Amish families leave pricey Ontario farms, move to P.E.I.

MONTAGUE, P.E.I. -- Much like the past when pioneer families travelled west for farmland to call their own, two groups of Amish families from Ontario are heading east to till the fertile, red soil of Prince Edward Island and establish a new home.

See Full Article

According to realtor Brad Oliver, it has simply gotten too expensive in Ontario for the Amish communities to expand, and young people to own their own farms.

"They are sitting on farmland in Ontario that's worth in excess of $20,000 an acre. That's fine when you own it, but the young generations are looking to buy farms and it just doesn't work for them," he said in an interview from Montague, P.E.I.

"We're two to three thousand dollars an acre for good, productive farmland which will grow basically the same crop that they're used to growing in Ontario, and we've got the big, old farm homes that they like," he said.

Amish are groups of traditionalist Christian church fellowships. They are known for simple living, plain dress, and a reluctance to adopt modern technology.

Tony Wallbank, who ran a horse-drawn farm equipment company in Ontario, began the search for new land for the Amish a few years ago -- exploring properties in Northern Ontario and various locations in the United States. Each time the land was either too expensive or unsuitable.

But during a trip in 2014 to Prince Edward Island, Wallbank found rolling fields and landowners anxious to see their properties farmed by traditional methods rather than sitting idle or becoming acreage for large commercial farming operations.

Wallbank said the Amish who will move to the Island this spring are coming from two communities near Woodstock and Kitchener-Waterloo, with six to eight families coming from each community.

"They like to have a core group of people, six to eight families, with a bishop and a minister and school teacher, because they have very strong community beliefs," he said.

Wallbank said wherever the Amish settle, they are good for the local economy, especially for tourism.

"Their culture is so popular, their dress, the horse and buggies, draft horses in the fields, and they also sell goods and vegetables on the roadside stands," he said.

He said they won't be any drain on the economy.

"They look after their grandparents and parents until they pass away right on the farm, and they don't have any unemployment, so they don't use employment insurance, nor do they go on welfare," he said.

Wallbank has made a number of trips to P.E.I. with groups of Amish to show them the Island and to look at farms in the eastern end of the province near Malpeque.

Oliver said six farms have been sold, while four others are under contract, and the search continues for more.

"I think we're going to have a substantial population over the next decade," he said.

"They're large families. These are people that have 10-12 kids and they branch out into the neighbouring farms as the generations continue. They like what they see here," Oliver said.

He said the Amish families lead simple lives without modern conveniences such as electricity, and most do not use indoor plumbing.

Oliver said an agreement has been reached with the provincial government to allow the Amish to do a form of home-schooling with an old-fashioned, one-room school house.

Some of the settlers will arrive in P.E.I. in March while others will wait until the school year ends in late June.

"This late May in eastern P.E.I. you are going to be able to see guys cropping the land with horse-drawn farm equipment," Oliver said.

He said he's been searching the Island for horse-drawn equipment, and has been able to find quite a bit of it.

Wallbank said some of the families will bring some of their existing equipment and horses from Ontario.

"One young couple that are newlyweds -- about a month into their marriage -- have no equipment at all, so they are starting from scratch," he said.

Wallbank said the Amish settlers have already been made to feel welcome.

"Everybody from the premier of the province, down to the old fellas at Tim Hortons, have all welcomed the Amish when they visited," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • White House won't participate in next impeachment hearing

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A senior Trump administration official said the White House will not participate in the House Judiciary Committee's next impeachment hearing. The decision came Friday in a letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone. Source
  • Johnson, Corbyn clash in final debate before U.K. election

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- LONDON -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn clashed Friday night in the last head-to-head debate before a general election in six days -- an underpowered showdown that saw both men stick to well-worn phrases and promises about their plans for Brexit and Britain's future. Source
  • Bloomberg says his news reporters need to accept restrictions

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg says employees at his news organization need to accept restrictions with their paycheque, including the ban on investigating their boss. Bloomberg, billionaire founder of Bloomberg News, was asked in a CBS News interview about rules put in place when he announced his candidacy: The organization's reporters are not allowed to probe him and his finances, or any of his Democratic rivals. Source
  • 'Heading towards a climate reckoning': Victoria wants cruise ship-related emissions cut quickly

    Canada News CBC News
    Victoria city council wants to bring cruise ships in line with its ambitious climate change goals, but it won't be easy. Cruises are a big part of Victoria's tourism industry: more than 250 ships come into port each year, bringing an estimated $130 million in tourist dollars. Source
  • Killed UPS driver's family questions police response to chase in Florida

    World News CBC News
    Relatives of a UPS driver killed after robbery suspects took him hostage and led police on a wild chase across South Florida questioned Friday why officers had to unleash a torrent of gunfire when the truck got stuck in rush hour traffic. Source
  • Donald Trump now has an obvious path to a second term

    World News CTV News
    The latest economic numbers -- 266,000 jobs created in November, unemployment at a 50-year low -- make one thing very clear: U.S. President Donald Trump has a path to win a second term next year. Source
  • At least 15 killed in Baghdad square in ongoing Iraqi protests

    World News CBC News
    Gunmen in cars opened fire Friday in Baghdad's Khilani Square, leaving at least 15 people dead and 60 wounded, Iraqi security and medical officials said. At least two of the dead were policemen. Protesters fearing for their lives ran from the plaza to nearby Tahrir Square and mosques to take cover. Source
  • Montreal Massacre marked with ceremonies across Canada, vows to 'do better' to protect women

    Canada News CBC News
    Beams of light will shine on the skyline of Montreal and cities across Canada this evening in memory of the women killed at École Polytechnique 30 years ago. In what has become an annual tradition, 14 lights — one for each woman — will illuminate the top of Mount Royal. Source
  • Montreal police arrest blogger alleged to have glorified Polytechnique mass murderer

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- On the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, Montreal police have announced that they have arrested an anti-feminist blogger who they allege glorifies the Polytechnique killer Marc Lepine. Police say Jean-Claude Rochefort, 70, of Montreal, was arrested Thursday for inciting hatred against women, and has been behind bars since Friday. Source
  • Slain UPS driver's family questions police response to chase

    World News CTV News
    MIAMI -- Relatives of a UPS driver killed after robbery suspects took him hostage on a wild police chase across South Florida questioned Friday why officers had to unleash a torrent of gunfire when the truck got stuck in rush-hour traffic. Source