Reading posts by Jnana Hodson about religious communes in the USA prompted me to compile a list of some of the more notable communal groups of the past and present is Canada. Read Jnana Hodson’s posts here, and here.
1. The Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy and the Huron Confederacy could be considered as having been religious communes. Each of their longhouses was home for many families and also the place where sacred ceremonies were held.
2. The Children of Peace, founded by David Willson and several other families who left the Religious Society of Friends. They built the Sharon Temple at Sharon, Ontario in 1819. The last service there was held in 1899.
3. The Community Farm of the Brethren, founded at Bright, Ontario in 1941 by Hungarian immigrants on Hutterite principles. The founder was Julius Kubassek. They received some help from the Hutterites of Western Canada but were never united with them.
4. The Apostles of Infinite Love, Mont Tremblant, Quebec. A large community with affiliates elsewhere, professing to be a continuation of the true Roman Catholic faith, but rejected by that church.
5. I AM – Institute of Applied Metaphysics, a New Age group founded in the Ottawa area which once had several communities in other parts of Canada. They believed they had the answers for world peace and tried to share them with governments, but could not remain peacefully united among themselves and dissolved.
6. The Christian Community, Woodstock, New Brunswick, was part of a group led by Elmo Stoll. He was formerly an Old Order Amish bishop at Aylmer, Ontario with a heart for non-Amish people seeking a plain lifestyle. He established the first community at Cookeville, Tennessee in 1990. It quickly grew to five communities, including the one in New Brunswick. The movement collapsed after Elmo Stoll’s sudden death in 1998.
7. Fort Pitt Farms Christian Community, Frenchman Butte, Saskatchewan was formed in 1999 by Hutterites who professed to be born again and were excommunicated. They have retained the Hutterite communal lifestyle and now have affiliates in the USA and Australia.
8. Bountiful, British Columbia is the home of two polygamous communal groups who claim to be the true followers of the Book of Mormon.
9. Lev Tahor is an ultraconservative Jewish sect that was first organized at Ste Agathe des Monts in Quebec and has moved numerous times in attempts to escape government scrutiny of their child care practices. They moved to Ontario in 2013, to Guatemala in 2014 and then to Chiapas, Mexico, where several of their leaders were arrested.
10. Lifechanyuan International Family Society, Vancouver, British Columbia. This group was founded in 2009 in China by Xuefeng, They moved to Vancouver in 2017 to escape legal problems. They have a syncretistic belief in the “Greatest Creator.”