The history of human settlement in the Parkland area spans 10,000 years, and is a story of people at once taming and succumbing to the landscape around them. The climate has always been harsh, the seasons extreme, but the perseverance and wherewithal that characterized the area’s early settlers was rewarded with good, fertile soil and bountiful harvests in a land full of natural beauty and resources.
The first Native inhabitants lived for thousands of years hunting bison (which existed in herds of hundreds of thousands), fishing on the seemingly numberless lakes, and supplementing their diets with berries, roots and herbs.
When the railway came at the turn of the century, European settlers, many from Eastern Europe and Ukraine, turned the area into one of the richest grain-producing regions in the world. And as the plow transformed idle grasslands to fields ripe with grain, so too did the hearts of the settlers transform the cultural landscape of the region. The lingering spirit of these pioneers can be felt in every church and school, every field and forest to which these pioneers applied themselves. Your journey throughout the Parkland is sure to be rich in the heritage of the distant lands and cultures which left an indelible mark on the local customs and landscape.
Of particular interest to visitors to the Parkland are the churches. Never was the burden of homesteading too great, nor resources too scarce, for the construction in each town of one or more churches, often modest in dimensions, but grand in design, in the true spirit of Old World architecture.
The traditional onion domes are the dominant feature of most historic Parkland churches. Nearly any church you find in the Parkland will be worth a closer look. You’ll find them in every town, along the highway, and hidden among groves of trees down little-used side roads.