steve and Gordon sitting in front of the Hilliard Hotel.

It was good that I arrived here today.  If you look at the entrance sign picture, it states the Center will be open through Thanksgiving day.  I have to remind myself that tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in Canada!  Good timing!

Continuing the drive, I headed east towards Mundare, Alberta.  There is a meat processing plant in town, and they erected a "statue" in honor of their business!!!

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At this point, I decided to take the auto tour of the churches in Lamont County.  From the pamphlet:  Lamont County has 47 churches - more per capita than anywhere else in North America.  Below are several of the churches on the tour:

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St. Demetrius Russo-Greek Orthodox Church

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Church of the Archangel St. Michael

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St. John Ukrainian Orthodox Church

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St. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

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This gravesite belongs to one of the original Ukrainians that came to Canada in 1891.  Iwan Pylypow and Wasyl Eleniak investigated the Canadian's offer of homesteads, and reported back to their fellow villagers.  (Info from the Center's Site Guide.)

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A closer look at the tombstone.

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Holy Ascension Russo-Greek Orthodox Church


After completing a portion of the tour, I headed back to the east, with a planned destination of Vegreville.  Looking in my rear view mirror to the west, the sky had clouded up.  But the sun was between the edge of the clouds and the horizon, providing beautiful sky colors-

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Tomorrow I head south.  I am debating on whether or not to take a drive to Drumheller.  Beyond that, my next planned destination will be the Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  


As always, I thank you for visiting!  Until tomorrow...


Routes traveled today: Alberta 2 - Edmonton Streets  - Ca16 - Ab 15 - Ab 855 - Ab 45 - Ab 15 - Ab 16

Hotel: Wild Rose Inn -

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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