Family Histories
of the Swan River Valley
Manitoba, Canada
Pioneer Centennial
History Book
100 Years in the
Swan River Valley
1898 - 1998

John and Totina Burick

John and Totina Burick left Poland with the first four of their eight children in April 1930 to come to a beautiful country that they had heard about where a man could own as many acres of land as he wanted to work.

Friends, (the Spitzkes), from the Swan River Valley, Canada had been encouraging the Burick’s to come and join them in this land of “milk and honey”.
When they left Poland, spring had come and the weather was glorious. By the time they had travelled all those many miles to this valley, they were beginning to doubt their wisdom in coming. May 1930, a month after leaving their homeland, they arrived in the Swan River Valley. The day after they woke up to six inches of snow and then they were certain they had made a mistake in coming. The Spitzkes assured them that it would all go away and spring would come and of course it did!

John and Totina and their children, Olga, Bill, Mary and Nick, settled in the Lidstone area about three miles south of the Lidstone school house. Land was plentiful but making a living was hard. The family was not wealthy and the depression had hit and times were hard for everyone.

Time moved on and by now, four more children had been born. These were Ann, Nelda, Helen and Ruby; the first Canadian-born Buricks.

The children grew and eventually moved away except for Olga who married and settled in Swan River to raise her six children and Bill who married a girl from Winnipeg and settled in the Roaring River area. Bill took over the family farm when his father retired and opened a service station in Swan River across from the Crescent Theatre (now owned by Bill Horochuk). Bill had one son, Brian.

John and Totina retired off the farm in 1949 and moved into Swan River until 1970 when Totina passed away. John moved to Winnipeg and five years later he also passed away.

Bill, Doris and Brian were the only Buricks left in the Valley now as Olga had moved to Winnipeg. They had moved to the Bowsman area and bought land around their home. The original family homestead in Lidstonewas sold to John Dutkewich who later sold it to Ken Baskier. As Brian grew he increased the farm operation and eventually took it over from his father in 1976. Then years later Brian married his first cousin, Tracy Barker (Nelda Burick’s daughter). They settled just north of his parent’s homestead where they have two children, a daughter, Michelle and a son, Brook.

In 1989, Bill passed away. His wife Doris chose to stay on the farm where they lived and she still resides there at the time of this writing. Brian and Tracy still live just down the road. The only Burick children still living are Mary, Ann, Helen and Ruby.

Submitted by: Tracy Burick


Manitoba's Swan River Valley is an area rich in history. These family histories were a part of the 1998 Pioneer Centennial History Book project. If you would like the history of your area available online, have your historic group contact the Key Rock Group for information on electronic publication. We offer publication free of charge and also provide the option for making your history book available on CD.