Leaving Canada: The Mennonite Migration to Mexico

March 1, 2024 - April 30, 2024

We are pleased to announce that we will be housing Leaving Canada: The Mennonite Migration to Mexico between March 1ˢᵗ and April 30ᵗʰ, 2024. This travelling exhibit was produced by the Mennonite Heritage Village, the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, and the Plett Foundation. The exhibit will graciously be hosted by Mennonite Community Services of Southern Ontario, the Norfolk Community Help Centre, and the Mennonite Central Committee.

We will be housing the exhibit at our new downtown location at 75 Talbot St. E., Aylmer.

Mennonite Community Services will be organizing and facilitating private tours. To book a tour, call (519) 317-1972.

The exhibit will be open for drop-in viewings from 1 PM to 4 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through March and April.

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 1 PM to 4 PM through the month of March
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 1 PM to 4 PM through the month of April

About the Exhibit

As described by the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada:

On March 1, 1922, a large group of Old Colony Mennonites gathered at the railway station in Plum Coulee, Manitoba, awaiting a train that would take them to Cuauhtémoc, a small town in northern Mexico.

“Leaving Canada” tells the story of these Mennonites and the nearly eight thousand others who left Canada in the 1920s to start new lives in Mexico and Paraguay. “Leaving Canada” explores the history of an ethnoreligious community’s determination to preserve its autonomy. It is a story about competing conceptions of religious freedom and of tensions between religious, linguistic, and educational rights on the one hand, and the obligations of citizenship on the other.

Featuring artefacts from Mennonite Heritage Village’s collection, historical photographs from public archives and private collections, and original interpretative content, “Leaving Canada” draws on the most current research on the 1920s emigration from Canada. It is crafted to the highest standards in research, content, interpretation, photography, and exhibit design. This travelling exhibit is based on a larger exhibit that was on display at Mennonite Heritage Village in 2022.


Image of students in a schoolhouse, labelled "1918 German School".

Mennonite Heritage Archives, CA MHC 031-2.0

Half-Day Learning Opportunity

Join us on March 22 with your colleagues for a half-day immersive experience through a guided tour of Leaving Canada. This experience is intended for professionals who provide services to Low German-speaking Mennonites, with the goal of understanding the past to better serve Low German-speaking Mennonites in the present. This limited-time exhibit explores the history and motivations behind the migration of Low German-speaking Mennonites to Mexico. Please register with Mennonite Community Services by contacting them at (519) 317-1972.

Schedule options:

  • Morning: 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
  • Afternoon: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Cost: $40 per individual

Registration Deadline: March 8

Location: Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives, 75 Talbot St. E., Aylmer, ON

Conform: The Mennonite Migration to Mexico of the 1920s

This film, produced by Refuge 31 Films and the Plett Foundation, is available in the exhibit. We’ve linked the full film below for those who wish to watch it at home.
Running time: 54 minutes.

Further Information

For bookings and inquiries, please contact Mennonite Community Services at (519) 317-1972.

March 1 to April 30, 2024, Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives, 75 Talbot St. E., Aylmer, Ontario, Admission by donation. Guided Tours: To book a school group or tour call Mennonite Community Services (MCS) at 519-317-1972. Maximum group size is 30 people per visit.


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