At 17 years old, Grace Hofer sounds like your typical Canadian teenager.
She likes to read, play her guitar and enjoys her free time in Saskatchewan's outdoors.
Less typical is where she lives: the Lajord Hutterite Colony, located roughly 30 minutes from Regina.
The colony is one of 72 in the province, a place where Hutterites -- followers of Jacob Hutter, an Anabaptist leader from what is now the South Tyrol province in Italy -- live and work in groups barely larger than 100 men, women and children combined.
While some of the earliest Hutterites originated in Russia, some groups fled to South Dakota to avoid war and persecution. In the late 1960s Hutterites came to Canada. They settled in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan after the mistreatment by two of its members by the U.S. during WWI and as a way to protect their pacifist beliefs.
Today, the Lajord Colony is primarily a farming community, raising and butchering chicken. On the side, it dabbles in dairy farming and features a small factory producing truck scales. It's also open to tours, some of which Hofer leads.
"We're farmers, obviously, but we're modernized farmers. At the same time, we have an old way of life and people are interested in that. They want to know how it was back then," says Hofer.
The bulk of tourists -- Canadians and international visitors from Europe -- come during the summer, the time when the colony is at its best, she says.
The tours are one of the colonies businesses but Hofer says they're also meant to shatter preconceived notions outsiders might have about life in a Hutterite community.
Children in the Lajord Colony are expected to start work around the age of 15 and are typically delegated tasks. Some boys will learn to milk the cows while the girls learn how to cook or butcher the fowls. It may seem like a rigid structure to some but Hofer says to have a colony means to have a workforce that needs to operate efficiently.
As a result, everyone has a role but no one is left behind in society.
Hofer likens life here to living with a big family; it takes some work but that's the beautiful part about it.
"I like it here. I love it here, actually. I don't feel like I'm missing out or anything. I know I have responsibilities here and I'm willing to follow those."
The Huffington Post Canada spent the afternoon with Grace touring the colony. Click on the video above for a brief tour of the Lajord Hutterite Colony.
This series is part of the Great Canadian Road Trip. Road transportation made possible thanks to Nissan Canada.
Brian Trinh is the Huffington Post Canada's travel/ video editor. He's currently on a cross-Canada road trip with freelance journalist Talia Ricci. You can follow their adventures here or check out their Twitter and Instagram pages below.
MORE ON HUFFPOST:
If you’re looking to see some of the Canadian East Coast’s most picturesque scenery and possibly enjoy some great seafood along the way, Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail has got you covered. The Cabot Trail completes a seaside loop of Cape Breton Island, passing through many small communities along the way. For those looking for a more rustic experience there are campgrounds scattered through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, or for a particularly unique experience pop in to the Glenora Inn and Distillery, which is the home of Canada’s only single malt whiskey.
As mundane as parts of the journey can be, there is something to be said for experiencing the prairies first-hand at least once in your lifetime. Farming communities, countless grain silos, and amazing sunsets dot the way as you cross from eastern Manitoba through to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains that start just outside of Calgary. If there’s one gem to drop in on, it’s the Tunnels of Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan where you’ll be given an interesting lesson on our history during the prohibition years, and the city’s ties to Chicago and the notorious Al Capone.
It wouldn’t be a stop in Alberta if we didn’t drive through the country somewhere along the way. The Cowboy Trail runs north from south of Lethbridge to the outskirts of Edmonton, avoiding major highways and passing through some breathtaking ranch country along the way. The route is quite remote, but it offers an interesting glimpse into the Canadian history of the Wild West. Stop for a horseback riding excursion in Waterton Glacier National Park, or for a real step back in time, check out Marv’s Classic Soda Shop and Diner in the town of Black Diamond.
There’s no way that a list of great Canadian road trips could be compiled without a section dedicated the Rocky Mountains. Any one born and raised east of Alberta will remember that first encounter with the majestic mountain range, and even for those more familiar with the area they are still a sight worth seeing. This route pushes you through the heart of the Rockies in Banff National Park and through to Jasper, the home of some incredible glaciers and the newly opened Glacier Skywalk. The Skywalk opened at the beginning of May and allows visitors to walk 30 metres out over the cliff side to a glass-bottomed lookout suspended 280 metres above the Sunwapta River.
For those less concerned with nature and history, the Okanagan Valley is the perfect destination for some good R&R and of course, some of the best wine in the country. Hundreds of wineries are scattered throughout the valley, and each town and sub-region has enough going on to tie you up for at least a day. Word to the wise, don’t start buying wine at the first winery if you plan on covering the whole region, as you’ll be destined to run out of trunk space before you run out of road.
This one thousand kilometre road trip starts at the southeastern tip of Quebec, and the home one of the province’s most unique geological landmarks: Percé Rock. From there, the highway rolls northward and tracks its way down the mouth of the Saint Laurence River, following in the footsteps of our country’s early settlers. A day or two in Quebec City will provide ample time for another Canadian history lesson before moving on to Montreal for a proper dose of modern Quebecois culture. If you plan your trip for the first weekend of July you’ll be able to catch both Montreal and Quebec City in festival mode, as both the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Festival D’été du Québec are on at that time.
Out of this list, this trip is far more about the many pit stops than it is about the road itself. Aside from the end destination at what’s likely one of Canada’s most recognizable landmarks, the interesting detour here is all about Ontario’s blossoming wine country. The region has received some serious recognition in recent years and even a few of the big BC wineries have set up shop in the region. If a break from the urban grind is on the agenda there are over 22 Bed and Breakfasts to choose from in St-Catharines, which keeps you right in the heart of Ontario’s wine country.
Even with the now-ridiculous costs associated with ferry travel in British Columbia, the Sunshine Coast still has plenty to offer travellers of all sorts. Adventure seekers will love the many local diving sites, kayak rentals and other excursions on hand, and those looking for a slower pace can hop from town to town and explore the region’s diverse artistic community. If you’re looking to really unwind, The Rockwater Resort and Spa is half way up the coast and is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring.
From its southern tip to its western shores, Vancouver Island is another excellent destination for a proper dose of west coast Canadiana. The province’s capital of Victoria is worth a visit if you’re feeling “touristy”, but the trek out to Tofino is one that cannot be missed. There’s something quite special about driving through hours of lush rainforest before breaking through to the coastline. If you wander off and start daydreaming it doesn’t take long to feel like you’re walking through a scene from Jurassic Park. Once in Tofino, you are in BC’s surf paradise, and of course the famed Wickaninnish Inn and the new Way Point Resort are nearby to take care of your premium dining and accommodation needs.
Follow Brian Trinh on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ProjectBLT