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

  • U.S. immigration judge grants asylum to Singapore teen blogger

    World News CTV News
    CHICAGO -- A teenage blogger from Singapore whose online posts blasting his government landed in him jail was granted asylum to remain in the United States, an immigration judge in Chicago ruled Friday. Amos Yee has been detained by federal immigration authorities since December when he was taken into custody at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Source
  • After U.S. health bill's withdrawal, elation and anger

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Some Americans breathed a sigh of relief, others bubbled with frustration, and nearly all resigned themselves to the prospect that the latest chapter in the never-ending national debate over health care would not be the last. Source
  • B.C. Liberals to refund $93k for indirect donations, cites clerical errors

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The British Columbia Liberal Party says it has found 43 so-called indirect donations worth almost $93,000, which it plans to reimburse. The information comes as the RCMP is already reviewing possible violations of the B.C. Source
  • After health care bill’s withdrawal, elation and anger

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Some Americans breathed a sigh of relief, others bubbled with frustration, and nearly all resigned themselves to the prospect that the latest chapter in the never-ending national debate over health care would not be the last. Source
  • Health-care havoc: Trump's 1st legislative test a 'big loser' that puts his agenda on shaky ground

    World News CBC News
    So much for the hard-bargaining American president's ultimatum on repealing Obamacare. Donald Trump's first major legislative push veered into a ditch on Friday, denting his image as a master negotiator and dealing an embarrassing blow to his young presidency's momentum. Source
  • Aid group fears hundreds of migrants drowned off Libya

    World News CTV News
    MADRID -- Hundreds of migrants may have died off Libya's coast, a Spanish aid organization said Friday, and Turkish media reported that 11 migrants died after a boat sank in the Aegean. Video footage from DHA in Turkey showed a half-dozen covered bodies that were laid out near ambulances. Source
  • SPCA in Alberta says about 100 small-breed dogs removed from home

    Canada News CTV News
    LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - The Alberta SPCA says about 100 dogs have been removed from a home in Lethbridge. The SPCA says in a news release that officers visited the home based on a tip from the public earlier this week. Source
  • Jailed Philippine senator says she 'won't be quiet' about President Duterte

    World News CBC News
    The most vocal critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte could be stuck behind the lime-green walls of a Manila prison for a long time. "Rot in jail" was the destiny the president predicted for his nemesis, Senator Leila de Lima, who has loudly and vigorously objected to his crackdown on suspected drug users and dealers, which has resulted in more than 7,000 deaths. Source
  • Man sentenced in death of pregnant ex-girlfriend in Hawaii

    World News Toronto Sun
    HONOLULU — A judge sentenced a man Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole in the murder of his ex-girlfriend who disappeared while pregnant with his child in Hawaii. A jury previously convicted 27-year-old Steven Capobianco of second-degree murder in the death of Carly “Charli” Scott. Source
  • 2 killed, 22 injured in fight between Mexico union factions

    World News CTV News
    FILE -- A man checks his cell phone as he stands guard in a commercial zone in the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) Source