Settling Canada’s West:
The largest migration to Canada at one time, (8,000 people) the Doukhobors have been a little known factor in the settling of the west in Canada. When you read and research Canadian history you will discover mainly Anglo-Franco activities that are documented.
The Doukhobors were considered a pacifist group. But they challenged the Czar and the Orthodox Church In Russia and Russia appeared to be happy to let the troublemakers go. Canada opened their doors. But it wasn’t all kindness on Canada’s part. The Doukhobors were great farmers and well able to handle the harshness of cold winters and isolation better than most.
Yet the question is – why did many Doukhobors start marching across the western prairies? In 1902, 2000 or so Doukhobors – many naked, calling themselves – The Sons of Freedom marched across the cold prairies. They were searching for Utopia – the land of milk and honey. The Canadian government reports they marched in protest against having to sign allegiance to Canada (something their religion didn’t believe should be done). And they were ordered to stake claim to square sections of land – privately owned, rather than share communal lands. It was probably a reason but why naked? Many Doukhobors, who didn’t win against the government, moved to British Columbia, where the laws didn’t say they must own the land in individual square parcels.
In Paradise on the Horizon my heroine escapes Russia, by joining the Doukhobors migration.