Mennonite Heritage Village

Slowing Down

November 9, 2023

By Nita Wiebe

“So, it must be slowing down for you these days” is what I often hear once October and November roll around.  People are curious as to what we do in our off-season at MHV, and many are surprised when I say that it’s very busy, just a different kind of busy.


Once our Village closes in October, visitors still keep arriving. The weather is often quite lovely, and people want to wander the grounds even if all the buildings have been closed up for Winter. There are many monuments and informational signage throughout the Village, plus the two indoor galleries are open for visiting. When the snow falls, our visitors drop off until our Winter activities start. There is a skating rink and snowshoeing, kick-sleds and an amazing light display throughout the Village. The back of the General Store is open as a warming hut and the place where you pick up the skates or sleds you have rented. With the twinkling lights, the bonfire roaring, and the horse-drawn sleighs, the atmosphere is magical! Preparing for this keeps us very busy: lights to hang, ice to make, sleigh rides to arrange, streets and trails to groom.


The people who come to the Village in Winter are often here for a special event. Our Auditorium is filled with more than 28 different vendors during the Christmas Market (the second Saturday in November).  In December, various companies host their staff Christmas parties here. We have Author’s Nights, where local book lovers come to hear local authors reading from their works. In February, our Winter Carnival is well attended. Our education department offers programming for school groups, with ‘hands on’ participation or Winter camp options. Of course, all the preparations for these events keep us very busy: setting up rooms for their renters, prepping crafts for the Kid’s Corner at the Market, contacting volunteers that run the Carnival canteen, arranging for the local authors to read, ordering their books.

Village Books & Gifts

The off-season is the time to assess in the gift shop. We do inventory of our stock in books as well as our gift items and the local consignment accounts. Many people come to buy unique gifts here, candy, stocking stuffers and, of course, the book on Dad’s Christmas list. We make sure the candles and the T-shirts are well stocked to make your shopping easy. The phone still rings, but instead of folks wanting to know our hours of operation or whether we have animals in the barns, it’s people wanting to know if we have crokinole boards and Grandpa’s wormwood ointment. Really, there is never a day to be bored. Always something to get to. There may be a few extra minutes to connect with a client in the shop or with a visitor, but that’s a good thing. It’s just a different kind of busy!

All Year Long

The next time you drive by the Museum, and you see 30 cars in the parking lot, you know we are busy. The day after that, you may only see 4, but you now know that we are still busy! Things never really slow down; they just change from season to season. Our busyness makes the Village a great place for the community to come together and play. All year long.

Upcoming Events:

“Keeping Time: The Art and Heritage of Mennonite Clocks” exhibit is being presented at the Manitoba Museum. Visit the exhibit from Oct. 27-Feb. 25. This is an exhibition developed by Kroeger Clocks Heritage Foundation in partnership with Mennonite Heritage Village.

Main gallery and Russländer exhibit, open Tuesday to Saturday, 9-5pm. Visit MHV’s two galleries, including the award-winning Russländer exhibit, about the Mennonites who immigrated from Russia to Canada in the 1920s.

Christmas Market, November 11, 1-6pm. Our Christmas Market will feature local vendors, children’s crafts, and hot lunch! Admission is a Tin for the Bin, new toys, or a cash donation to Southeast Helping Hands.  

Local Authors Night, November 15, 7pm. Join us for a night of local authors, celebrating the books written in and about Southeast Manitoba. Includes live music and refreshments.