Mayor Earl Funk says we live in a great city and it’s important to do something special to celebrate Steinbach's 150th birthday. 

“It is a big deal and we’re expecting to do a much bigger show for Summer in the City and also spend a little more money on Canada Day so we can really celebrate our 150th. It's really huge, it's a big accomplishment in our city’s life. You look at 1874 when the first pioneers came and settled the area and they just set up a great foundation for us to thrive in the city and we need to remember that, and we need to honor them and thank them for that as well.” 

Funk joined the volunteers at Pick Up and Walk on Saturday, helping clean up garbage throughout the city. 

While he surveyed the large crowd that had gathered to pick up trash, the mayor marveled at the number of volunteers. Funk says this shows how much the residents love this community. 

“And we're so thankful and so blessed to have churches that are working together,” he says of the 19 churches that coordinate and plan the annual clean up event. “We might not all believe the same exactly, but they say, ‘That's OK, we're going to work together. We're going to work on this goal and we're going to make Steinbach beautifully clean and look wonderful for people that come in.’” 

Funk says it’s remarkable the difference this annual event makes, cleaning the city and everyone volunteers for the role of picking up trash. 

“And when you look at the benefit to our city, if we would have to hire (for) this, it would probably be two or three, probably 3 full-time positions, 8 hours a day, for the whole year to do the same work that gets done in three hours by 2000 (volunteers).” 

What will the 150th celebration look like? Funk would not give specific details at this time, saying he would like to keep it a surprise for now. 

Steinbach's beginnings 

The Steinbach Heritage Committee has put together a walking tour to bring the city’s history to life, with details of the specific landmarks in the community, along with a map. 

The tour is around 3.5 km and begins at the Jake Epp Library. When you visit the story map website, there is also a brief history on the beginning of Steinbach when the first settlers arrived.  

The village of Steinbach was founded in the fall of 1874 when a small party of Kleine Gemeinde (small church) Mennonites determined a suitable location to settle. This group of 18 families, almost half of whom were from Steinbach, Borosenko, Russia, chose this spot along Stony Brook to build a replica of the village they had fled. 

The Mennonites had their beginnings during the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s. Persecuted, they left Holland for Poland; restricted in their faith again they left Poland for imperialist Russia and again, refusing to be deterred from their religious beliefs and lifestyle, they came to Canada in 1874, where they had been promised the freedoms they cherished. 

Disregarding Manitoba's grid survey system, the settlers divided the quarter sections of land they had been given into the block system, providing for long, narrow strips of land perpendicular to and on either side of the creek so they could have a source of water and live close to each other (like a village for the benefits it provided). Each had the bulk of their land farther away, again in narrow strips, so that all got some of the good and not-so-good land.  

As the Village grew and developed, Main Street and later Hanover Street, both parallel to the brook and running through all the villager's lots, took shape. Who knew that from these humble rural beginnings would grow the prosperous City of Steinbach, the hub of southeastern Manitoba.