Hespeler was “a figure of national historic importance”

Summerland resident helped bring more than 7,000 Mennonites to Canada

In 2007, the Canadian Government officially recognized William Hespeler as “a figure of national historic importance because of his key role in the settlement and development of Western Canada.”

Hespeler (1830-1921) was an alderman, Justice of the Peace, MLA and Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly. But he is most recognized for the central role he played in the immigration of more than 7,000 Mennonites from Europe to Manitoba.

He was one of the first people to buy property from the Summerland Development Company in 1903.

In 1907, his son Alfred (1858-1928) operated the 18-acre Hespeler orchard, named the Eberstein Ranch.

Hespeler is honoured by the town of Hespeler Ont., Hespeler Park in Nivervillle Man. and streets named Hespeler in Winnipeg and Steinbach, Man., Hanover, Cambridge and Brampton, Ont. and Summerland.

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