Canadian Utopias Project
This website presents descriptions of utopian settlements built across Canada from the seventeenth to the mid-twentieth century.
Many of these settlements have been written about elsewhere, either individually or in clusters that describe regional, ethnic or religious groups. The reason for bringing them together in one place is to help assess the impact utopianism as an idea had on building Canada from the early seventeenth century until the Second World War. For more go to Purposes.
This project is a tribute to Jeanne M. Wolfe, C.M., Professor Emerita of McGill University’s School of Urban Planning, Montréal, who began the work of identifying built utopias across Canada. After her death, the work was carried on by Professors Beth Moore Milroy, Ryerson University, Toronto, and Brian S. Osborne, Queen’s University, Kingston. For more go to Background.
NEW! A 2021 article by Beth Moore Milroy analyzes connections between utopian settlements and land development. It explores settlements built by 7,000 biblical utopian Mennonites who received land in southern Manitoba in the 1870s. The land had just been taken out of the hands of Indigenous peoples according to terms laid down in Treaty #1. The article sets out a method for analyzing such settlements. It emphasizes contentious issues regarding land, the ingredient every built utopia needs. To read further, see “Enacting utopia: Utopia’s investment in Canada’s land and its settlement-building past“.
NEW! A 2018 article in Hungarian Studies Review by Jason F. Kovacs provides further detailed discussion of the four Hungarian settlements he writes about on this site: Hun’s Valley, Esterhaz-Kaposvar, Otthon & Bekevar.
NEW! Forthcoming in July 2021 from University of Toronto Press, a book titled All things in common: A Canadian family and its island utopia by Ruth Compton Brouwer. It greatly expands the 2016 description and analysis found on this site of the Compton Community of Prince Edward Island.