06/24/2014 11:53 EDT | Updated 01/05/2017 10:29 EST

Why A Trip To This Hutterite Colony Will Leave You Surprised

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.

Follow Brian @ProjectBLT and @TalRicci on Twitter or on Instagram here and here


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