“I Walked Over a Bed of Red Hot Wood Coals”


Photo is of Ericka Rankin – Friesen and Myles Verigin who excitedly shared their good news of achieving an Interprovincial Red Seal in the Electrical Trade.

The grandson of my deceased brother Russel Verigin, Myles Verigin, excitedly shared his experience of being able to program his mind to withstand burning coals and walk over a strip of burning coals ten (10) feet in length.

“It all came about as I continued my personal search into the potential of my body to achieve greater heights of endurance, ” Myles explained to me.

“I was always interested in ‘feats of endurance’ that I kept hearing about and so I read a book written by Tony Robbins, ‘ Unleash the Power Within’ that took me to New York, USA to participate in a seminar held by Tony Robbins,” Myles continued.

“There were about 14,000 people at this Seminar that took four (4) hours,” Myles then brought out the following portions of the seminar not necessarily in the order that they took place:

  1. Tony Robbins was the main motivational Speaker with a large staff
  2. Groups were set up with a ‘Life Coach” who stimulated all with parts of a hypnotic speech to clear the mind, focus on the end, learn how to set up a “trigger” for the mind to concentrate and focus.
  3. There was athletic dancing, jumping and other actions to achieve deep concentration
  4. Wood fires were burning with the end objective was to create twenty-five (25 lanes of coals, about ten (10) feet long
  5. When the beds of coals were ready, the participants lined up and were questioned by their coach as to their readiness to walk the coals. The coaches had the expertise to recognize whether the person was “ready”.
  6. Those who in the opinion of coach, were not ready, were recommended to prepare themselves better and removed from the line
  7. The walk itself was about four (4) steps and took about 2 to 3 seconds
  8. Following the walk everyone walked through a pool of water
  9. Myles did not experience any discomfort

It was the experience that Myles will not forget.

The following excerpt from the internet provides some scientific explanation to “firewalking””

“……..Tolly Burkan is the founder of the Firewalking Institute of Research and Education in Twain Harte, California. He promotes himself as the creator of the U.S. fire-walking movement, which he says dates to 1977.

“I was the first person to come along and make it available to John Q. Public by offering fire-walking classes that anybody could attend,” he said.

Burkan dismisses the idea that the low conductivity of coals is a reason that fire walking is possible. As evidence, he points to an incident in which members of his institute successfully walked repeatedly on a heated metal grill without getting burned.

According to Burkan, the basic physical principle behind fire walking is the same that allows an egg to boil in a paper cup when placed atop red-hot coals. The boiling water keeps the cup at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius)—hundreds of degrees cooler than paper’s burning point.

Burkan says that circulating blood likewise keeps the flesh on a fire walker’s feet from reaching its burning point—as long as the walker is relaxed enough to allow strong blood flow and as long as the walker keeps walking.

“What controls [the ability to fire walk] is more than physics, it’s your state of mind,” Burkan said.

Willey, the Pittsburgh physicist, said such mind over matter theories have nothing to do with why fire walking is physically possible. He allows, though, that self-confidence is required to take that first step.

“You’ve got to believe you’re going to be OK, otherwise you wouldn’t do it,” he said. “But what your mind-set is has got absolutely nothing to do with whether you’re going to burn or not.”

Danforth, the Bates College anthropologist, said that scientific explanations do not “debunk or diminish or invalidate the value of the ritual.”

“[Fire walking] can have the power to affirm one’s life. It can change lives, give confidence, all kinds of things,” he said………”

This excerpt from the internet suggests that there are risks as outlined here:

“…………….Walking across hot coals is a regular feature of motivational speaker Tony Robbins’s seminars. The act is meant to symbolize overcoming fear.

But at his “Unleash the Power Within” event in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, more than 30 people were treated for burns due to the walk. Five were taken to the hospital that night, while the rest were treated on site for burns, said Jason Evans, a public information officer with Dallas Fire-Rescue, in a statement.

Dallas Fire-Rescue was dispatched to the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center on Thursday night just after 11pm, according to Evans.

Paul Gold, who sustained second-degree burns on his feet, told the Associated Press that he thought event staff didn’t wait long enough before adding more coals to the fire, resulting in the injuries.

Gold said he had participated in the walk at a previous Robbins event in Florida earlier this year and was unharmed.

Another attendee, Jacqueline Luxemberg, said the injuries occurred because people were taking selfies rather than concentrating on the walk.

“It has nothing to do with the training. It has absolutely nothing to do with Tony Robbins,” she said.

This isn’t the first time injuries occurred at a Robbins event. Nearly two dozen were burnt walking across hot coals in San Jose, California, in 2012.

Ron King, the director of the convention center, told the Dallas Morning News that Robbins had previously led events there with no incidents that he was aware of.

The organizers had the necessary permits “to conduct the operation which led to the multiple burn injuries overnight,” Evans said.

Minor blisters sometimes occur after the walk, but not serious burns, said Tad Schinke, who has worked at numerous Robbins events, to the Morning News. Participants received instructions before the walk.

Representatives for Robbins said in a statement to the Associated Press that about 7,000 people walked across the coals that night. Of those injured, five “requested any examination beyond what was readily available on site”.

“Someone not familiar with the fire walk observed the event and called 911 erroneously reporting hundreds of people requiring medical attention for severe burns,” the statement said.

Tickets to Robbins’s next “Unleash the Power Within” event in San Jose this November range in price from $650 to $2,995 a ticket, according to his website. The seminar aims to “help you unlock and unleash the forces inside that can help you break through any limit and create the quality of life you desire…………………..”

The negative reports do not daunt the positive experience that Myles had and continues to search for the powers from within.

My Readers need to understand that there are risks in many worthwhile endeavours.

Posted by Elmer Verigin 1730 hours, February 18, 2019

From: Myles Verigin [mailto:mylesrverigin@gmail.com]
Sent: February 18, 2019 2:32 PM
To: Elmer Verigin
Subject: Re:

Yes the article was very well written! It captures the event very well. I’m excited to see it up on your blog






Update on “Grandview Seniors Speak From the Ledge” a Grandview Seniors Story dated 2016/03/21

February 07, 2019

My blog entry “Seniors Speak From the Ledge” was a compilation by seven (7) members of the original Kootenay Columbia Seniors Housing Cooperative (KCSHC) to outline the success and history of the Grandview Project in Castlegar, B.C. The project experienced financial difficulty and an ad hoc committee felt that statements of fact were necessary to permit the public to understand the demise of the cooperative and allow those, who may be planning development of seniors housing, to limit any similar financial exposures.

I acted as the Project Manager for the project from 2005 to early 2014. I have no official position in the project at this time and I am merely providing this update for the benefit of those who may have interest as to where the Project is today.

I personally needed to review all this for my own perspective and closure.

A) Site Preparation

Project was started two (2) years after conceptual designs were prepared by Lubor Trubka & Associates, Vancouver, B.C. (see photos below)

Clearing of Grandview Drive looking North March 22, 2007

Grandview land clearing March 13, 2007

Grandview site grading June 06, 2007

Grandview site grading June 06, 2007

B) Discussions with City of Castlegar (CoC)

The original enquiry for zoning of the property was presented to Council by the sponsoring society the Doukhobor Cultural Association (DCA) in 2005. Comments from some Council members included :

  1. “You have to be out of your mind to think that anyone would want to live on that property located halfway to Trail!”
  2. Where would the people come from?”

C) Approval of the subdivision was in 2007. Here is the current development status (see photos):

  1. 55 seniors friendly, ground level units were proposed
    1. 47 units have been constructed, (financed by seniors) as of February 07, 2019
    2. 8 lots have been purchased by a Developer who had negotiated with the former KCSHC to construct the first stage of a 238 multi-care facility. The 8 lots are adjacent to the Chateau Grandview which was the name given to that project
  2. 57 residential lots were proposed
    1. 39 lots were sold prior to bankruptcy
    2. Balance are being sold by the Mortgager, Heritage Credit Union (HCU)
      1. Status of 11 lots is unknown but it is possible that a developer may have purchased them
    3. 41 houses constructed and occupied (as of February 07, 2019)
      1. 5 under construction
  3. 44 lot potential, phase II planned future residential subdivision
    1. KCSHC negotiated a trade with the Project Contractor, Marwest Industries Ltd., (MIL) in exchange for unpaid costs. MiL was able to complete a purchase of the land parcel with the Trustee, Moroso & Co., (M&C) with the result:
      1. 28 lot first phase is under construction
      2. Information provided by MiL is that a large portion are spoken for
  4. 13 acre reserve lot (still legally owned by KCSHC) for Supportive, Assisted and Residential Care Project they called Chateau Grandview
    1. 5 acre parcel is serviced and zoned for 205 unit project
    2. 62 unit Chateau Grandview Supportive Living Project was negotiated as a first phase of a 82 unit project. Drawings and construction estimates were completed with a Developer. Canada Mortgage & Housing (CMHC), British Columbia Housing (BCH) and Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) would not guarantee a construction loan. Take-out financing was available from three (3) mortgage firms. Further negotiations were interrupted by the bankruptcy in 2014.
    3. Drawings are available for the entire project by the Developer / KCSHC
    4. Land is under bankruptcy dated 2014, with mortgages to:
      1. $450,000, original 1st mortgage, to HCU
      2. $1,200,000, original 2nd mortgage, to 51 members of the KCSHC
    5. The status of the bankruptcy is not known (February 07, 2019) as there has not been any meetings with the Trustee since the initial one in November 2014

Perhaps the populace of a growing Castlegar have recognized that the location (despite the original opinion of some Council members) is desirable and suitable (all photos taken February 07, 2019):

Corner of 16th Avenue and Grandview Drive looking South on 16th Avenue. Residential Housing  16 th Avenue looking South into possible future Chateau Grandview site Corner of 16th and Grandview Drive looking East. Residential Housing on left side and Seniors Housing on Right Corner of 16th Avenue and Grandview Drive looking South. Seniors Housing both sides Grandview Drive looking South. Seniors Housing both sides and Chateau Grandview future possible site on right side

Grandview Drive looking North with Phase II Residential Subdivision under construction

D) Attempt to resurrect the project using Katrine Conroy NDP MLA for West Kootenay

Since the bankruptcy meeting in November, 2014, all active administration of KCSHC has ceased. There are no Directors nor any meetings of any kind as legally the KCSHC does not have any liquid assets to function as an entity.

In 2017, some of the surviving members of the original ad hoc committee approached MLA, Katrine Conroy’s office to discuss any possible method to restart the Chateau Grandview. The committee was limited to attendance of three (3) members and met with Adena Brown, Executive Assistant to Hon. Katrine Conroy, October 03, 2017 at the constituency office. Here is a brief synopsis of the event (the email record starts with the most recent email to the top of the chain):

“………From: Brown, Edena MCF:EX [mailto:Edena.Brown@gov.bc.ca]
Sent: October 26, 2017 9:01 AM
To: ‘Elmer Verigin’
Cc: ‘a-k-bigs@shaw.ca’; ‘willenstedt@yahoo.com’; ‘marilyn.verigin@shaw.ca’; ‘mqhuchet@gmail.com’; ‘nora@jukes.ca’
Subject: RE: Meeting request

Hello Elmer,

Thank you for your email.

I don’t have much to update at this point however I am continuing to work on your file. There is a backlog of requests flooding into Victoria at this time and things are slowly moving forward.

Will stay in touch.


Edena Brown, Executive Assistant to Hon. Katrine Conroy

Minister of Children and Family Development and Minister Responsible for CBT, CPC and CRT

Cell: 250-480-8627 Email: Edena.Brown@gov.bc.ca……………….”

“…………From: Elmer Verigin [mailto:emverigin@shaw.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 4:43 PM
To: Brown, Edena MCF:EX
Cc: a-k-bigs@shaw.ca; willenstedt@yahoo.com; marilyn.verigin@shaw.ca; mqhuchet@gmail.com; nora@jukes.ca
Subject: RE: Meeting request


Do you have an update on this matter?



“………………From: Brown, Edena MCF:EX [mailto:Edena.Brown@gov.bc.ca]
Sent: October 3, 2017 2:14 PM
To: ‘Elmer Verigin’
Cc: ‘a-k-bigs@shaw.ca’; ‘willenstedt@yahoo.com’; ‘marilyn.verigin@shaw.ca’; ‘mqhuchet@gmail.com’; ‘nora@jukes.ca’
Subject: RE: Meeting request

Thank you Elmer, Monique and Alden.

It was very nice to talk to you all this morning. I will work on presenting your case and will be in touch if I have any questions.


“…………………….From: Elmer Verigin [mailto:emverigin@shaw.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 11:27 AM
To: Brown, Edena MCF:EX
Cc: a-k-bigs@shaw.ca; willenstedt@yahoo.com; marilyn.verigin@shaw.ca; mqhuchet@gmail.com; nora@jukes.ca
Subject: Meeting request


Thank you for meeting with Monique, Alden and I this morning.

The rendering of the proposed Chateau Grandview is appended.

The successful Developer that we were working with was Casey Van Dongen of Tri-City Contracting Ltd from Kamloops

He had advanced to the stage of:

  1. Drawings for a total development of:
  2. Supportive Living
  3. Assisted Living
  4. Residential Care
  5. Operational contract with H & H Total Care
  6. Total dated pricing for construction and rental rates

It is our recommendation that the B.C. Government consider this “shovel ready” project to meet the local strong demand for seniors housing.

The residents at Grandview are more than prepared to work with whoever may be able to assist in advancing this project to fruition.

Should you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact those in attendance and the those that are copied on this email


After the response from Adena, October 26, 2017, there was no further responses from Katrine Conroy’s office and so I sent this email:

“……………..From: Elmer Verigin [mailto:emverigin@shaw.ca]
Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2018 8:45 AM
To: Brown, Edena MCF:EX <Edena.Brown@gov.bc.ca>; Conroy.MLA, Katrine <Katrine.Conroy.MLA@leg.bc.ca>
Cc: willenstedt@yahoo.com; marilyn.verigin@shaw.ca; mqhuchet@gmail.com; nora@jukes.ca; Alden Bigsby <allbigs@shaw.ca>
Subject: RE: Meeting request

Katrine and Edena

I am making contact on my own but sending copies to the other participants in this effort

It has been almost a year since we last heard from your offices…………………………..?????

I recall when the NDP was in opposition and how well your office did to address the Grandview seniors with promises as to the changes that would take place when the NDP would become the government

I voted for you…………………………when in the past I did not!

The awaited change in government did take place.

What did not change is the arrogance that the former Liberals had toward our Castlegar seniors and that habit accepted by the current NDP / Green Parties

On behalf of Elmer, I am very disappointed!!!!!!

Have a good day.


I admit the above email is almost ‘Trumptisized’ but this is my blog. This is the response I received from their office:

“…………………From: Conroy.MLA, Katrine [mailto:Katrine.Conroy.MLA@leg.bc.ca]
Sent: October 22, 2018 11:25 AM
To: Elmer Verigin
Subject: RE: Meeting request

Good morning, Elmer:

Just so you know Edena is Katrine’s executive assistant in her capacity as the Minister’s assistant and no longer works on constituency related matters. .  At the time of your meeting we did not know what Edena’s role was to be as an executive assistant and was clarified after that meeting.  As well,  I am a little confused by the email below………….”

So Elmer Verigin sees no point in pursuing the matter as he does not have any authority at this time to carry on a discussion that does not seem to have any interest to our MLA.

E) An interesting final comment from Elmer Verigin

In retrospect, the idea that the DCA brought forward with sponsorship of a budget of $50,000 and was later undertaken by the KCSHC was that seniors may use their assets to receive seniors accommodations with a minimal dependence on governments. Some of the challenges were that the KCSHC did not have sufficient members who understood the complicated systems that make up the development business.

I will continue to refer to original KCSHC objective of a complex (Chateau Grandview) that was to include Supportive / Assisted / Residential Care complex as Chateau Grandview for this discussion.

  1. Includes a complete serviced site (Lot 52), 1.75 ha adjacent to 16th Avenue and zoned for
    1. 82 Supportive Seniors Units
    2. 80 Assisted Seniors units
    3. 76 Residential Care Units
    4. Total 238 housing units
  2. A legally connected parcel to Lot 52 of 5.22 ha in size on the lower level that includes the original Calamida Racetrack.
    1. In about 2010, B.C. Housing approached the KCSHC to apply for funding of about 50 units built with Manufactured Housing that would serve low income families
    2. Two (2) senior officials from BC Housing attended the site with KCSHC representatives
    3. City Council was made aware of this site visit as the application would need to applied for by the Municipality
    4. City of Castlegar did not send anyone
    5. BC Housing passed on the funding to another municipality
  3. KCHSC had developed a plan with a Developer for a portion of the upper property for the 82 Supportive Seniors Units. I will show the perspective here again for clarity:
  4. An appraisal was conducted by Adrian Rizzo, AACI, P.App., of Kent – Macpherson, Kelown, B.C., dated August 18, 2011.
    1. Land value of the upper portion was $1,500,000
    2. For the proposed first phase of 62 units, this would equate to $1,500,000 / 62 = $24,673.48 per unit. (As developers call this as $24,673.46 per door)
    3. Appraisals such as this usually are conducted as part of an on-going development
    4. It can be estimated that at a total developed 1.75 ha site an estimated extrapolation would be 238 units x $24,673.48 = $5,872,288.24
    5. The profits that the KCSHC anticipated would subsidize Care units for under privileged. A dream not to come true
  5. At this time the project is in bankruptcy and the appraisals obtained by the Trustee range in the neighborhood of $700,000 far below the developed value.
  6. The KCSHC was intending to create enough capital to be able to pay its Shareholders Loans and extraneous construction cost as listed in ‘Seniors Speak From the Ledge’
  7. At this time after five (5) years since bankruptcy, I do much possibility that the second mortgage loan holders will receive any money. I also do not visualize that any Developer will foresee a Chateau Grandview development but a number of units similar to the 47 ground floor seniors units may take place.
  8. It is unfortunate that the City of Castlegar, B.C. Housing, Ministry of Health (subsidized Residential care allocation for Castlegar), CMHC, CBT cannot be assembled by our local MLA to cooperate in a solution for Chateau Grandview because the potential of this project is not recognized. Statistics Canada suggests that the market is there

This blog has been temporarily updated to February 14, 2019. by Elmer Verigin

Happy Valentines Day!



In my previous blog on “You Now I Know What It Feels to Have a Diagnosis of Cancer dated 2017/08/24”, I detailed my journey through the early stages of diagnosis of infection on the inside surface of the bladder, the surgical removal of same (TURBT) and the treatment with the same virus that Tuberculosis is effectively treated. I start this as predicted, there will be a long journey!

It was after the 12th treatment that Cancer was again detected on the inside surface of my bladder. My last blog update noted that samples were sent to the Lab for analysis but the visual diagnosis by Dr. Robinson, was that I had Cancer and a “radical” treatment would be the likelihood of further treatment.

Yesterday, January 30, 2019 was the consultation with Dr. Robinson as follows:

  1. Stage T1 which is interpreted as penetrating the Urothelium (inside lining) and entering the Lamina Propria (the next lining before the Muscle
  2. Penetration of the Muscle must be prevented as that allows the Cancer to enter the rest of the body
  3. The medical professionals cannot accurately assess the stage without radical surgery
  4. Continuing TURBT treatment will allow the Cancer a stronger foothold and is not recommended
  5. Recommended treatment is removal of the bladder and replacement with a part of my stomach.
  6. Installation of a Stoma and an ILEAL OSTOMY procedure that requires an external bag to collect urine.

Options, of course is to continue with TURBT treatments but that is not a recommendation.

The risks are the same as in any invasive surgery but the experience is that no Chemotherapy nor Radiation will be required in the follow up.

I met with my family last night and all my four children and my 57 year partner agree on this operation.

We are advising DR. Robinson to proceed with the scheduling in Trail. The alternative is the University Hospital in Vancouver where 30 operations a month take place whereas Trail has only 2 a month. We all felt the attending Doctor is local and the follow up issues can be facilitated easier here in the Kootenays.

The operation is expected in March 2019.

Of course, I have a nervousness about this which is normal but I understand that there is an organization of Bladder Cancer patients in Canada that I can contact for information and support.

I will keep you posted.

January 30, 2019 0805 hours

February 08, 2019

Dr. Robinson called ne yesterday with the results of my CT Scan February 06, 2019

“You do not show any spread of Cancer as I noted from my visual diagnosis. All cancer is concentrated within you Bladder. good News!”

That was very comforting and I thanked him for calling.

So now I need to continue with the process of programming myself to accept whatever will come with the operation and accept a major change in my life. This is a personal journey and cannot be borrowed nor can it be shared. People come and tell me that they “understand how I feel” but this really does not help me but in fact I find it stressful. I wish people would just leave the conversation o “i wish you a successful operation and a speedy recovery.” that would suffice and be more comfort.

I still find it strange that I am confronted with all this but, I feel that I am rising to the occasion each day. I need my collection strength in body and soul and I know that is will get through it so that I can contribute more to this world and make it a better place for all.

1150 hours, February 08, 2019

Dr. Robinson mailed me a requisition for Lab Work. I took this today, February 12, 2019 at the Castlegar Hospital Clinic.

1510 hours, February 12, 2019


As of December 13, 2018

From the Owl:

Having a bath circa 1942 in house where I was born, eight (8) miles NE of Canora, near the former Phoneix country school

There has been so much excitement around the Verigins that we have a difficult time keeping everything in perspective. We have another grandchild wedding to attend in August 2019 and we are preparing to receive another two (2) great grand children to add to the three (3) healthy great grandsons. What a treat…we spoil them rotten and their parents can take them home to discipline them. All our grand children have significant others except our youngest Macy and she is not admitting to anything.

Marilyn and I still have difficult saying “NO” and still get involved which only means that we cannot retire from good purposes. We find that the second and third generations are leading the way and we hobble along and try to keep up.

The Baunya is operational at Whatshan Lake Retreat. It was my last “Dirty Hands Project” but very enjoyable as the younger generations impressed us with their commitment to volunteer.

Here we are having a “beer break”. The People Counter from the Expo ’86 Egyptian Pavilion is tracking all Users. You need to come to Whatshan Lake Retreat and see it for yourselves.

We are patiently waiting for Water Rights to approve our Bulk Water Licence so that we can complete our zoning application. Our pure water sales are intended to facilitate needed programs that are in the planning stages.

From the Pussycat:

Pussycat standing on bank behind her current house (circa 2012) at 145-4200 Grandview Drive, Castlegar, B.C.

On December 23, we will be celebrating 57 years of wedded bliss (???)


Wedding for Pussycat, Marilyn and Owl, Elmer at the Marigold in Saskatoon, December 23, 1961 with beloved sister Mary and brother-in-law John Khadekin in background

. Over these years we made 64 trips to see our beloved families and friends in Saskatchewan. As we leave the mountains, we look at each other, knowing that the skies will open up and we will pass through Alberta (blue??) and then travel down the country roads take us back ‘home’.


Dinner at the Blue Diamond, in Saskatoon, July 2018 with former Saskatoon Doukhobor Youth. Left to right: Dorthy and Mitch Ozeroff, Elmer, Betty Kabatoff, Ruth and John Sirota, Olive Epp, Marilyn, Donna Hunchak and Edna Wright.

Neither of us could choose as to which home we like best. We love them both, the people we know and have known are all responsible for making us the people we are today.

 Last Supper Doukhobor Cultural Association (DCA) November 2018

Our hearts are overflowing with the feelings and ideas we have exchanged with each and every person we have been in contact with. Not always has there been mutual understanding of topics at hand but there has been an understanding that each opinion must be heard and respected.

These are lessons that must be passed on to future generations to attain the elusive ‘World of PEACE’ we so desperately seek.

Enjoy the remaining days of 2018 and the beginning of the New Year.

Till we meet again!

Elmer and Marilyn





Standard Doukhobor Greetings directed to Listeners, by Ensemble at BCC, led by Michael Kanigan (responses will take place on receiving end and not audible)

Elmer Verigin begins:

“:……..We welcome our friend, Jonathan Kalamakoff, to our Prayer Circle here at Brilliant Cultural Center in the Kootenays.

I also wish to welcome members of Jonathan’s family:

  • Daughters Katherine (Katya), Emily (Milya) and son Jake (Yasha) at home with Jonathan
  • Father Larry Kalmakoff and partner Oney Pollock in Canora
  • Sisters Janna Kalmakoff in Squamish and Carrie Kalmakoff in Calgary

These participants before you, consist of the Kootenay Mens Choir, those who travelled to Veregin in 2017, as well as others who have just completed a Moleniya at the Brilliant Cultural Center earlier today.

Medical Professionals already know the power of Prayer in the healing process. Scientists are now convinced that there is a particle in every atom that directs its activity. Cell Biologists have also recognized that each of our cells actually communicate with Quantum Physics and therefore agree that there is a God. So it appears that all Religions and Science are finally together on the existence of God.

There never was any doubt amongst Doukhobors as to existence and powers of God and so they say:

Где есть Любовь, есть Бог (Where there is Love, there is God)

We have an abundance of Love in this room today.

I now will ask the assembled group to hold hands in what we will call a “ flat circle”

Jonathan, you may want to the same with whoever is with you in Regina, with your TV set and our ensemble completing your Prayer Circle.

Those in other parts can duplicate.

We are essentially enabling our collective spiritual strength, today, to be transmitted to you, Jonathan, on your continuing journey to receive a compatible kidney and a successful operation to a complete recovery. We ask God in Jesus’s Name, to assist you.

Individual members will recite six (6) psalms and followed by our ensemble singing a psalm, Lord’s Prayer Ochi Nosh and a hymn, My God is a Mountain Мой Бог Скала

You may close your eyes and permit the transmission of our vibrations and love to your entire self so that we are joined together in body and spirit.

I will now return to my place so that the circle will not be broken and we will begin………….”

  • (Three (3) men followed by three (3) women will recite individual psalms
  • The choir knows who the last Reciter is followed by
  • The Lord’s Prayer is started by the appointed member and sung by the choir followed by reciting in unison
  • The appointed person then starts Мой Бог Скала)

Elmer then steps out and:

“…………We have provided you with our spiritual message so that it may add to your positive mind and resolve to complete your personal journey successfully.With the love and support of your family, this challenge will be overcome…………

“…………..мы просим Бога о вашем хорошем здоровье (We request that God provides you with good health)

Пока мы встретимся снова (We will see you soon) ……………..”

Presented via bcc uscc You Tube at 1450 hours, Sunday, December 09. 2018

Updated by Elmer Verigin 0825 hours PST, Saturday, December 11, 2018

On Mon, Dec 10, 2018 at 11:36 PM Elmer Verigin <emverigin@shaw.ca> wrote:


We were all very much wrapped up in this spiritual effort

On behalf of all of us, The best to you!


Sent from my iPhone On Dec 10, 2018, at 7:37 PM, Jonathan Kalmakoff <jon.kalmakoff@gmail.com> wrote:


A deep bow and my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who cared enough and took the time to participate in the wonderful prayer circle yesterday, and you in particular, for all the time and energy that undoubtedly went into organizing this. As my children and I watched and prayed along, here in Regina, we could feel your presence among us, despite the vast distance. My daughters were very moved by this show of community support, and I myself feel truly spiritually refreshed.  Thank you for sharing the Doukhobor message of love, peace and hope, and for including us in the broader Canada-wide Doukhobor community!!!

Please feel free to share this with the other choir members, if you so choose.





Stories that have taken place with my friends keep drifting through my head from time to time and so I will recount this funny one that Walter Demoskoff told me.

Walter was a Logger that took him away from his family. He would leave Sunday night to return the Friday afternoon.

This particular Friday in midsummer was very hot. Walter liked cold beer and so he arrived home and took his beer down the basement to relax. He had no air conditioning and decided to strip right down to cool off.

His children ran into the house, screaming “a bear, a bear is in our yard, Dad something!”

So Walter ran up the stairs and grabbed an axe that was just in the porch. As he said after, “I had no idea what to expect and my immediate reaction was that I should have something to protect myself.”

“Where is the bear?” he called out to his children.

“Out by the Baunya” they pointed in that direction.

He admitted that it may have been a fool thing to do but at the time I was thinking of my family’s safety and off he went to the Baunya.

” I was coming around one end of the Baunya and the bear was coming from the other end and we were both were surprised to meet. I hollered while raising my axe as I was going to retreat. The bear obviously never saw a naked man with an axe before and we both retreated to opposite ends,” Walter recalled.

” I recovered slightly and decide to go to house not realizing that the bear was going the same direction as my dog Jeb started barking and scared the bear up a tree. I decided that the cold beer was waiting for me and cautioned the children to stay back and let the bear escape and went back to my beer.”

“Jeb thought that it was his responsibility to guard the yard and sat on his haunches to bark at bear. This carried on into the night making sleep an impossibility. Jeb barked until he went hoarse and I thought that would be the end of it.”

“Bill Voykin’s dog came from next door to continue the vigil and barking”

“At early dawn, I sleepily took my chainsaw from the back of my pickup and decide to fall the tree so the bear could get away. I neglected to do my normal looksee and sure enough, the tree fell on another and became a ‘leaner'”

“So I proceeded to fall the other tree and both fell downhill away from my house. The trees were about 60 feet high and so as the bear crawled out from the branches, he looked back at me and I swear he waved with his front paw as if to thank me and say goodbye.”

“I automatically waved back and watched him walk away.”

And so this is a story about my friend Walter and a bear.

Walter and his good wife Ann are both deceased now.

The incident happened about 1975.

Written by Elmer Verigin December 03, 2018



The surviving members of the Doukhobor Cultural Association (DCA) met at the Sandman Inn, Castlegar, B.C., to socialize and bid adieu to each other.

Extreme left to right clockwise:

    1. Joe Podovinikoff (back to photo)
    2. Betty Zarikoff
    3. Irene Tamelin
    4. Mary Picton
    5. Kathy Popoff
    6. Ann Zibin
    7. Lawrence Popoff
    8. Marilyn Verigin (standing)
    9. Wanita Hunter-Oglow (Caterer, standing)
    10. Pat Picton
    11. Elmer Verigin (standing)
    12. Fred Chursinoff (standing)
    13. Dorothy Dergousoff (standing)
    14. Molly Konkin
    15. Nellie Kerieff
    16. Ann Chursinoff
    17. Bill Voykin
    18. Paris Voykin (photographer)

Sunday, November 18, 2018, marked 50 years since the Doukhobor Cultural Association was established. It is also a few years since it has disbanded.

17 surviving members met for a dinner organized by Ann Zibin and Marilyn Verigin to share memories at the Sandman Inn.

I want to thank all those who were members over the years that successfully proved that if people listen to each other, hear and understand what is being said that equal representatives from the three Doukhobor groups in 1968, could live and work together.

We also learned how to have fun together!

Achievements are:

  1. Full development of 48 seniors units in Delta, B.C., with local interested people
  2. Full development of 10 seniors units at Rosewood Manor in Castlegar, B.C.
  3. Assisted In development of 28 seniors units at Parkside Villa in Grand Forks, B.C.
  4. Assisted in development of the Doukhobor Village in Castlegar, B.C.
  5. Development of Whatshan Lake Retreat at Edgewood, B.C., and establishing the Doukhobor Heritage Retreat Society #1999 (See Miracle at Whatshan in my blog)
  6. Funding of feasibility study and organization of the Kootenay Columbia Seniors Cooperative and start construction of over 100 housing units at Grandview Housing in Castlegar, B.C. (See Seniors Speak from the Ledge in my blog)
  7. Green City “Functions”
  8. Contributing funds to The Castlegar Hospital and Hospice
  9. Many other contributions too numerous to list here
  10. They also took a course at Selkirk College in parliamentary procedures and successful association so that all members learned how to Chair and handle an organization successfully

I am proud to have been associated with such a group that have now moved into the sunset.

You have made this place a better place with your efforts

Thank you!

Posted November 29, 2018 by Elmer Verigin

Those who may be interested to know more about the DCA may search my blog for reports and other articles on this society.


Whatshan End of Summer Music Festival September 29, 2018

Just thought I should post my reflections on this event last weekend.

The Society Rental Coordinator, Nona Kucher, Jim Laktin, President and myself, Elmer Verigin, Past President of the Doukhobor Heritage Society #1999, attended a local event at the Whatshan Lake Retreat.

It was billed, as the “last weekend of summer music festival” but it was more than that, it was a successful local entertainment event. It was a great pleasure meeting friends from the past and new faces that I had the opportunity to meet for the first time. Smiles by everyone and some great concession stands with great food. I do hope that some of these with consider future events including the Whatshan Jam in the second weekend of July 2019. Yes, 2019 will be a twenty (20) year celebration of when the project was dedicated to society in July of 1999.

Many of the Musicians were part of a local group that would prepare “pot luck” entrees in 1998 and 1999, and come to the Retreat building under construction and to lift the spirits of the volunteers who were building at that time. There amongst the piles of drywall, insulation and tools, we ate and then the music would start. I recall “Banjo” singing up a storm with his rendition of “Seven Spanish Angels” with a definitive Hank Snow twang. Bill Penner and many more would round off the spontaneous program.

They all never really understood what encouragement it was to those who had travelled from far on that building program. Kudus to all of you!

Many local entertainers made the day and evening enjoyable with donations to the Edgewood Fire Department. I was especially impressed with the volunteers who prepared the Pancake Breakfast. Definitely, very professional and those would missed it are forever handicapped (healthwise, I mean).

Thank you very much to Dean and Patti Taylor who did much to organize this event and the Society is very appreciative of your efforts far and beyond your Care-Taking duties at the Retreat.

Note that Rodeo, Taylor’s ‘watch dog’ made friends with Nona right away and was much relaxed by the music.

It was great to see Bob on stage and happy to see his healthy face. Thank you also, to Bill Penner, our first Care-Taker and long time volunteer, to come and say hello.

Bob Baker brought the Gingersnap Lady out and I was disappointed that she didn’t bring a bag of ‘snaps’ out. I am sure that Larry noticed that too! Yes Bob, the bunkbeds that Bill and you constructed and donated to Cabins 6 through 8 inclusive, are still performing as they were intended. Thank you very much!

A lot of hugs with Karen and Judy (I hope Bill and Orville understand). They say what happens in Whatshan stays in Whatshan but at Whatshan people are old-fashioned with their appreciation of each other and we do not need CNN to dictate what we can do in normal lives.

I understand that I missed a great dance and music within the Retreat on Saturday Night. Please understand that my “candle does not burn as long as it used to”!

Then perhaps, the Baunya steam bath with Jim may have compromised my stamina. The report that Jim gave us was that it was a great event and well attended.

I look forward to this fund raiser taking place next year and I hope that it was as financially successful as it was socially.

Thank you all!


October 01, 2018


Delivered at Whatshan Lake Retreat 1100 Hours, Saturday, September 22, 2018 by Elmer Verigin

I was sulking in my construction trailer at Elkford B.C., that late August day in 1973 when I heard a gentle knock on the door. Not expecting anyone as I had just arrived from Cranbrook with devastating news from the Federal Business Development Bank, that I had loan approval for $700,000 to build a Shopping Center and Hotel for a budget that needed a minimum of $850,000.

I opened the door, not knowing what to expect and hoping that whoever was there would not notice that I had been crying. Yes grown men do cry!

“My name is Larry”, the slightly built man introduced himself. “I heard that you are planning on a major construction project here and I want to be part of it!”

“Well I had planned on doing that but my financing is not even 75% of my needs so I think I am folding my tent, so to speak, and leaving town,” I thought I might as well be honest.

“Well you have not received our price on steel studs, insulation, drywall, T-Bar ceilings and stucco so how can you make such a decision,” obviously this man was not going to be brushed off too easily,

The story that followed became a Verigin and Sapriken Brothers commercial association that lasted many years and survived many projects where the two families, blessed with top of the line Tradesmen performed at the peak of their capabilities. What was thought to be a failed project, developed into an apartment being added to the original hotel and shopping center, that required eight (8) truckloads of drywall and completed in the Spring of 1974.

Later, this included projects throughout the Kootenays and a major school for the First Nations in Nelson House Manitoba.

Figure 1 Edna Sapriken

                                   Figure 2 LARRY SAPRIKEN

When Larry and Edna moved to Slocan Park, B.C., with their young family of two daughters and two sons, they became members of the Doukhobor Cultural Association (DCA). In Figure 1 Edna smiles at us and in Figure 2 Larry is contemplating his next move at one of the DCA Socials. DCA photos have since been censored!


Larry was always ready to participate and be “part of the crowd”. At DCA Socials, he would bring out his humour and we now see him participate in a fashion show and was caught in a dress of all things. Larry had great legs and we could say very “leggy” and hard to tell him apart from the females in the line up as in Figure 3

Figure 4 Marilyn Verigin, Bill Voykin, Elmer Verigin, LARRY SAPRIKEN and Lawrence Popoff               .

In 1981, the DCA decided to purchase 204 acres at Whatshan lake, near Edgewood, B.C. Larry and Edna willingly committed themselves to be part of a loan of $150,000 with twelve other DCA couples. The Demoskoffs spear-headed a selective logging initiative to repay the loan. Later in 1995, 50% of the DCA decided to form the Doukhobor Heritage Retreat Society #1999 (DHRS #1999). Larry was on site with part of the group in Figure 4, discussing the project and just how it would be orientated. It was decided to build a Retreat that would be available to anyone who had need to use same for peaceful purposes.

Figure 5 LARRY SAPRIKEN and Walter Demoskoff

Construction started with a typical Whatshan Redi-mix concrete operation with donated cement and Doukhobor muscle and sweat as shown here with Larry and Walter mixing concrete for the Retreat foundations in Figure 5. There were many volunteers who came from the DHRS #1999. Volunteers drove their own vehicles, brought their own food. Volunteers cooked the food and we all ate communally. It was quite an experience and perhaps the traditional Doukhobor ways were being relived by those who participated.


Here is Larry clowning in Figure 6 with formwork just removed from the foundation in 1996.

We learned to put a bit a humour into our work so we could look forward to the challenges ahead of us. We also made sure that we enjoyed the evenings.


Larry loved his coffee (when there was no beer) and enjoyed having breaks as often as that was possible. In Figure 7, he is in his familiar pose, legs crossed and coffee in his right hand. It is obvious he just arrived as his favorite hat is still on and he has not removed his jacket yet.

Figure 8 Elmer Verigin and LARRY SAPRIKEN

A temporary kitchen was constructed just to the left of the existing BCH power transformer where a wood stove provided the kitchen base. It was never known whether two (2) volunteers would show or at times, there were thirty-five (35). Somehow the lady volunteers would gather the food that came with the volunteers and would create a feast enjoyed by all. Here in Figure 8, Larry is enjoying a break with beer in hand with a background of burning brush from the clearing just completed for the septic tank, field and Stage.

Figure 9 LARRY was here!

The Whatshan Kitchen was equipped with pots and pans and here was even a mirror for the ladies to check whether their hair was done right. Larry again showed humour by hanging a heart with his name just above the mirror in Figure 9.

Figure 10 LARRY with Lawrence Popoff

The men also cooked. Here Lawrence Popoff and Larry pitch in and help out in their speciality dishes. The ladies did not seem to mind and gladly moved over to let the guys do their thing. Obviously Larry is very serious about what he is about to prepare as he wields his knife in Figure 10. Nothing was ever thrown out as there were too many hungry customers. There was always more food brought than we were able to consume.


Not always was there enough light as there was no electricity till 1999. So Larry is sitting here using a flashlight to follow instructions of some sort in Figure 11. Could it be his secret menu?

There were all forms of accommodation including pickup trucks, truck campers. tent trailers and Recreational Vehicles as noted in Figure 12. Yes, Lawrence and Larry were taking a break from the hard work.

Figure 12 LARRY SAPRIKEN with Larry Popoff

Trees were sawn into timbers and trusses for the Retreat Center were designed and constructed. These eight (8) supporting roof members required steel gusset plates on either side of the center truss chord. This meant that a 1 1/2 horse power drill was needed to predrill for the 1,350 bolts that were required to assemble them all. Larry would light a cigarette and start drilling which took a few minutes.


Unfortunately (as in Figure 13), the holes in the second steel plates were not aligned and the drill bit would grab that and jar Larry awake. The ashes would fall off his cigarette and Larry’s cap would fall off. there were always a few words that were uttered that were not always understood. Depending on the time of the day, they could be in either Russian or English or a combination of both.


               Figure 14 A Larry                                          Figure 14 LARRY SAPRIKEN

Larry was there when the first structural component was raised above the Retreat Foundation. Here Larry was busy securing the anchor bolts after which he gace the post a big hug.  Larry’s specialty was drywall. in Figure 14, he demonstrates how a round post (his love) can be fire-proofed.


Larry is on the scaffold finishing the ceilings in the Retreat Center in Figure 15. There were many pails of mud mixed and joints to be sanded.

His special project was the Bandshell that was designed by the Acoustics Specialist, Anton Neidersteiner. every detail was followed with the expertise Larry learned at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.

Figure 16 Fred Chursinoff and LARRY SAPRIKEN

Larry is on the Retreat Roof in Figure 16, completing the fireplace chimney cap with Fred Chursinoff.

There were very few jobs that Larry did not participate in to complete the project.

Figure 17 Lawrence Popoff, Fred Chursinoff, Elmer Verigin, LARRY SAPRIKEN, Walter Demoskoff and Bill Voykin

This assembly of the regular crew that was responsible for much of the construction at Whatshan is shown in figure 17. What was amazing and very heartwarming to see all these people just present themselves to get the job done. There was no complaints that someone was not doing their share. They just pitched in and did it.

Larry was one of those that started doing a job and those who were looking for something to do were welcomed to join him.

Larry was “part of the gang”, you might say, and enjoyed that role.

Some of the missing men in this photo were Alex Markin, Russel Verigin, Lawrence Verigin, Lawrence Tamelin and Philip Konkin.

Many times I heard the comments from the Volunteers “if had to die at sometime, then I would prefer that took place at Whatshan Lake Retreat. At the time of this writing (September 14, 2018), the following have passed on from the photo : Larry Sapriken, Walter Demoskoff as well the missing men from the photo.

Figure 18 Ann Zibin, Russel Verigin, LARRY SAPRIKEN and Lawrence Popoff

The Retreat Center was in the finishing stage, with the kitchen in place. Visitors come to inspect and complete deficiencies as in Figure 18.. Again, Larry is clowning around.

At one time a question was asked “why are we doing this?”

The best answer was “why not?”

There was a story about this Philosophy Professor who set a final examination for his class.

The class prepared the best they could and arrived at the appointed date and time.

The examination was passed out with one question on the full page: “Why”?

The students started feverishly writing long essays to try and capture the intent of the Professor and provide their answer. One student completed the three (3) hour paper in fifteen minutes and handed it in.

The other students thought that this looked like a failing student. His was an “A” mark, in the opinion of his Professor, as he wrote “Why Not?”

Perhaps that is the story on Whatshan as that was Larry’s philosophy that was accepted by those who participated with him.

Fifteen (15) Carpenter Apprentices from J. Lloyd Crowe High School demonstrate their appreciation of Larry and the special Carpentry “Tricks” that he had showed them. They built this “special CANTINA” for Larry.

Figure 19 Lawrence Popoff

Lawrence Popoff sits there with a sad look on his face in Figure 19. “So why was I just a Tin Basher and not a Carpenter as I could had this built for me instead of Larry.”

We spent many hours with Larry, exchanging philosophical views on life in general. He expressed a wish that his family would learn to love Whatshan Lake Retreat as he did. Many of us in the DHRS #1999, obviously felt the same. Today I see Larry’s family here and his dream has become a reality. Nobody should try to predict the future but who knows where it will take us.

Here are some humorous stories that took place at Whatshan.

In the evenings, a bonfire would be built as there never was a shortage of wood. At this fire some liquid spirits would be consumed and various debates would be argued. One such debate was whether the North Star moved across the sky.

To prove Russel Verigin’s opinion, that the North Star was stationary, a four (4) foot 1 x 2 was nailed to a tree and carefully pointed at the North Star. Everyone could align themselves along the 1 x 2 and the pointed end was fully directed at the North Star. No matter when anyone looked, the result was the same, they saw the North Star.

A few days later, another bonfire needed stoking to encourage a flame and so Fred Chursinoff ripped the 1 x 2 from the tree and stoked the fire. Larry became infuriated and wrestled the 1 x 2 from Fred and immediately aligned it back on the tree so that the Whatshan Astronomy lesson could stay intact.

The end that Larry used to align the 1 x 2 had soot on it and so Larry’s eye was blackened. Of course everyone could see that as he returned to the now burning bonfire and started laughing. Only Larry did not laugh as he could not understand the joke.

The empathy that Larry imparted around him was especially understood by the animals. We watched as Larry patiently befriended a few Chipmunks. When he moved to Campsite 6, the Chipmunks seemed to follow him. On many occasions we would find a Chipmunk eating a peanut on Larry’s knee. To this day, there is a sign posted on the tree “Slow Chipmunks Crossing.”

One day Larry invited me to have Bean Soup with him at his Camper. I am not fond of Bean Soup and I waved my hand only to have the invitation repeated more seriously. “Elmer, this is my special recipe”, he called out.

Not to offend Larry, I finally settled down to a bowl. Well I ended up having two (2) helpings. “Where, did you learn to make this soup?” I asked, “it is the most delicious I have ever tasted!”

“Aggazzi”, was his response. Larry and spent many hours, with me, when he shared his experiences from the controversial incarceration time in his life. What was most educational to me was that he never once complained about it but just accepted it as part of the Journey of his Life.

This has been a lengthy story about Larry but so it has been a long time that I knew him. There is no question that I can sum it all up by saying that “I knew a great Soul”!

They say in the Rotary Club “that we are all sent here to Earth and rented a space, check from time to time that your rent is paid.”

Larry’s rent has a credit in his audit!

If we listen carefully, to the rustling leaves, we will hear Larry. If we feel the soft touch of the wind on our faces, it will only be Larry whose presence at Whatshan Lake Retreat is eternal.

Elmer Verigin

September 14, 2018

Credit is hereby noted to Lawrence Popoff who was the perennial and faithful photographer of the DCA and DHRS #1999 projects and socials. Thank you Lawrence. Thank you alos to Marilyn Verigin for editing

On September 13, 2018 I forwarded a draft of this Writing to Lisa Poznikoff, daughter of Larry for comment so that I could post it in my blog. I have her approval to do so.

On September15, 2018. Lisa advised that she had read this story to her mother, Edna, and she liked it.

On September 19, 2018, the pictures were substituted for JPEG to insert into my Blog. Other pictures were added along with comments


July has been historically, a travelling and visiting month for us. This year as with the last 19 years, we took in the celebrations at Whatshan Jam (July 8-10) where our entire family was present that included all four children and their spouses and nine grandchildren with their respective significant others. Our Pro Golfer grandson was on tour and could not attend.

2018 Whatshan Jam photos:


Our three great grandsons managed to be dancing front and center by the stage

Yes they were dancing there until their parents pulled them away so that they would not be trampled.

There were over 400 people in attendance, the largest crowd yet!

We returned home to repack, take in doctor’s appointments and were able to leave at noon July 11, 2018 for Benito, Manitoba on our 54th trip through the prairies.

About Cranbrook, I checked my cell phone and noted four missed calls from Jim Laktin. Thinking something, serious was taking place from the newly elected President of the the Doukhobor Heritage Retreat Society #1999 (Whatshan Lake Retreat), I decided to call. All he wanted to know was when we were passing through Lethbridge that day as he was in the area delivering 13,000 pounds of cherries to the Hutterite communities. We were destined for Medicine Hat as our half point to Benito, but friendship is precious and we decided to see the new truck that Jim had purchased and this was his first run. Here is Jim and his truck in his new venture as he readies for his franchise marketing Hutterite Chickens for all of British Columbia from  the High River Colony.

Jim was unable to attend the Whatshan Jam as he was qualifying for his “Air Ticket” so he could drive this truck. It was great hearing all about his new venture and bringing him up to date on Whatshan Lake Retreat. Of course it took a “few” Scotches to get the entire story out.

We parted the next morning and arrived in Benito (of course for dinner) to sister Mary Khadekin’s house, a little late but the hospitality was all the same. We enjoyed visiting with nephew Kenneth who drove down from Swan River. We were updated on the challenging integrated high school system which is always interesting. His dog Shane would first shove a ball under the chesterfield and then crawl under to get it out. Wish I had him to help me eradicate the Voles in my garden!

After a day’s rest we were invited to spend time with friends Mitch and Dorthy Ozeroff and Sonia Tarasoff at Yorkton Saturday night. There are no handicapped hotel rooms near Veregin to accommodate Mitch’s needs and so we were eager to spend time with these dear long friends and get caught up on all those important Doukhobour matters and of course the laughter about old times when Keith was still part of our close-knit gang.

On Sunday we attended Moleniya at the National Doukhobor Heritage Village at 0930 hours. It is always a spiritual experience as the building erupted with Doukhobor hymn singing again as it has since 1917.

The famous Blini brunch followed with all the toppings. Mouth watering still! Then an entertainment session followed the break with a “Saskatchewan” Choir that was augmented with three singers from British Columbia. It was nice to sing together in the spirit of Heritage Day.

Part of the entertainment in the afternoon was provided by “professional” Comedians, Nadia Rebin on the left as ‘Matrusha’ and Gloria Stushnoff on the right as ‘Trunia’ (they keep changing their pseudo names for security) with their incredible Russian and Ukrainian accents as they discussed world events and those everyday issues that house wives have to deal with.

They then picked on me for a bit before making a surprise commeneration of ’54th trips to Saskatchewan’ mandelions created by Sonia Tarasoff.

We then boarded a bus that started a tour of the early 1900s, 57 communal villages, including the original center of the Doukhobour Communities, Otradniya. The narration was provided by historian Jonathan Kalmakoff who listed the original family names in each village and an account of the animal and material assets that they accumulated along with the lands cultivated on the virgin lands from occupancy to a date a few years later. Very well done!

We also toured some of the cemeteries with the original Tolstoy near Otradniya Village. These two ladies from British Columbia were on the tour

Liz Poznikoff, Curator Doukhobor Discovery Center in Castlegar and Natasha Jmaiff, Translator Doukhobor Pslams, posed at the well kept cemetery.

Just South of Tolstoy and between the Otradniya Village is an unmarked burial place of Peter Verigin (Hospoidnee) mother as well as the well respected Elder Dedushka Mahortoff. It was in the middle of a farmer’s crop and we did not feel appropriate to trample the crop to get access to it.

We then went to the Nadozda Cemtery when the Doukhobor hero, Metvei Lebedev is buried. We sang part of Speetya Orlee Bayaweya as a tribute to the one who led a group of young soldiers to fix their bayonets and stick into the parade ground That Easter in 1895 at a military outpost, declaring that they objective to any act of war against their fellow men and could serve the Russian Army no more. We closed our eyes and could almost hear clearly, the account of that event by Dr. Fred Strukoff in 2005 as he described the scene and the obvious fear in those courageous young men who knew the result of their action, would be lashes that would be their penalty for daring to disobey the Czar.

This event precipitated the Burning of Arms in 1895 and the eventual migration to Canada by the Doukhobors in 1899 from religious persecution in Russian (now Georgia).

Later, we attended a Shishliki Feast at my cousin Peter Verigin’s original farm, a 1/2 mile West of the Tolstoy School Community Center. We were delighted to have my nephew, Tim, the host, his son Tanner (now works at a bank in Norway), Barb Trofemenkoff, (wife of Randy (nephew), who was unfortunately on a fishing trip), Dan (nephew) and Adeline Horcoff, Jason (nephew) and Marcella Morozov. Barry and Nadia Rebin, Gary (nephew) and Lorna Trofemenkoff and a couple (I cannot remember their names), Jack Chernoff, my sister Mary Khadekin and son Kenneth with Marilyn and I. It was a typical Feast with much baking and specialities only available in Saskatchewan.

I am still upset that I never took a picture of this gathering as it would have been a treasure. I must have started imbibing too early?

We decided to go visiting the next day (Monday) and see whoever we could. I wanted to see my old friend and University friend, Dr. Bill Chernoff but he was back in Fredricton attending to some health issues and would be back the following Sunday. Jack, his brother and Bill (after retiring as University Professors) farm their the original grandfather’s homestead along with additional farms purchased since. They talk about setting up a heritage farm for tourism as they still have one farm that has never been cultivated and remains in its original state. Too bad I was unable to see Bill!

We were able to find a number of people at the New Horizons having coffee at 0800 hours. I recognized some and will mention, Ken Bloudoff, __?__ Kazakoff, Sid Relkoff and his workman, Barry and Nadia Rebin and others. A very cheerful and enthusiastic bunch that have raised funds to totally renovate the New Horizons Center including kitchen and adjacent hall. They raise money by making and selling pergies as well as apply for grants. Very well done!

We continued in Veregin, to the home of Gary and Lorna Trofemenkoff and were well received at their house in Veregin

That is Gary on the left with Lorna, Marilyn and sister Mary Khadekin. In some of the discussions, we heard that their daughter is now a graduate Chemical Engineer and their son has been doing some research into their family history which includes the first Business Manager and Vice-President of the Doukhobor Community Office in Veregin, M. W. Kazakoff (MWK). It was interesting that I had a brief mention of this person in Veregin Story 2017 but as parts of the research now being undertaken, we were told that MWK heard that the City of Boston was considering construction of large Storm and Sanitary Sewers in the early 1900’s. MWK travelled to Boston, was able to demonstrate to the City Crews, sewer construction with bricks manufactured at the Veregin Brick Factory. He ultimately was able to sell many carloads of brick which financially assisted the fledgling Doukhobor community. An incredible story indeed!.

We then travelled to the Kamsack Lodge to visit with my first cousin Florence (nee Verigin) Tromfemenkoff, the mother of Gary, Randy, Wayne and Sidney.

Florence is next to Mary from the right with sister Mary and myself. She just wants to go home to the farm that Michael and her took over from his parents John Trofemenkoff. Unfortunately, living alone in her aging condition is not safe for her and so her children moved her into the Lodge. Much of her conversation was “I just do not like it here!”

We passed a neighboring room and had a voice shout “Elmer” and there he was Cliff Paluck visiting his cousin Allan who also resides in this seniors home.

We drove around the main street of Kamsack and this building caught my eye as my Son-in-law Rick Woodhoues (nicknamed ‘Woody’) and my daughter Lori just sold their house and I thought I would send the family this photo, suggesting that perhaps Rick has invested his wealth in Kamsack now??

We drove to the farm of Dan and Adeline Horkoff but they were away and we missed them. So we stopped by the Ice Cream Center in Kamsack for our usual craving.

The next morning we met Peter and Lydia Cherkas at the Prairie Bakery in Kamsack for coffee. We were treated by a discussion with Gerald Bennike, a retired School Teacher and author of the Promised Land. This is a very interesting book, as he intertwines his mother’s Makoroff family (starting at Irkust, Siberia) and his Mennoite father originating in the USA and migrating to Veregin. A worthwhile read.

We reluctantly left at 1000 hours with a destination of the First Klass Auctions on Whitney Avenue, Saskatoon, an operation by Marilyn’s Nephew Jeff, Tracey and family.


Marilyn’s cousins Elaine (nee Maloff) Derkachenko and Donna (nee Maloff) Henderson joined us at the auction while the next photo shows Jeff Verishine keeping tabs on the sales. Yes, Marilyn bought some ‘Depression Glass’.

We followed Jeff and Tracey to their new house on the farm that Alex and Helen Verishine IMarilyn’s father and mother) farmed into retirement about 40 miles NE of Saskatoon.


Firstly, the sunrise as witnessed at the farm. It starts an hour before the sun peeks over the horizon. It is little wonder that the Indians always orientated their dwellings so the entry door faced the rising sun. Sun-rises in British Columbia are compromised as it usually has mountains on either side of it.

The barn on this farm is where I followed my future father-in-law, Alex J. Verishine, as I got enough courage to ask him for his daughter Marilyn’s hand back in April 1961. He looked at me with a smile and suggested that something this important ne4eds to be discussed in the house. So off we went and after a great deal of hugging and some tears, the traditional deal was struck. As I recall, Alex never did say yes but he did not say no and so it became a reality that Marilyn and I were to be married officially at some date to be determined.

That day, Thursday, we were to meet Mitch Ozeroff at huge Ag Fair about 8 miles West of Langham. We also had set up a meeting with my cousin Nadia (nee Chernoff) and her husband Bruce Stevenson at the fair when we found out that they were travelling from Birch Hills and thus save us a side trip to visit them on their farm. What did happen is that Mitch was unable to attend and after many calls on our cell phones we finally connected with Bruce and Nadia. I never realized how huge this yearly event was until we arrived and saw all the parking for the expected 30,000 plus attendants.


Firstly we have Bruce and Nadia and then we inspected a Swather that is 40′ wide and that is just a sample of what equipment was un display.

We were able to meet Nadia’s daughter and son as well as one of their grandsons. A very enjoyable reunion and a great deal of life to catch up on.

The Ag Fair was of little interest to Marilyn and I and Bruce wanted to see all the displays so we parted company in the early afternoon and went to visit the grave sites of Maryilyn’s grandparents, John and Martha Verishine at the Doukhobor cemetery, Kirilowka near the original Doukhobor Village, about 7 miles West of Langham along Highway 5. We then carried on to Pawkrowka cemetery where Marilyn’s Dad and Mom are buried. This cemetery was near Eagle Creek, in view of the North Saskatchewan River. This cemetery was near the second Doukhobor Village of the same name. There were three (3) Doukhobor Villages, total, near Langham Saskatchewan. I sang my Postman song in Russian to their spirits.

We then decided to see if Marilyn’s cousin Leonard and his wife Connie Verishine might be home since they were located 1 mile West and 1/2 mile North of Jeff and Tracey Verishine farm (the original Alex Verishine homestead). Yes they were home and we had a great time catching up on where they were in their lives. It was exciting to hear that their son and one time professional Rodeo Bronc Rider, Billy, got married in Australia and they proudly showed pictures of their young grand daughter. Connie and her daughter Dawn Marie are preparing to travel to Australia in November to visit the family.

Leonard is a retired government pasture manager and still tends 200 of his own cattle on his farm. We planned to return for a dinner later in the week, but eventually ran out of time.

We returned to Jeff and Tracie’s farm for the night and were treated to a great dinner with their son Alex entertaining us with his plans to enter University of Saskatchewan to take Arts and Science in his intent to ultimately get into Engineering. Alex has trained himself to be an Auctioneer and takes his shift at First Klass Auctions.

The next day Jeff talked about his plans to make his grandfather’s farm into a place where all family would come and rekindle the “people place” that it once was. He is planting many trees of all species and trying to stay ahead of the deer who keep pruning them.

That afternoon we went across the road to Jade (Marilyn’s Nephew) and Marni Verishine farm for an afternoon visit. They had invited Marilyn’s cousin Harvey and his wife Diane Verishine. It was an excellent afternoon many memories were discussed as Jade and Marnie’s son Jacob barb-b-cued hot dogs for us.

We then moved to Mitch and Dorthy’s house in Langham. our welcome was a huge dinner with Sonia Tarasoff in attendance. It is always great to experience the positive attitude of Mitch as he deals with his physical handicaps and continues to ring off a sense of humour that never changes with the years. kudu to you Mitch and three (3) extra Kudus to Dorthy in trying to handle being a full time Care-giver.

The next day Marilyn and I visited the house of her Uncle Harry Verishine to have lunch with her Aunty, Cousin Kathleen and Harvey who treated us with another visit. It is important to mention here that the lands in Langham were less of a grain production quality and many Farmers turned to cattle raising as grass was really the best crop and the cattle raised on this land was marketed to provide an income. As a result, Marilyn’s Father, Harvey and his brother Leonard, successfully raised cattle and became horsemen. They could ride, rope and brand their animals.

Land that was assessed as “marginal” was designated as government pasture so that Farmers could place their cattle in this pasture for the summer. All three (3) of the above managed pastures for the government. At this time Leonard still raises 200 head and Harvey 400. Both have retired from the Pasture Manager positions.

At a Verishine reunion, Harvey and Leonard relented to much coaxing and put on a demonstration how they chase a young calf, rope it and trip it over as their horse keeps the tension in the rope, in preparation for branding.

Katheen shared some of the photographs of Harvey in full cowboy dress and some photos of his cattle for your enjoyment.


Yes I am proud of Marilyn’s family as I need to get photos of father and his horse, Leonard as well as his son Billy in full action as a professional Bronc Rider. I intend to gather all this into a story about the family.

as Jonathan Kalamkoff notes in his Doukhobor Genealogy, our Doukhobor ancestors raised cattle in the Molichniyee Vodee area of Ukraine before continuing on in Georgia in 1842, so it was logical for the Doukhobors in Langham to find this economical.

That evening, we called a few friends in Saskatoon to see if anyone would be available for a dinner in Saskatoon as it was obvious that we could not get to see everyone otherwise. Cooperate they did as this is part of our original Saskatoon Doukhobor Youth (at one time) Choir:

From left to right starting with Dorthy (Soukoroff) and Mitch Ozeroff, Elmer, Betty (Shiskin) Kabatoff, Ruth (Tarasoff) and John Sirota,Olga (Perveresoff) Epp, Marilyn, Donna (Tarsoff) Hunchak, Edna Wright

Yes it took a full three (3) hours to have our dinner but we had no problem digesting it with the laughter. Actually we saw the faces of ourselves as we were 1958 through 1963. What a nice time!

We took a leisurely exit from Ozeroffs and moved our wagon over to Alex and Elaine Derkachenko house in Saskatoon. Marilyn and I served as Bridesmaid and Best Man at their wedding in 1961 a few months before ours. It is always nice as Alex and I became “brothers” over the years with Alex never having a brother and I have since had my brothers depart. In many ways Alex seems to have very similar views on life and he even fries his potatoes the same way that I prefer. That is a very important brotherhood!

Donna and Larry Henderson dropped by and we had a great visit as a group. Larry is recovering from a minor stroke. A very nice dinner catered by Alex (he is an excellent cook), followed.

The next morning Alex treated me to his favorite Car Wash. My Focus was never treated that well! I also found an optical place where the sweet young lady took my glasses and final straightened the frame out so that I did not appear “cock-eyed”. Stupid glasses cannot handle me sitting on them but after a 1/2 hour she returned with a smile and said “no charge”. The Saskatchewan hospitality is always well appreciated.

That evening  we were invited to the new duplex that her son Glen built for her upon her move from the farm in Canora, a few years ago. We met Glen’s partner that works for a Uranium Mining Company and Dr. Veronica Markova. We had a great Dinner and discussed Ryan Androsoff’s work to preserve Doukhobor traditions and Moleniya. Interesting and we all encourage Ryan to do the right thing.

We were ready to leave when Veronica suggested we sing a few Russian songs. I was impressed at what that small party of four could do. Veronica briefed us on her continuing research in linguistics  and the manner in which the “Doukhobor” Russian has changed in the 118 years in Canada. We wish her well in het research.

The next morning it was a tearful departure from Derkatchenkos and we travelled to Lethbridge as an overnight and then home to Castlegar the next day.

Thanks to all our friends and relatives that we were able to see and those we missed, we apologize as there never seems to be enough time.

Yes we returned to a full blown birthday party for our daughterat the Colander in Trail, B.C, that night. We that is our life with Marilyn.

Completed August 14, 2014 by Elmer Verigin