Thursday, February 4, 2016

Amish begin to move to P.E.I.

Ten Amish families from near Waterloo and Woodstock will be moving this spring to farms in Prince Edward Island.

Tony Wallbank, who makes farm machinery, 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.

Realtor Brad Oliver said six farms have been sold, while four others are under contract, and the search continues for more.

The families are moving because land has become too expensive surrounding their Ontario settlements.

Wallbank researched opportunities in Northern Ontario and the United States before picking Prince Edward Island for its affordability and land quality.

"I think we're going to have a substantial population over the next decade," Oliver 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.

Oliver told Canadian Press that 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.

"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.