Home / Accueil

Ukrainian Pioneer Mass Grave Site

Rossburn, Manitoba, R0J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/04/17

Contextual view, from the southeast, of the Ukrainian Pioneer Mass Grave Site, Oakburn area, 2006. The grave mound is identifiable as the mound in the foreground.; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Contextual View
Contextual view, from the southwest, of the Ukrainian Pioneer Mass Grave Site, Oakburn area, 2006, showing the range of commemorative markers at the site.; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Contextual View
No Image

Other Name(s)

Ukrainian Pioneer Mass Grave Site
The Mass Grave at Patterson Lake
La tombe collective au Patterson Lake

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/12/12

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Ukrainian Pioneer Mass Grave Site is situated on a large area of well-maintained land overlooking Patterson Lake in the Vista area south of Riding Mountain National Park. The site contains a burial mound marked by a large white cross and several commemorative monuments. The municipal designation applies to the approximately 7,500-square-metre parcel of land, the structures thereon and about 200 metres of road access.

Heritage Value

The Ukrainian Pioneer Mass Grave Site is a tangible link to the struggle, devastation and loss experienced by newly arrived Ukrainian immigrants in the Vista area in 1899. After enduring an arduous journey to escape persecution in the Ukraine and to seek a better life, a group of immigrants temporarily camped at this location (pending the allocation of homesteads) suffered an outbreak of scarlet fever that took the lives of over 40 children and three adults. They were buried en masse as the frozen ground made individual burial too difficult. About 50 years later the remains were removed to the present location, approximately 100 metres north of the original burial site. The gravesite, a unique example of a pioneer mass burial in Manitoba, is now a place of mourning, pride, gratitude and celebration for surviving Ukrainian pioneers and their descendants. This continued importance is demonstrated by various monuments erected in association with significant events and by regular use of the site to celebrate Ukrainian settlement in Canada.

Source: Rural Municipality of Rossburn By-law No. 1217, April 17, 1990

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Ukrainian Pioneer Mass Grave Site include:
- its relatively remote and undeveloped location amid the rolling landscape and agricultural fields around Patterson Lake in west-central Manitoba
- the burial mound set within the site with uninterrupted views of the landscape
- ongoing access to and use of the site

Key elements that define the site's archaeological, historical and socio-cultural significance, and its commemorative function, include:
- the burial mound, approximately six metres wide by six metres long and one metre high
- the commemorative markers placed on the northeast side of the mound
- the spacious public access
- all surface or subsurface remains associated with the temporary 1899 camp, Ukrainian pioneers, etc.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1899/01/01 to 1899/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Commemorative Monument


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

RM of Rossburn Box 100 39 Main Street North Rossburn MB R0J 1V0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places