Motorists driving past the Mennonite Heritage Village have no doubt noticed the structure being built near the pond.

MHV Director Gary Dyck reveals that the building under construction is a pergola that is part of the Dirk Willems Peace Garden. The bronze, life-sized sculpture at the site depicts the martyred Dutch Anabaptist who turned back to rescue his jailer who fell through thin ice.

He explains that the project is split into three phases. “The first was the Dirk Willems sculpture itself which was done by Peter Sawatzky and was put in place in 2018. And then it took a while to raise the next portion for phase two, which was the pergola. There will be some panels put on it, some information, anecdotes about the Mennonite position on peace.”

Dyck remarks that it has been a very busy year for the MHV. He also shares about the work that will be involved in the third phase of the project.

"This is the year where we're going to complete the Peace Garden and we're going to restore this pond shoreline and hopefully build a path all the way around it, plant some more trees and just really increase the use of our museum grounds on the south side of it for the first time in 50 years,” he elaborates.

Dyck goes on to say that the next phase will see the addition of field stones and garden benches around the area. "People can come here and just contemplate, read the stories, the anecdotes, and just continue to grow in their understanding of the Mennonite peace position and what our world needs today and just kind of enjoy the wellness aspect of it too.”

Dyck, who stepped into the role of Executive Director in early 2019, is pleased with all the ongoing improvements in the village and encourages the community to continue learning about Mennonite culture and heritage through the MHV’s projects and activities.

Asked about how the village can be appreciated not just by those of Mennonite descent but also by the growing multi-ethnic community in the region, Dyck responded, “I think it would be great to have other voices and other perspectives and experiences in the mix. And we definitely welcome that and want to continue to grow in connecting with all our community.”