Altona, Manitoba
Altona is a predominantly Mennonite
The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations named after the Frisian Menno Simons , who, through his writings, articulated and thereby formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders...

 town in southern Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

 about 100 km south-west of Winnipeg
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

 and 133 km north of Grand Forks, North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Grand Forks is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of North Dakota and the county seat of Grand Forks County. According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 52,838, while that of the city and surrounding metropolitan area was 98,461...

. It is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Rhineland
Rhineland, Manitoba
Rhineland is a rural municipality in the province of Manitoba in Western Canada. It is located in the southern part of the province, along its border with the state of North Dakota in the United States. A population of 4,125 persons was reported in the 2006 Census, a slight decrease from the 4,183...

. Much of the surrounding area is devoted to farming and agriculture-based business. Its sister city is Emerald
Emerald, Queensland
Emerald is a town located in the Central Highlands district of Central Queensland, Australia. At the 2006 census, Emerald had a population of 10,999. The town is the business centre for the Central Highlands Regional Council....

, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. Ever year a Sunflower Festival is held in which a young women in the community is crowned the Sunflower Queen and gets a flight to Emerald for free to participate in the Sunflower Festival held there.


Altona is called "The Sunflower Capital of Canada", and is host to the annual Sunflower Festival. The Sunflower Festival has a Sunflower festival pageant where they crown a queen every year, who wins a trip to Australia. The festival also includes a small midway, quilt show, baseball tournament, stage show, and street dance to name a few. Just recently they have added a sculpture park, displaying many different styles of artwork.

It is also home to the largest replica of a famous painting by Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh , and used Brabant dialect in his writing; it is therefore likely that he himself pronounced his name with a Brabant accent: , with a voiced V and palatalized G and gh. In France, where much of his work was produced, it is...

. It was named 'The largest painting on an easel by The Guinness Book of World Records
Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records, known until 2000 as The Guinness Book of Records , is a reference book published annually, containing a collection of world records, both human achievements and the extremes of the natural world...

 in 1998. The painting is 'Sunflowers' and it was re-created by local artist Cameron Cross. The base (easel) stands at 76'6" and the canvas was made by laminating together 24 sheets of 3/4" plywood and splattering it with 17 gallons of paint to create the picture.


Altona was the site of the Rhineland Consumers Co-operative (founded 1931), the Altona Service Co-op (founded 1937) and the Altona Credit Union (founded 1939). These co-operative enterprises were a highly effective local response to the devastating impact of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 on local farmers' incomes. Jake Siemens
Jake Siemens
Jacob John Siemens , was a Canadian farmer, co-operative leader, social entrepreneur, and adult educator. Born and raised a Mennonite near Altona, Manitoba, Siemens taught for 10 years before taking over the family farm in 1929...

 played an important role in their development, and the growth of the co-operative movement in southern Manitoba.

Altona is also home to Friesens Corporation
Friesens Corporation
Friesens Corporation is Canada's largest printer of hardcover books. They are employee-owned, specializing in hardcover books and yearbooks, and located in Altona, Manitoba, Canada.-History:...

, which started off as a small confectionery store and is now employs hundreds of people. It is the primary printer of yearbooks in North America, as well as printing in commercial consumer books, specializing in full colour art and educational books.

The first Mennonite Central Committee
Mennonite Central Committee
The Mennonite Central Committee is a relief, service, and peace agency representing 15 Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and Amish bodies in North America. The U.S. headquarters are in Akron, Pennsylvania, the Canadian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.-History:...

 Thrift Shop was founded in Altona in 1972. Staffed by volunteers, MCC Thrift stores now contribute about $4M annually to MCC projects.


External links

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