Tolstoi, Manitoba is very tiny hamlet about 90 kilometers south of Winnipeg and was one of the earliest Ukrainian settlements in Western Canada. I visited Tolstoi during a trip to photograph some abandoned places in southern Manitoba, like Canada’s first Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is just outside nearby Gardenton, and I’ve photographed a couple more places in the area, too, like the church in Union Point, and Ridgeville, Manitoba.
Ukrainian settlers began arriving in number in 1896 and started building churches. You can read a lot more about the Ukrainian Churches of Manitoba here.
This church, The Sacred Heart of Jesus Ukrainian Catholic Church of Tolstoi, was built in 1902.
Tolstoi has experienced a dramatic population decline in the last few decades, and it was hard to tell whether some of the businesses in town are still open. I found the grocery store was still open, but it was a Tuesday morning, so I didn’t go in to see if you could still get cold Canadian beer at Elsie’s.
Ukrainian National Home
This is the former Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church. It looks like somebody started painting it, but they didn’t get very far.
There was a third, very beautiful church in Tolstoi, but the gate was closed, nobody was around, and I wasn’t sure if my presence would be welcomed, so I didn’t photograph it.
Photos by Troy Larson, copyright 2015 Sonic Tremor Media LLC