During the walk last year in Northern Ontario, I met a cyclist on the road between Wawa and White River who gave me the contact information of a gracious couple in St. Claude, MB who host cross-country cyclists, world walkers, and continent crossing horseback riders to their home for a solid meal and a comfortable nights sleep. Naturally, I reached out to see if they would be able to host me.
My arrival in St. Claude was perfectly timed; Robert and Josiane were friends of a Hutterite colony outside St. Claude and they agreed to bring me along with them for a visit and tour that night.
I know very little about the Hutterite communities of Western Canada, but I jumped at the chance to have a brief and very informative glimpse into this very unique communal way of life.
Over the last couple of years, the colony has been busy constructing a large, modern community building, which includes an industrial sized kitchen; large dining hall; church; a number of industrial sized cold storage units; and a loading dock for the large quantity of food they produce and store.
Robert once taught at the colony, so he was able to give me a complete tour of the colonies grounds and facilities for a few hours. As we walked around and visited the many large facilities within the colony, such as the garage, the housing units, the elementary school and gymnasium, the dining hall, and the green houses; Robert fielded the plethora of questions I had, which shed much light on may preconceptions and misconceptions regarding this communal way of living.
I was unable to visit any of the livestock facilities during my visit because access was restricted to only those who work within these facilities; other members of the colony were also restricted entry, due to the vulnerability of hogs and chickens to pathogens a visitor might unknowingly bring into the facility.