Mennonite Heritage Village

Knowing When to Quit

By Gary Dyck

Knowing When to Quit

May 12, 2022 

By Gary Dyck 

The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.” 

-James Yorke, Mathematician 

Do you know how to move from plan A to plan B graciously? Or do you resist change like the Mennonites in 1920s Russia who only left the comfort of home when soldiers were on their way to their village? The Mennonites that came to Canada in the 1870s were ready to quit Russia for several reasons, but they also sensed the imminent change would not be good for their future as a people. It was not easy for them to resettle, but the government of Canada was selling land at low prices, and they didn’t want to miss out. Could it be that one of the keys of life is about knowing when to start, when to keep going, and when to quit? 

Mennonites are quitters. And that can be a good thing. They left the corruption they saw in the 16th century Catholic church and started their own fellowships. They gave up their land in Prussia for Russia, and again for Canada. I’m thankful they did. Then exactly 100 years ago, Mennonites started quitting Canada too. Many didn’t like the government’s stance on compulsory public education with its British militarism and loyalty overtures. First, they went to Mexico and then other places that were open such as Paraguay and Bolivia. Some even keep moving back and forth, not sure what to start and what to quit. 

As S.L. Klassen writes (with a tinge of sarcasm) on her Drunken Mennonite blog:

Our whole history could be written as one of peoples who quit. We quit our allegiance to states that wanted us to kill for them and we quit our allegiance to each other when our fellow Mennos forgot the proper way to baptize. Or dress. Or educate their children. Or, well, pretty much anything. The point is we have long known that there comes a time when one needs to take a stand and turn your back on the people beside you. It’s just what we do.

S.L. Klassen – Drunken Mennonite

This year, the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) exhibit and Spring Gala will be on the theme of ‘Leaving Canada’. What compelled Mennonites to leave Canada? What would compel us to leave? It is time to look back and learn from the past 100 years and see how it can guide us into the next 100. This thought-provoking exhibit premieres at our Gala on June 4th

The Spring Gala will also include a delicious meal and unforgettable music based on this universal theme of stewarding life well. Get your tickets now! They are $85 each (partially receiptable) or $600 for a table sponsorship (great for business owners who want to treat friends to a meaningful event).  

Photo: Built in 1964, the nine peaks on the MHV Auditorium roof represents the diversity among Mennonite groups. 

Upcoming Events:

MHV’s grounds and Livery Barn Restaurant are now open. See our website ( and social media for the latest times and daily specials.

Spring Gala, June 4, exhibit opens at 5pm, banquet at 6pm. Experience an evening of live music based on the theme of leaving, delicious food, and the unveiling of our newest exhibit, “Leaving Canada: The Mennonite Migration to Mexico”. This fundraising event will support the renovation of the Chortitz housebarn. Tickets are partially receiptible. Call 204-326-9661 or get your tickets online today! 

Tractor Trek, June 11 Join us for a day of stories, food, and trekking with tractors! Register today using the form on our website or pick one up at our reception. All proceeds for this fundraiser support both the Eden Foundation and the Mennonite Heritage Village.  

Backyard Tourist is your opportunity to support local businesses and be entered to win 1 of 2 incredible local tourism pirze packs! Contest runs May 2-18, 2022. Visit for full details!