Reesor is the site of one of northern Ontario’s many former agricultural colonies – in this case, one founded by Mennonites.
Thomas Reesor, an Old Order Mennonite Minister from Markham, Ontario who was employed by the railway, helped settle a number of Russian Memnonite refugees in Northern Ontario. In July 1924, many families decided to travel north and establish a settlement in northern Ontario on land offered by the Canadian Government. The group, accompanied by Thomas Reesor, made the train journey north to their new settlement in the wilderness west of Kapuskasing. The settlement was officially named “Reesor” in recognition of Thomas Reesor, it’s benefactor and founder.
The Reesor United Mennonite congregation began services about 1926, and formally organized in May 1927. Jacob H. Janzen is considered the founding leader of the group.
The settlement was situated along the Trans-Canada highway west of Cochrane, Ontario. It was organized in a traditional Russian Mennonite manne. The settlement initially prospered, reaching a membership of 75 in 1932, but declined rapidly during the Depression. The congregation dissolved on January 5, 1948.
In 2007, the hardships faced by the colonists at Reesor were made into a play, named Reesor, that featured at Fringe Festivals across Canada.