Monday, May 11, 2009

Hat to the Park Virtual trip

Marston Report # 18 649 Kms with 2851 to go

I finaly made it to Shaunavon. Now here is an example of what a prairie sky does to a place. Three of the photos have different sky moods and make the same town look like three different places. One of the reasons people always talk about the weather here is because it sets the mood of the day

The exciting thing about Shaunavon is that it is alive and vibrant. It too was settled along the rail line in 1913. Most of these places were just being settled 100 years ago. We have people alive today who were born at that time, so you can see this is recent history.

If you ask people where the banana belt of Canada is, they would most likely answer " The Niagara Penisula" While that may be true there, out here there is another" banana belt" of the prairies. It runs from Medicine HAt to include all this area giving much milder winters and cooler summers.

Shaunavon had many names before the one it has now. The Boomtown, Water Capital of Canada,( eat your heart out Waterton Ontario and Waterville N.S. and Quebec)
Bone Creek Basin ( no one competing for that one) and the Oasis of the Prairies. The last because of the natural springs that produce an abundance of crystal pure water, a valuable, precious resource in this area.

Legend has it the names of the big wheels of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Lord Shaughnessay and Cornelius Van Horne, were combined to form this name. I can see the "Shaun" being bent out of shape from "Shaughn" but as bad as Van Horne's english may have been, I can't believe he would have consented to "Avon" from " Van"
Even F.G. Horsey ( real name) the C.P.R. townsite rep. in 1913 said " I was personally in the Calgary office when a wire came through from Lord Shaughnessay declining the honour of having the town named after him. But he did suggest they name it after an area near his home town in the old countryof Ireland"

Trouble with "ol Horsey's statment is that Shaughnessay was born to dirt poor parents in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and there is no such a place as Shaunavon in Irleland.
As the C.P.R archives are silent on the matter, I guess no one will really learn how the name came about.

In the summer you can catch the" I Love Shaunavon" parade and festival, or Showarama, featuring local merchants, , Boomdays and the Shaunavon Rodeo, ( rodeo stars all the way from the Calgary Stampede come here), or if you arrive in winter, The Show of Lights.
If that doesn't turn your handle then there is the Bowling alley, walking trails, Recreation Complex, tennis courts, horsehoe pits, swimming pool, library, playgrounds, fitness center, golf course, Darkhorse Theatre, Ball park and curling. IF none of these fit your style, maybe you should have considered staying home and sulking.

The only other big event was back in the 1990's.when the Crowe Rate was removed.. If you don't know what the Crowe rate was then you should look it up, or Western farmers will remain up set for ever. The up shot of it was the farmers were then forced to cover the cost of shipping their own grain to world markets.
It became cheaper to truck to larger terminals like Swift Current. So C.P.R began demolishing the grain elevators all along their rail lines.They had hired a salvage company to rip up all the rails when the grain farmers rose up and formed a coalition to stop them. Today they have purchased the remaining wooden grain elevators at Shauvavon, Admiral, East End, Ponteix and Neville but in some of those towns, thats all that remains of the former settlements.The Great Western Railway, is owned by the coalition and operates a shortline through southwest Saskatchewn.

So thats it for tonight, kiddies, the temperatures are rising, but still cool at night


Doug G

Thanks Doug

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