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

  • Seniors separated after decades of marriage 'desperate' to live together again

    Canada News CTV News
    Lorraine and Joe Papp have been married for 62 years, but for nearly the past two years they’ve been living under different roofs. Three years ago, the pair from Maple Ridge, B.C. moved into the assisted living facility Royal Crescent Gardens. Source
  • N.S. hoarder to learn if her home will be demolished

    Canada News CTV News
    A Cape Breton woman who is a self-confessed shopaholic and hoarder is trying save her home from demolition For more than four years, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality says they've been receiving complaints about the odour and rodents coming from the North Sydney home of Sylvia Dolomont. Source
  • Sessions says he's staying, will fight for Trump's agenda

    World News CTV News
    SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- His loyalty to the boss severely tested but seemingly intact, Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will stay in the job for as long as U.S. President Donald Trump wants him to serve. Source
  • Barcelona train crash leaves at least 56 injured

    World News CBC News
    A Spanish commuter train crashed into a buffer early Friday at a station in northeastern Barcelona, tossing passengers to the floor and leaving 56 people injured, officials said. Regional health chief Antoni Comi said 54 people in all received medical treatment, with 51 taken to city hospitals. Source
  • Peaceful prayers at Jerusalem holy site, West Bank violence

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Muslim prayers at a major Jerusalem shrine ended peacefully Israeli police said Friday but violence continued in the West Bank where a Palestinian was killed attacking soldiers as forces were on high alert following two weeks of violence over the sacred site, holy to both Muslims and Jews. Source
  • Utah woman killed on cruise described as trusted adviser

    World News CTV News
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A Utah real estate agent killed on an Alaska cruise was remembered by her employer as a trusted adviser and valued sales associate. Kristy Manzanares was found dead Tuesday night as the cruise ship Emerald Princess travelled between Ketchikan and Juneau. Source
  • Spanish train crashes in Barcelona station; 53 hospitalized [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    BARCELONA, Spain — Some 50 people received medical treatment after a Spanish commuter train crashed into the buffers in a station in northeastern Barcelona early Friday, Catalan government officials said. Regional health chief Antoni Comi said 54 people in all received medical treatment, with 51 taken to city hospitals. Source
  • ‘Ma’am, you have a what?!’: Unheard of 911 call in Ohio after boa constrictor attacks owner

    World News Toronto Sun
    playpausestopmuteunmute Hear the distressing 911 call SHEFFIELD LAKE, Ohio — Authorities say firefighters have rescued an Ohio woman after a boa constrictor wrapped around her neck and began biting her face. Source
  • 77-pound tortoise reunited with NY family after wandering away

    World News Toronto Sun
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS First posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 08:17 AM EDT | Updated: Friday, July 28, 2017 09:07 AM EDT Source
  • Russia dismisses new sanctions, orders U.S. diplomat cuts

    World News Toronto Sun
    MOSCOW — Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered a reduction in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia and said it was closing down a U.S. recreation retreat in response to fresh sanctions against Russia. The U.S. Source