Old Order Mennonites in Ontario, Canada

A large number of Mennonites (16,000), including Old Order Mennonite (4,000), and Old Order Amish (1,000) live in the area surrounding Kitchener (called Berlin before World War I) and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. As these two cities have grown, the small town of St. Jacobs is actually the best place to visit these communities.

The map shows the high density of Old Order businesses -- this is only a small part of the Map directory of local country shops in Waterloo and Wellington county and a few from surrounding areas by Alson Clemmer, Wallenstein, Ontario, July 2003. Blacksmith shops: 10; buggy repairs: 10; home baking, bulk food stores, and butcher shops: 24; horse supplies: 17; shoe repair: 12; furniture and wood work: 68. Click on the map to see more of it.

On Sundays, the differences between the various Mennonite communities become clear: horse-drawn Old Order Mennonites, black car Mennonites (often called "black bumper"), and the most worldly Mennonites who drive colorful car. Although all Mennonites have meeting halls for Sunday worship, only the most worldly ones have Sunday school. In fact, the Mennonites who wanted Sunday school split from the Mennonites in the yellow church and built their own brick church. The Old Order Amish, on the other hand, meet every other Sunday in their homes for all day religious and social activities; hence, their horses have been stabled in the barn, whereas as the horses remain attached to the carriages in the short Old Order Mennonite church services.

The interior of these churches are very plain. The timeline shows the various splits of the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites. Open buggies, usually they are covered, are so common here that the roadside even reflect this -- compare this with the signs in Wisconsin.
The Old Order Mennonite sell farm products to the public. Their farmsteads are indicated by green paint on the roofs, fences, and window and door trim.
For their horse-drawn wagons and buggies, they have built "private" wooden bridge over streams. Mennonites, other than the Old Order ones, sent their children to public schools; hence, the Canadian flag.
The most conservative Mennonite denominations have the plainest tombstones; the others, have tombstones that are no different from other Christian groups.