Back Roads of Southern Saskatchewan

I spent a stormy, blustery afternoon exploring the back roads of Southern Saskatchewan, in my quest to photograph old homesteads. I managed to find one before my fingers turned numb. I like the textures of the roof and walls, showing various states of decay. The relics inside can reveal a bit about the past inhabitants.

Historic Saskatchewan Homestead

My friend Sarah invited me to photograph her family’s historic farm, where I had the great pleasure of meeting “Grandma Betty”. By the time we arrived, the sun was high in the sky. The clouds were sparse, with sunlight reflecting harshly off the snow. Less than ideal conditions for taking photos.

It didn’t matter, as I thoroughly enjoyed listening to family stories while having lunch and walking around the farm. I am grateful to Sarah and Betty for sharing their farm, school house, family history, and gracious hospitality with me.

The Tholl homestead was built by a Scotsman in 1882. Eight children (Betty’s Aunts/Uncles were raised in the house. Granaries were used as additions when the family grew. Betty herself lived in the house until she was 12. The Tholls grew wheat, as they do today.

 

Danceland, a Saskatchewan Landmark

 

Danceland, a dance hall built around 1919, is located in Manitou Beach, SK. This historical treasure, harkens back to an era when couples waltzed to orchestras, and visited with old friends until the wee hours. In the early to mid 1900s, touring bands, such as, Duke Ellington and Lawrence Welk played for hundreds of dancers. The men paid .10 per dance or .25 for 3 dances, while the women danced free.

What makes Danceland unique, is the sub floor which was laid with bales of horse tail imported from Quebec. The six inches of horsehair gives the floor it’s spring. There were similar dance halls in Seattle, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. None of them remain today.

Yes, you can still dance there! Danceland is open year round. There’s also a mineral spring spa in Manitou Beach, which is well worth checking out.

“Hoodoo” You Think You Are?

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Drumheller is touted as the dinosaur capital of the world. There is a 86 ft. high dinosaur. The largest in the world, supposedly. I was more interested in exploring the hoodoos and badlands. The hoodoos trail in a small recreational park setting, was packed with kids, families, and tourists arriving by the bus load. The hoodoos themselves were other worldly. Shooting them in mid day light was less than ideal.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon in the beautiful Midland Provincial Park. I saw far less hikers here. To view more images, go to the portfolios page.

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Endeavoring to Begin Again

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In a year of life changes, I’ve found it challenging to get out “there” to photograph, much less post with any regularity. Within the next month, life will once again settle into a rhythm. Heading east, I will be moving to Saskatchewan, Canada. The wide open, wind-swept prairies and decaying homesteads are what I’m drawn to, at the moment. There is a subtle beauty to the flat countryside, dotted with farms. Especially at dawn and dusk. Very different landscape than the Canadian Rockies, which I will be leaving.