Story Behind Sherbiko Hill

by Elena Salekin

Following the Burning of Arms in 1895, Doukhobor Nicholas W. (Shcherbekov) Sherbiko (1872-1945) was exiled to Yakutsk, Siberia for refusing to perform military service. Upon his release in 1905, he immigrated to Canada and farmed near Veregin, SK. He later resettled to Castlegar, BC where he established a dairy farm operation, selling milk, cream and butter throughout the area. Today, the hill on which his farm was located is known as Sherbiko Hill, a prominent feature of the Castlegar landscape. Below the hill flows a stretch of the Columbia River known as Sherbiko Eddy, popular among local fishermen. Reproduced from Castlegar News (5 Dec 2007), this article recounts the little-known story behind these well-known features.

A prominent feature of the Castlegar landscape is Sherbiko Hill, named for Nicholas Sherbiko, an early settler.

The Sherbiko farm was at the top of the hill, left side on the highway to Trail and extended almost to the present day railroad crossing.

At the top of Sherbiko Hill looking north down Columbia Avenue in Castlegar, British Columbia. Photo courtesy Greg Nesteroff.

Nicholas, who was well-known by all in the Castlegar community, emigrated from Russia. Along with other Doukhobors he endured 10 years of exile in Siberia, Yakutsk region, for refusing military service. On being pardoned, he returned to his village in time to take part in the immigration of Doukhobors to Canada. He brought with him his new bride, Masha, a young lady of Yakut nationality.

At the north foot of Sherbiko Hill on Columbia Avenue in Castlegar, British Columbia. Photo courtesy Greg Nesteroff.

Nicholas and Masha first settled in Saskatchewan but later moved to Castlegar where he purchased the farm. They had nine dairy cows and sold milk, cream, and butter throughout the area. The Sherbikos (Scherbekov in Russian) were kind, hospitable folk and enjoyed exchanging local news and gossip with everyone who dropped by to purchase dairy products.

Sherbiko Eddy on the Columbia River at Castlegar, British Columbia. Photo courtesy Ben Postnikoff.

When Nicholas passed away, son John and his wife Edith moved from Nelson to manage the farm. John sold the dairy herd and built the beautiful house on the high bank above the Columbia River. Below was a stretch of water, Sherbiko’s eddy, that became well-known to local fishermen. The house still stands near the church and is there to remind us of one of Castlegar’s pioneer families.