Manitoba

Building begins for Old Order Mennonite community near Gladstone, Man.

A community of Old Order Mennonites is establishing itself in central Manitoba after leaving southwestern Ontario.

A community of Old Order Mennonites is establishing itself in central Manitoba after leaving southwestern Ontario. 

A group of 11 Old Order Mennonite families is settling near Gladstone, Man., about 100 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. The group has purchased about 1,000 hectares of land from private landowners and is obtaining permits and building houses.

Reeve Ed Stroeder of the Rural Municipality of Westbourne said Wednesday that residents have offered to help the group.

"There has been a lot of people dropping by with vegetables and fruit and meat, et cetera, to help these people in their time of need right here," Stroeder said.

"It's not that they're needy, but with a large crew of people building houses, they don't necessarily maybe have the time to cook proper meals. It's been just wonderful in terms of the response from people in the area."

The group moving to Manitoba are coming from a community west of Walkerton, Ont. The community is growing, and with land costs rising, some Old Order Mennonites have chosen to go west.

Generally known as a conservative religious group, the Old Order Mennonites in Manitoba will use horse-drawn buggies and hand tools and will have no electricity or modern plumbing in their houses.

Stroeder said the people he has met are friendly and intelligent, but they don't want their unique way of life to become a media spectacle.

"They don't want to become the centre of media attention, but they understand that their lifestyle and how they do things is going to attract some attention," he said.

"I don't think anybody's been thrown off their land yet, but they might not be too open in terms of carrying on a conversation."

The Rural Municipality of Westbourne,with a population of about 2,000 people,will benefit from increased tax assessment and more per capita grants from the provincial and federal governments, Stroeder said.

He added that local businesses are also expecting a mini-boom when the group buys building materials and other necessities.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story stated that the group is Amish. In fact, they are Old Order Mennonites.
    Dec 09, 2018 1:02 PM CT