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Immigration to Canada in the 1920s

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Just as Canadians are not all the same, Mennonites are not all the same. Over hundreds of years, various Mennonite groups separated from each other and spread out across the world.


In Canada , for example, the Mennonites came in several different migrations. The first one began in 1786, when about 2,000 Mennonites moved from Pennsylvania , USA, to Ontario. The next major migration was from 1874 to 1880. Over 7,000 Mennonites settled in Manitoba. The government wanted their skills as farmers, so it gave the Mennonites special rights. Canada promised the Mennonites that they would be allowed to practise their religious beliefs in peace and that they would not have to perform any military service.


Then, during the 1920s, another group of Mennonites started arriving in Canada . This group was also from Russia. During the First World War, the Mennonites in Russia had suffered bitter winters, famine, diseases, and bandits. They desperately wanted to leave. Between 1923 and 1930, around 20,000 Mennonites came to Canada.


The one catch was that the 1873 exemption from military service did not apply to this new group. What would these peace-loving Mennonites do if war came?

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