An Alphabet for Steinbach My Home Town

A is for Automobile City. This is Steinbach’s nickname and recognizes the city’s many car dealerships. The car my husband and I drive comes from the Honda dealer in Steinbach.

dad as a doctor at bethesda hospital in steinbachB is for Bethesda Hospital founded in 1937. My father was a doctor at Bethesda Hospital for many decades.

C is for The Carillon the local paper which has reported the news since 1946.  I have written a weekly column for The Carillon since 1985.david bergen age of hope
D is for David Bergen, the Giller Prize-winning author who used Steinbach as a setting for his book The Age of Hope.  My husband used to play basketball with David Bergen.

E is for Jake Epp, Steinbach’s first federal cabinet minister. Jake Epp was my high school history teacher. 

grace mennonite church

Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach Manitoba 

F is for Faith. Steinbach has more than 25 churches. My husband and I are former members of one of those churches, Grace Mennonite.

G is for German, the heritage language of Steinbach’s original settlers. I studied German as a second language for five years in Steinbach schools. 

H is for the Hanover School Division which is responsible for all the schools in Steinbach. My husband and I were employed as teachers by the Hanover School Division for more than thirty years.

I is for It’s Worth The Trip the now famous advertising slogan that encourages people to drive out from Winnipeg to shop and visit in Steinbach. Although we live in Winnipeg we make the trip to Steinbach several times a month to visit friends.

J is for John Diefenbaker, the Canadian Primeminister who visited Steinbach in 1958. My brother, who was 3 when my family moved to Steinbach used to call him Mr Beefinbacon.

kornelson school mural- steinbach - davey penner

Mural in downtown Steinbach of Kornelson School. 

K is for Kornelson School, the first public school in Steinbach. I attended school here in grades three and four.

L is for the public library. It opened in 1973 largely due to the efforts of Mary Barkman. I was on the board of directors of the library for several years and served as board chair for one year.

miriam toeewsM is for Miriam Toews who grew up in Steinbach and whose book A Complicated Kindness is set in Steinbach. It won the Governor General’s Award for fiction in 2004. Miriam’s father Melvin was my grade seven teacher.

N is for names. The Steinbach telephone directory has more than a 100 Reimers, 72 Barkmans, more than 100 Penners, 79 Derksens, more than a 100 Friesens and 82 Neufelds. We count many Reimers, Barkmans, Penners, Derksens, Friesens and Neufelds among our friends.

O is for ‘on the air.’ Steinbach’s radio station is CHSM 1250.  When I taught journalism at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School my students and I planned and produced a regular radio program for the station.

P is for Pete’s Inn, one of the first restaurants in Steinbach. I’ll never forget when I was 12 and my mother gave me permission for the first time to go to Pete’s Inn for a milkshake and fries after school with my friends. 

Q is for the Queen who visited Steinbach in 1970.  

R is for the Rubbernacle a tire storage building that was cleaned out and spruced up so evangelical crusades could be held there. I walked past the Rubbernacle often, but don’t ever remember going inside. This photo is of the 3000 people who turned out to see John Diefenbaker at the Rubbernacle. ( rubber- because they stored tires there- nacle– the second part of the word tabernacle and made reference to the religious crusades held there)

S is for Anna Shilstra one of Canada’s first female doctors who practised in Steinbach nearly a hundred years ago. I once wrote her life story after interviewing many people who had known her.  It was published as a special feature in The Carillon.

treble teens mosiac of music

The Steinbach Treble Teens participate in A Mosiac of Music in April of 1970- I’m the very furthest to the right standing and leaning on the door

T is for the Treble Teens a professional girls choir based in Steinbach. I sang in the Treble Teens for two years.

U is for Ukraine, the place from which most of the early Steinbach residents immigrated. My grandparents and my husband’s grandparents were born in Ukraine. In 2011 we visited their birthplaces.

V is for Vic Peters, a national curling champion who grew up in Steinbach. Vic played fastball with my husband Dave on the Steinbach Stealers team. 


Windmill on the grounds of the Steinbach Mennonite Heritage Village Museum

W is for the working windmill at the Steinbach Village Heritage Museum.  I have often visited it, watched its grinding stone in action and stood on its balcony enjoying the view. I’ve also done baking with flour from this mill.

bridge ad penner park steinbachX is for eXcellent views. Steinbach has some scenic spots. This bridge was on the route of my daily walks the last decade we lived in Steinbach. 

Y is for yummy Mennonite food you can order at MJ’s Cafe. My favourite food there is the borscht soup and farmers’ sausage perishky.

sod house or zemlin mennonite heritage village museum

We took friends from India to visit the zemlin at the museum.

Z is for zemlin a home for some of the first settlers in Steinbach. They were built partially underground and had sod roofs. There is a zemlin at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum. I’ve often been inside it and I am always surprised how cool it is in the zemlin even on a hot summer day. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like……….

Grace Mennonite Church

The Age of Hope

Kornelson School Memories

1 Comment

Filed under Canada, History

One response to “An Alphabet for Steinbach My Home Town

  1. Helena Klassen

    Really enjoyed your thoughts on the different “alphabet” interpretations and pictures. The “R” Rubbernacle, actually came much later than the tabernacle where I would go to to see “pictures” , gospel reel to reel movies of missionary work etc. This would have been late 40’s, early 50’s.


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