Mennonite Heritage Village

MHV Transforms into an Art Gallery

February 16, 2023

By Gary Dyck

At the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV), we now have three art galleries for you to enjoy this month! The first is the outdoor festive lighting. MHV commissioned a Winnipeg artist to develop two customized light displays for our grounds as well as a professional lighting company to transform the village into a winter wonderland. Last week, I shared a top ten list of things to do in winter in Manitoba, and MHV can now provide for all ten of those items!

The other two exhibits are “Resurfacing: Mennonite Floor Patterns” by Margruite Krahn and “Beauty in the Ordinary” by South-East Artists. Krahn’s adaptation of what Mennonite women painted on the floors of their housebarns reminds me of the beautiful Persian rugs that filled my house while living in Central Asia. During their nomadic era, each time they stopped, wives would ask their husbands as they set up the tents if this was a longer stay that warranted rolling out the ‘flooring’. They were only truly settled when the flooring was in place. I wonder if these Mennonite women felt the same once their floor painting had dried. Take time to visit this artistic exhibit before it closes on April 1st.

pair of snowshoes outside the mhv general store
The MHV snowshoe trail provides a new way to enjoy the village grounds.

In the meantime, here is another top ten list of what you can experience while trekking on MHV’s Snowshoe Trail (total loop time is 20 minutes):

  1.  Get inspired by the festive lighting as you leave for the trail at dusk.
  2.  Go through the narrow path in the woods and into a clearing.
  3.  Cross over the pond bridge and see if the water is still running below. See if you can find any footprints of a muskrat, fox, or rabbit.
  4.  On the other side of the pond is a bench that offers a great view of our windmill. If you stay long enough, you might see the windmill head moving as the fantail always keeps it pointed towards the wind all winter long.
  5.  Cross the smaller bridge or, if the ice is thick enough, dare to cross the pond itself and see how well the snowshoe grips the ice.
  6.  Next, climb the small hill and see how great the metal claw traction on our snowshoes really is.
  7.  Get up close to the Berlin Wall and ponder how it vividly separated neighbours and loved ones.
  8.  Sit on a bench overlooking the artesian pond that runs and steams all winter long. This hidden gem is one of the most beautiful spots in south-east Manitoba.
  9.  Visit the Dirk Willems monument and remember how he saved his captor from freezing water.
  10. 10. Walk by the original Russländer Mennonite church that now glows from the inside in the evening.

Upcoming Events:

Winter in the Village, Now till March Bring your friends and family to see the festive lights at MHV! You can skate along our trail or outdoor rink. We will also rent out skates, snowshoes and kicksleds for you to try out in the village. Then end the night with some hot chocolate. Our warming hut (located at the back of the General Store) will be open for visitors.

MHV Village Books & Gifts and Galleries are open Tuesday to Saturday. Currently MHV has two new exhibits for you to enjoy: “Resurfacing: Mennonite Floor Patterns” by Margruite Krahn and “Beauty in the Ordinary” by Southeast Artists.

Winter Carnival, February 18 to 20 A weekend full of outdoor activities, including snowshoeing, skating, snow sculpting, and more! Explore winter in a replica Mennonite Village or peruse our indoor galleries to escape the cold. Witness the Village transform overnight as a dazzling light show illuminates the skating rink and trails. See our website for full details.

Pier 21 the Musical, March 18 (7pm), March 19 (3pm) This musical utilizes a blend of Celtic and swing music to tell the stories of those who fled from Europe and arrived at Pier 21 – the gateway to Canada. Witness the adventures, hopes, dreams, and heartaches of immigrants, orphans, and war brides as they navigate their arrival to this new land. Tickets are $25 and include coffee & dessert.