Rural Sask Heart Beat: Fall Road Trip
Late Summer or Early Fall is still a nice time to enjoy a road trip across Saskatchewan. The Summer Heat Waves have passed yet the weather is still warm enough for travelling. One of the prairie perks to road tripping this time of the year is that you may get to see farmers with their farm equipment hard at work in the fields for Harvest 2018.
This column will cover some interesting rural attractions in a number of small towns across the province that are perfect for an end of summer or early fall road trip that won't steer you too far from home.
Assiniboia is located one hour South of Moose Jaw and it's a nice country drive that weaves you around Ardill and the idyllic community of Mossbank.
The Red Coat Community Market runs Sunday, August 26th and Sunday, September 9th at the Assiniboia Civic Centre (Hockey Rink). The September 9th market will be an indoor/outdoor event that features local artisans presenting their hand made crafts. The hours for both markets are 11 am to 4 pm. Lunch will be provided by Assiniboia & District Multiple 4H Club.
Also in Assiniboia there is a new exhibit at the Shurniak Art Gallery located at 122 - 3rd
Avenue West. It's called "Spectrum: Color and Texture" and it is on display until September 30th, 2018. This is a joint exhibition with paintings by Val Moker (From Regina) and woodturnings by Dale Lowe (Loverna, SK). Moker creates portraits in acrylic and her subject matter at the gallery includes rodeo clowns, cowboys and First Nation's people. The Gallery is closed on Saturday,
September 1st and Sunday, September 2nd. The regular gallery hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 4:30 pm. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
Here is another interesting to event to take in. The End of Season Doggie Swim takes place at the Assiniboia Aquatic Centre on Friday, August 31st from 4 to 7 pm. Bring your pet for a refreshing dip in the pool before it closes. Admission is free.
Wheatland Express Excursion Train opened on June 2nd, 2018 and ran between Cudworth and Wakaw. The train runs out of Cudworth Museum. It includes Theme Nights, Dinners and Summer Prairie View and Harvest Dinners, Wine Tasting and Murder Mysteries. The train departs from Cudworth, travels to Wakaw and then back again, making the trip in 2 hours time. People love the excursion train and Cudworth is thriving as a result of it. The train is attracting visitors from across the globe including visitors from Florida, New York and Germany. The last trip for the
Wheatland Express Excursion Train departs on October 6th, 2018. Find out more in their website.
Ten new Brandon Elm Trees were planted along Railway Street on August 8th, 2018, and the trees are now 10 to 12 feet tall. Davidson Communities in Bloom used its grant from the Town of Davidson to buy and pay for the planting of the trees. The trees were purchased from Doug Bartel (Runs Copper Lake Trees in Drake, SK).
Davidson Artist Gail Prpick painted a gorgeous prairie lily on the Big Coffee Pot (Off Highway #11). The Coffee Pot can be seen from the highway and is an extremely popular roadside destination. It features the Town of Davidson logo on one side and the Western Red Lily on the opposite. You can also visit her art gallery called And Art Gallery at 112 Washington Avenue.
The Lumsden Duck Derby, which began in 1987 is a fundraiser held each Labour Day weekend in which 25,000 rubber ducks will race down the Qu’Appelle River. The 20 fastest ducks rewarding their owners with a prize.
The Lumsden Duck Derby raises money for Lumsden Sports Association. For example, last years duck derby, along with a new provincial matching grant program managed to raise over $40,000 to help pay down the mortgage on the new ice plant and ice-resurfacer at Lumsden’s community owned and operated ice rink, helping to keep down the cost of hockey and figure skating for local families.
I attended the Duck Derby in September 2013 and enjoyed the pancakes, smokies and sausage breakfast, the musical performances in River Park and watching the ducks floating down the Qu'Appelle River.
Race Day is coming up on Monday, September 3rd, 2018. Events include a Pancake Breakfast at Centennial Hall (40 - 3rd Avenue) from 8 to 10 am, Outdoor Arts Festival & Entertainment in River Park (10 am to 5 pm), Parade to Post at 1:30 pm, Duck Drop in River Park at 2:30pm and Beer Gardens in River Park (11 am to 7 pm).
Check out the website at www.duckderby.ca
Ogema is located halfway between Assiniboia and Weyburn along Highway #13. Southern Prairie Railway has been running since 2012. You receive a day ticket to visit the museum as part of your train ticket. The 1922 Pullman passenger car is pulled by a General Electric 44-ton switcher
locomotive. There is one unisex bathroom on the train as well as on the grounds of the Ogema train station.
Season ends for the Southern Prairie Railway on September 30th, 2018. The Sunday Heritage Train Tour starts at 1:30 pm. It leaves Ogema Train Station and goes to Horizon, Saskatchewan where you will receive an exclusive tour of a 1922 Federal Grain Elevator and then return to the Ogema Train Station. Fowl Supper starts at 5 pm and includes a Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings.
Learn more about the Southern Prairie Railway at the website www.southernprairierailway.com
Ogema is also home to the Deep South Pioneer Museum. This pioneer village includes 30 historic buildings from Ogema and surrounding communities as well as thousands of operating pieces of antique machinery and artifacts. Jean Shaver Art Gallery opened at the Deep South Pioneer Museum in 2016, and the gallery houses 22 of her oil paintings and a few clay sculptures.
British America Gas Station (Built in 1925 on Ogema's Main Street) is one of the only remaining corner stations in Western Canada. Visitors can also visit the Fire Wall and Fire Hall which were built after a great fire in 1915 destroyed much of Main Street.
Ogema Regional Park owns a second hand store in Ogema. The store is called Second Time Around and is located on Main Street. The store is run by volunteers and all profits from this store go towards the Park.
Hours of operation are Monday and Wednesdays 1:00pm to 5:00pm and Saturdays 9:00am to 12:00pm.
Enjoy the rest of the nice weather and drive safe.