Mennonite Heritage Week 2022 focuses on Amish Bicentennial

Monday, September 12, 2022

Fall farmscape
In recognition of Mennonite Heritage Week in Canada, Mennonites in Ontario are highlighting the bicentennial of Amish immigration to Canada. The Amish were one of the first Anabaptist groups to settle in Canada, beginning in 1822, so this year marks 200 years since Amish from Europe first arrived in Canada. To commemorate this occasion, the Amish Bicentennial Committee of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario has planned several autumn events to mark the 200th anniversary of the Amish in Canada.

Interested participants will take a heritage bus tour in the Southern Ontario countryside to learn about the oldest Amish settlements, while others will discover the history of Indigenous people who lived on this land. Several a cappella hymn sings are planned, along with a thanksgiving worship service, and an Indigenous Awareness Workshop at Crow Shield Lodge.

On September 30, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, several speakers will discuss “What Stories Have We Not Been Telling?” "When the Amish settlers arrived in the German Block, they did not come to an empty land, or ‘virgin wilderness,’ wrote David G. Neufeld, referring to a 45,000-acre land grant. Neufeld, who will give a presentation during the bicentennial, explained, “The land was populated by and had been used by Indigenous peoples for many, many years.”  

Professor Mark Louden will give several presentations on the linguistic history of Ontario’s earliest Amish, including offering the Bechtel Lecture in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies at Grebel on October 20. His lecture at Grebel will analyze the speech of Amish Mennonite descendants from East Zorra-Tavistock and Wilmot townships, compare it with what Amish and Old Order Mennonites speak elsewhere, and explore important implications for our understanding of the linguistic history of Anabaptists in North America more generally.