Grand Forks, BC orchard and village
Grand Forks, BC, Canada
Lands were purchased in the Grand Forks area as well and as elsewhere, the Grand Forks villages would too develop self-sufficient enterprises. Here, the Doukhobors not only developed sawmills but they built a brick factory, and soon many of the Doukhobor buildings were built with brick as opposed to wood only.
Because of the climate and rather flat prairie-like features of the Grand Forks area, wheat was farmed and harvested, and a small flour mill was subsequently built. Fruit trees, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries were planted here too, and used in preservatives which the Doukhobors were not only fond of, but had mastered the art. A small preservative works was built in Grand Forks as well.
Doukhobor Prayer Home
Ooteshenie, BC, Canada
Carpentry was a common craft learned by men from every village and tailors who made clothing for the community were as prevalent as the women who still maintained their talent of weaving. Additional land was purchased in Alberta in the Lundbreck and Cowley area; farming and raising livestock were a feature to augment the other operations. By 1911, the Doukhobors had pushed back and cleared forests, planted over fifty thousand fruit trees, built roads, ferries, and drawbridges. It appeared that Verigin's dream of a self-sufficient, self-reliant, peaceful, utopian community was coming true and there was very little that the Doukhobors required from outside the community.
Model of the Doukhobor Village Museum
1 May 1996
Castlegar, BC, Canada
In all, some ninety villages were eventually built in the area of Boundary-Kootenay region, but in an even more communal manner than what happened in Saskatchewan. Instead of side by side one-family dwellings on a wide street facing each other, the villages in BC were modeled after each other, each having two main Doms (homes) each which had a kitchen, eating area, main meeting room, and bedrooms.
Each village had outbuildings - the traditional banya (sauna or bathhouse), blacksmith, barn(s) and always, a U-shaped multi-purpose building. In these villages, families would supposedly live together in peace and harmony and it was not uncommon for each village to have 50 to 60 residents, 8 to 10 families, each working for the common purpose. Unlike the villages in Saskatchewan, the majority of villages were identified by the elder who prevailed (for example, Ziberov Village would be named accordingly after the head elder, Nicholai Ziberov) though a few villages kept traditional Russian names (translated: 'Gift of God' or 'Peace' for example).
Doukhobors sort fruit
West Kootenays, BC, Canada
Photo by Thomas Gushel, a famed photographer of Doukhobor culture
Life in the village began at the break of dawn; the women arising and starting a large and hearty vegetarian breakfast. Breakfast began with prayers and group singing, and once breakfast was finished, there would be more psalms, hymns and prayers before starting the day. In the early years, the day meant pulling stumpage, cutting timber and clearing the Doukhobor lands but later, those tasks were replaced with falling timber for profit or maintaining the orchards and grain fields they kept.
From milling timber to milling flour, to planting and harvesting their fields of orchards of grain, the Doukhobors' life was certainly not one of leisure and their motto "Toil and Peaceful Life" was as alive in practice during this time, as in any time of their history.
Oche Nash (The Lord's Prayer) sung in Russian
Grand Forks, BC, Canada
Centenial Doukhobor Choir
Along with the prerequisite prayers, hymns and psalms, lunch would be a communal experience as well (unless the workers were hired out to enterprises outside the community's needs). At the end of the work day, a communal dinner was served and as with breakfast, prayers, hymns and psalms preceded the meal and continued after. Bedtime was early, for a new day would begin soon enough. The work day was usually an 11 hour ordeal but no one really kept a 'time sheet'.
Sobranie (Peter V. Verigin cethered in grey suit)
Brilliant, BC, Canada
From the Autochrome Exhibit, Doukhobor Village Museum, Castlegar, BC
Work was six days per week while the Sabbath (Sunday) was respected and was usually incorporated into large sobranies where Doukhobors could gather with Doukhobors from other villages in praise of the Almighty. It was no doubt that these sobranies also served a social function for people from one village to meet with those from another, and it was also during these sobranies that many a courtship had started between a young man and woman from different villages.
K.C. Preservative Works
Brilliant, BC, Canada
In all of the Doukhobors' enterprises, perhaps none were as impressive as the jam factory and the resultant enterprises of such. The K.C. Preservative Works began in 1910 in Brilliant, at the confluence of the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers, and continued in operation past the demise of the CCUB, and until December 1943. This would become the main office for all the CCUB enterprises from here to Saskatchewan.