The United States and Canada are the primary places in the world with Amish communities. There are a handful in other countries: Ireland, Belize, Bolivia, and Argentina. But the USA and Canada are the main locations for the Amish. One of the best-known and largest settlements in Canada is at Aylmer, Ontario. The Amish of Aylmer are a diverse and interesting group!
The Aylmer, Ontario Amish settlement is unique, because of its position as an "intellectual center" of the church. There’s not much “touristy” to do there, so I’m not sure I’d plan a special trip just to go to Aylmer. But if you were passing through the area anyway or wanted to sort of throw it in as a larger visit to surrounding area of Ontario then by all means go. I made the mistake of visiting Aylmer during the belly of one of their worst winter’s in a decade. It’s a charming community, but I’d love a chance to return in the spring or summer sometime.
About 90 families, approximately 1000 Amish people, live in the area. Many Mennonites also live here.
The first Amish arrived to the area in 1953.
Aylmer is often viewed one of the most "intellectual" Amish communities since it is home to Pathway Publishing, which churns out all sorts of Amish-related texts and periodicals. The office is located on a quiet country road east of town.
The Aylmer settlement is a "Plain melting pot" with there also being a lot of Mexican Mennonites who have returned to settle in Canada and a sizable population of Russian Mennonites who have retained a lot of their motherland customs. Each group can be spotted around town.
If you are going to visit Aylmer, here are some of my favorite stops and shops!
🛒 Favorite Amish Businesses
HOPE FARM MARKET: 50521 Glencolin Line. Ira Stoll and his family have an on-farm store with fresh veggies, fruits, and eggs available. Sometimes some jams and baked goods also!
HOPE ECO-FARM STORE: 51681 College Line. On most Fridays and Saturdays they have fresh baked goods. This is a cooperative of dozens of area Amish afarms.
THE WOODPECKER: 9600 Walker Road. This is an Amish furniture store that has produced and sold quality, handcrafted solid wood furniture for over 30 years. They also have outdoor furniture that is a much better than average quality. This furniture is made by a local Mennonite man.
STOLL BROTHERS CUSTOM KITCHENS is located at 10737 Walker Road. These men were toddlers when I first met their family almost three decades ago. Their father, Timothy, has a sawmill, so working with wood was a natural extension for them.
PATHWAY PUBLISHING: 10380 Carter Rd Rr 4....this is a very nondescript building, but is the beating heart of Amish theology and thought. Pathway publishes and distributes books, texts, and tracts by Amish and Mennonite authors. They have an on-site bookstore that is open to the public.
MENNO-MEX: This is an amazing store at 49919 Talbot Road in the town of Aylmer. You'll find a mishmash of traditional Mexican staples and Mennonite foods. Breakfast burritos are legendary as are the made-to-order lunch sandwiches, spices, and beverages. We loved this store!
Accommodations are not plentiful in and around Aylmer, but we stayed at Pinecroft, a Bed & Breakfast in town. To someone like me who studies Amish culture, the name was kind of funny because PINECRAFT is a well-known Amish community in Florida. But the name Pinecroft has nothing to do with Pinecraft. There also is a Comfort Inn about 15 minutes away in St. Thomas.
📹 Video Tour
Check out my video tour of Aylmer here! My only regret is that I was there during the winter. I would have loved to have visited during spring or summer!
🧑🍳 Aylmer Amish Recipe
Nothing more quintessentially Canadian than a homemade butter tart! Click here for our recipe.