Shomria Farm, Ontario

1944 – unknown 
Location: near Prescott, ON. 44º 43’ N, -75º 31’ W

Shomria Farm was a Zionist collective farm located near Prescott, Ontario. The farm was started in 1944 by a small group of young Zionists. Zionism, the movement to re- establish a Jewish State in the land of Israel, emerged in Canada in the late 1800s and gained momentum in the early 1900s. Simultaneously, a global movement emerged to train Jewish youth for this emigration or ‘aliyah’. It was hoped that in this new land, collective farms or ‘kibbutzim’ would be established and create a cooperative way of life. Shomria Farm was one of the first of such training farms established by Zionists in Canada.

The 200-acre property was rented by the Hashomer Hatzair organization. At the time, Hashomer Hatzair was a progressive, socialist Zionist youth movement established in the 1920s to prepare Jewish youth for emigration to Palestine, later Israel. Hashomer Hatzair was one of a number of such organizations established for this purpose. Shomria Farm was operated by both young men and women. These young people had been living together in collective houses in Toronto and Montreal prior to arriving in Prescott. Approximately 14 to 20 people lived on the farm. An account after five months suggests that the group was successful in getting the farm underway. Members quickly put seven hectares under cultivation, producing a variety of vegetables for the consumption of the group and for the market. During the winter, the majority of members continued to reside on the farm but attained employment in the factories in Prescott. At the expense of the group, one member also attended poultry training courses at a nearby agricultural college. It is unknown for how long the farm remained in operation or whether any of its members later emigrated to Israel after the war as planned. The exact location of the farm in Prescott is unknown.

by Jennifer L. Wardle
19.08.13

References

  • Azrieli, David. (2008). Rekindling the Torch: The Story of Canadian Zionism. Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books Ltd.
  • CFCC Newsletter. (1944, August). York University. Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections. Robert Owen Foundation Fonds. 1989-07/018 (9/1400).
  • CFCC Newsletter. (1944, November). No. 5. York University. Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections. Robert Owen Foundation Fonds. 1989-07/018 (9/1500).
  • CFCC Newsletter (1945, May). No. 7. York University. Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections. Robert Owen Foundation Fonds. 1989-07/018 (9/1500).
  • First Harvest. Hechalutz Farm “Shomria”, Prescott Ont. (1944, October). York University. Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections. Robert OweFoundation Fonds. 1989-07/018 (9/1500).
  • Tulchinsky, Gerald. (2007). Canada’s Jews: A People’s Journey. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.