Mennonite Heritage Village

The Village Effect

by Gary Dyck

With ever-increasing urbanity, village life has become that much more precious. It is precious to be part of a smaller community, to know the people you meet on the street and to have the time and the heart to work together when needed.

I love walking down the street at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) and greeting the volunteers by name as they work on the next project. I love how the Steinbach and Area Garden Club take care of the flower gardens while we provide them free meeting space. How MHV can then provide fresh garden produce to a local soup kitchen who provides us a commercial mixer to make lots of waffle batter for our festival days. I love calling up local construction, landscaping, roofing, electrical, plumbing, painting and restoration businesses to offer them work projects instead of seeking bids outside of the community. As a museum of over 30 heritage monuments and buildings we always have a lot of work for them. Companies such as Penn-lite, Paradise Landscaping, ThriveAll, and Racka are often generous in return. Not only do they have good customer service, they also have good community service.

I call it the ‘village effect’. Work that overlaps, is mutually beneficial and creates lasting relationships in the community. Like our Old Colony church whose attic would get filled by the farmers of the church so it could help a neighbour in need. More recently I saw the ‘village effect’ again when MHV needed some subsoil to stabilize our pond shoreline. I called up Fast Brothers which was just removing soil from a nearby church and didn’t know what to do with it. Truck by truck they dumped it all around our pond. They gave us a great rate and we now have a shoreline that has sloped banks and plans for a trail around it.
Our latest partnership is with a tourism software company called RocketRez. They are becoming world-renowned and yet their headquarters are just down the road from MHV. We get a great rate, they get to send their staff to us and see how the software works in the real world. They are also one of our main sponsors for the upcoming ‘Summer in the City visits Fall on the Farm’ event.

I have so many more examples I could share. Let us know if you want to work together! Even as our urban population grows, may we never lose ‘the village effect’.

Upcoming Events

  • MHV grounds, gift shop and galleries are open seven days a week.
  • Livery Barn Restaurant open Thursday to Sunday 11am for lunch and Thursday for lunch and supper.
  • Rhubarb Jam every Thursday evening in September. Come enjoy good food while listening to or participating in local music on our Peter Barkman Summer Pavilion stage. No museum admission necessary to attend.
  • Summer in the City Visits Fall on the Farm, September 4-6, free entry. This year we are partnering with Summer in the City to host a special weekend festival event. Please check our website for latest information on current health restrictions. The Summer in the City organization will be providing their Cultures, Kid’s, Senior’s, and Art programming and MHV will be providing some of our regular pioneer programming. Our traditional Fall on the Farm activities will be happening on Monday, September 6th.
  • Mennonites at War Speaker Series, September 14, 7:30 p.m. An online screening of the documentary the “The Last Objector” will be presented through a webinar. Cost is free and you can register on the event page.