Chapter 9: Mennonite and Hutterite Settlements
“The Mennonites refused to bear arms and…fled from one country to another in the
“In sharp contrast to homesteaders from
They were not…able to ignore the survey system entirely but they were able initially to modify the rectangular grid to satisfy their own requirements. And from 1876 onwards they did so legally, since in that year the government amended the Dominion Lands Act to allow both Icelanders and Mennonites to settle in villages, relieving them of the normal legislative requirement that every homesteader live in a house on his own quarter section and improve the land grant he himself had received from the Crown.”[ii]
“Each homesteader signed the village’s agreement to share the land, even though the official title for each quarter section belonged to an individual. A village was established in which each settler was allocated a narrow plot of land running back from the main village street. The plot was to provide space for a house, barns, and a garden, and overnight space for cattle. The remainder of the homestead land belonging to villagers was divided into three equal parcels plus a slightly larger one for pasturage.
Each villager was given a strip of land in each of the three fields for his personal use, so that all the land in each field was allocated. This not only preserved the old village pattern of land use but also helped assure equal land quality for all settlers. In the early years, neither pasture nor fields were fenced. …Some of the villages began to disintegrate almost at once, and the majority of them disappeared”[iii] but in 1995, 17 were still in existence in the west reserve. Also the field system soon broke down and “the last of the old field systems was abandoned in the nineteen twenties.”[iv]
Because of the land division system the remaining villages have a very definite linear form that contrasts markedly with the T-type railway-based villages and the angular grid of villages based on the DLS system.
[i] Tyman, J. and D. Where on Earth: Mid Latitude Grasslands (Library Edition). Brisbane, Atham Educational, 1978, 18.
[ii] Tyman, J. and D. op. cit., 1978, 18 and 35.
[iii] See Richtik, J. T. “Mennonite Reserves” in The Geography of
[iv] Richtik op. cit., 1996, 105-106.
9.7: Mennonite Family Farm and a Chicken Farm East of MacGregor
The twinned Trans-Canada Highway 1 passes through the centre of the area shown with the CP railway line to the south 2 and the CN line to the north 3. A group of buildings between the
At the date the photo was taken (May 27) fields were still drying out from the spring melt, so that wet patches 14 are visible in most fields.
Figure 9.7: Mennonite Family Farm and a Chicken Farm East of MacGregor
Vertical air photograph: MB96001-180
Flight height: 7,000 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.098 mm
Scale: 1:12,000 (approx.)
Date: May 27, 1996
Location: Townships 11 and 12; Range 10 WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62G Brandon
1:50,000 62G/5 MacGregor