Touring Ghost Towns and Abandoned Places in Saskatchewan (Episode 224)

Touring Ghost Towns and Abandoned Places in Saskatchewan (Episode 224)

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Hello everyone and welcome back to the  DanOCan YouTube channel. Yes I am back   in the basement here at DanOCan headquarters  and we're gonna do another Look Back video,   this time at Ghost Town Convention 2008. This  was the second Ghost Town Convention that was   ever held and if you want to learn the history  of it and you haven't watched the last video go   ahead and do that now and then come on back to  this one because this is going to be fun. So I   promise you this video will be shorter than the  last one. Now, for the last one I had about 300  

photos to sift through and I pared those down,  by the time I recorded the narration and told   the story the video was a full hour long so  the video you saw uploaded was a very cut down   version. I think I got rid of about half of it  and got it down to half an hour. I was a little   more meticulous in cutting out pictures this time  time because I had over 500 images to sort through   and I know a lot of you don't have the time to  watch a half hour video, so this one I'm going   to go a little more rapid fire -- despite what  it seems like so far. Let's get right into it.   So, first picture we're looking at here is  from the Ardath United Church. Ghost Town   2008 was again organized by Mike Stobbs and  was hosted or centered in the town of Ardath,   Saskatchewan and the most prominent building in  Ardath was this brick United Church. In the last   video I talked about how curling rinks are right  up there with grain elevators in terms of iconic   buildings on the Canadian prairies and here's  another one. This is the curling rink in Ardath  

and this time instead of doing a crappy detailed  photo of a light fixture, I took a bit of a wider   shot so you can actually see inside the curling  rink. There's what would have been two sheets   of ice there and then a central walkway down the  middle with those railings. Another view there,   kind of looking at the entrance where you  would have come out of that door and onto the   ice surfaces. This one here I included mainly  because I really liked the framing of all the   leaves and grass growing around basically  forming a natural ring around this truck.

Now this is the Ardath community center and  this was really Ghost Town Convention 2008   headquarters. Just to the left of the main door  there you can see a long row of narrow windows   and apparently that was the town's jail cell at  one time. Now, the story went that a fella -- I   can't remember if he was a fugitive on the run or  if he had gotten lost in a snowstorm -- but either   way the police had tracked this fellow down and  by the time they found him he was dead and frozen   to death in kind of a bent position and they had  to bring him back here to the jail cell in Ardath   and basically hang him from the ceiling until he  thawed out and was straight enough so that then   they could bury him. Like I said, I don't know  a lot of details, I don't know how true it is   or not, but that was the story we were told. We  didn't see any ghostly active while we were there  

at the Community Hall. Now if anyone's going to  be haunting the Community Hall, it's going to be   this fella -- and I'm really sorry I forget  what his name was, I'm sure Mike Stobbs will   chime in in the comments below and let us know  because Mike had talked with him and, you know,   basically secured and rented the Community Hall  from him. But this fella -- here he was probably   in his late 80s maybe early 90s at this time in  2008, he's since passed on -- but he was so proud   of his community center and of course with wooden  sidewalks and the building shifting the door would   not swing open clearly without scraping on the  wooden sidewalk in front of the building. So this   fella went back to his house and got his tool kit  out and started hammering and planing away on the   sidewalk so that our the door would swing open for  us easier. It didn't matter to us that the door   kind of got stuck on that sidewalk but he was not  going to have it unless it was absolutely perfect,   that was just the pride of ownership that he  felt in maintaining that Community Hall. So  

I took these images because I felt they really  captured the spirit and the pride of ownership   that he felt about the Ardath Community Hall and,  for all I know, we were probably the last group to   even rent that hall but he was going to make sure  we had nothing but the best experience. So this   is a photo from inside the Ardath Community  Hall. Very typical of small town community   halls -- you have a stage at one end, some  long tables, some -- you know -- orange chairs.  

And what's really remarkable was this. This is a  hand painted curtain up on the stage and I don't   know whatever happened to this or if it's still in  the Community Hall but, again, that craftsmanship   and pride that went into the creation of this of  this curtain and painting it. It was a remarkable   artifact and I hope it still exists. Another neat  thing in Ardath was this. This is actually a bank   vault. The bank itself is long since gone but this  was the vault that was inside the bank and this is   the entrance to it. It was really hard to find  this. If Mike hadn't known that this was there   you would never find it on your own because you  had to wander through the bush and kind of duck   under branches and things to get here. And this is  what's inside, there was basically an old couch or  

part of a couch and a chair that looks like one  of the chairs from the Community Hall inside the   old bank vault. Very very cool and a neat little  feature of Ardath I'm going to assume is still   there, mainly because it's made of brick and not  many people know about it. I didn't tell you!   Moving on to Bounty, Saskatchewan, this is the  old Bounty Theater. Now this theater is no longer  

there but I am happy to say it has been preserved.  A group of people got together and managed to   raise enough money to have this moved out of  Bounty and it's now located near the museum in   Outlook, Saskatchewan. I've heard it is awaiting  restoration -- or at least the last information   I found online said it was awaiting restoration  -- I don't know its current status but it is no   longer in Bounty but it still exists. Another  look here at the Bounty Theater, trying to get   a little artistic here with kind of a little bit  more in-depth closer shot a little bit of a Dutch   angle there. I really like the old mail boxes in  front and that Bounty Theater sign, of course too.   This is typical of one of the streets  in Bounty. Bounty was, at this time,  

not completely uninhabited. The last census  information I found said it was dissolved as a   village in 1997 and as of 2001 the population was  about six people. I don't know what the population   was at Bounty at the time we were here but it  was one of those places that always kind of had   a feeling that was just a little off and I don't  know if it's just me, but if you've ever gone to   a ghost town that's not completely uninhabited but  there's just enough people around to make you feel   like you're constantly being watched? That was the  feeling Bounty always had for me. Funny enough,   six years later Emily and I would be back in  Bounty in the winter and I would actually get our   Jeep stuck in a deep snow drift and somewhere in  the course of digging it out so that we could back   out and get out of town my handheld GPS receiver  fell out of the vehicle so I lost it. Never did  

find it, had to replace it so, you know, Bounty  and I have always kind of had a bit of a love-hate   relationship. But if you ever found a Garmin  Dakota 20 around 2014 in the town of Bounty,   let me know I'd like to have it back! This  here is another quonset style building,   I don't know if this was a curling rink or not,  as you can see it was marked "no trespassing"   so we didn't really get up close or go inside  but I just love the fact that it still had that   wooden hand-painted sign on there telling  you about the Bounty Fair in July of 1962. Now if you're planning on visiting Bounty today  I should warn you that my understanding -- and   someone will correct me if I'm wrong -- is  that all these lots have now been purchased and   basically the entire town site is sort of a no-go  zone. I have not been there personally since 2014;   I don't know what the situation is there so  I just put it out there as a warning and as a   heads up if you are visiting Bounty be aware  that you may be on private property. I don't   know the status of the town at this time. This  is an abandoned church at Bounty almost hidden   behind the bushes and the trees there but it was  sticking out enough that we could get in there   and took a couple pictures from the inside.  It looked like it was mainly being used for  

storage now there was some dentistry equipment  on the far left of the screen there you'll see   a old x-ray machine, a few vestiges  left of its original use as a church,   you can see center-left the pulpit is still  there, but just the more of a shell than anything. Also in the last video I had talked about  how I enjoy looking on concrete sidewalks   and trying to find dates written on  them. This is an example here where,   I believe it was Mike had come along and cleared  off this edge of the sidewalk, and you can clearly   see PW 1948. So if my math is half decent that  would have been 60 years prior to our visit that  

someone had put their initials in that concrete  still there. Probably still there to this day.   Inside one of the abandoned houses in Bounty,  this is kind of again where I was trying to   get a bit of an artistic flair to some of  my photos. I really like this photo this   reminds me of the scene in Ghostbusters when  Sigourney Weaver is sitting in her chair in   her apartment in New York and that glow starts  coming from the kitchen and then the arms come   out of the chair and grab her and pull her  in -- that is what this reminded me of a lot. Moving on to Conquest, Saskatchewan  and, of course, you can't start any   visit to a Saskatchewan town that has a grain  elevator without showing the grain elevator   and Conquest is interesting in the sense  of it has two of them remaining. I believe   they're both still there as of today  -- again, this was all taken in 2008.

The service station, Sibbald Motors in  Conquest. rRally interesting building.   I love the architecture. I don't know if you  would call this an art deco style -- I'm not   an architect by any stretch of the imagination  nor do I play one on YouTube -- but that rounded   front of the building really makes this  one stand out. Closer look at the door,  

I love the way the paint has faded from this  one and there's still blotches of red showing   through. I just thought it was a really neat  looking door and I love the color on this one.   Took a couple shots through the window  just so you could see what's inside there.   So lots of shelving, few little things left  kicking around there, both of the front counters.  

Another shot through one of the other  windows, kind of looking   old stove there, mostly used for storage  from what I could tell at that time.   Another one here where the photo really is all  about the color and the way the rust from the   sign has started to drip down the side of  the buildings and stain the stucco. I just   really -- again, I really like that up close  detailed photo with the fading and the colors. Next stop is Laura, Saskatchewan. I'm  sad to report this church no longer  

exists in any form. In 2008 when we visited  it wasn't in the best of shape to begin with.   Another look at it here, I mean you can really  see the roof on this one has started to sag and   you knew it was in trouble. It looks like that  scaffolding had been used as some sort of bracing   to try and keep the church standing however it was  a losing cause and it wouldn't be too long after   our visit in 2008 that the main building portion  of the church would collapse and all that was left   for the longest time is that bell tower that's to  the left of the building in this image. The bell   tower stood there for quite a while -- it too is  now since long gone and the site has been cleaned   up so there's really no remnants of this church  left in Laura at all. Stuck the camera through the   one of the open windows and took a photo of the  inside. You could see that the pigeons had pretty   much had their way with the inside so there really  were no fixtures left from its days as a church   but I felt it was important to document the inside  of it as best we could without actually going in.  

Next photo here, I believe we've moved  on to Harris, Saskatchewan -- again,   this was pre-geotagging days for me so I don't  have exact locations but I believe this was near   Harris. I love this photo. I love the old barn,  the old out building, the pump in the foreground,   the grass waving in the wind. I really wish I had  composed it slightly different and not had the   pump and the barn overlapping there; I would have  rather had those two stand out from each other a   little bit more. I mean one of the things to keep  in mind on a ghost town convention is -- you know,   in 2008 I think there were 12 of us on this  -- you're typically moving around in a group   and so you have a lot of people around you  who are all looking at and taking photos of   the same subject matter you are so I maybe  didn't frame this one exactly as I wanted,   probably because I had people on the left and  right of me and there just was no room to shuffle   around and you don't want to fall too far behind  and get separated from the group so you don't want   to wait till everyone else is done so you kind  of got to capture what you can while you can. I post this one here as a warning. This was an old  cistern or well that had been covered over with   wood. A lot of times when you are walking around  in abandoned farm yards or places of that nature,  

there were wells and cisterns and things. This  one was fairly easy to see but they're not always   easy to see and it's a very real risk. It was not  that long ago, maybe two years, where someone who   was out doing abandoned places exploration -- I  believe he was in Southeastern Alberta -- actually   was out by himself and fell into an old well like  this and perished so I mean it's a very real risk.  

You always need to be aware of your surroundings  and be careful of where you're stepping. Now I'm going to get the name of this  town pronounced wrong I have always   called it Tessier using the more French  pronunciation my understanding is that   locals in Saskatchewan call it Tessier so I'm  going to try and remember to call it Tessier.   This is the grain elevator looking down  at the railway tracks in Tessier. And this  

photo here I included because it really shows  to me the importance of the grain elevators   on the Prairie towns. When you look at  this photo you can really tell -- yes,   the main subject is the school, the old school  in front -- but that grain elevator stands out   and is visible from every corner of the town.  Whenever a grain elevator is demolished the town   really loses part of its identity and this photo  I think really shows that. I mean, we're on the  

opposite side of town here but that grain elevator  is still standing there on the horizon and really   is just such a beacon and a landmark for the whole  surrounding area. Also in the last video, I had   talked about the General Store at Hallonquist and  that unique architecture with the angled door and   the is another example of it  from Tessier. Still in Harris, looking across   the tracks at the museum. The old water tower  used to sit right beside the railway tracks,   the foundation is still there, the water tower  itself has been moved over to the museum and   has been restored and actually inside the base of  the water tower they have exhibits. The old steam   engines always had to be able to replenish their  water supply and so these water towers really   were the lifeblood of the railway and there's  not that many of these old wooden water towers   still around so it's really good to see the  one in Harris has been saved and preserved.   This is the old Harris Hotel. It's still there to  this day. I've never actually been inside of it.  

What I like about this hotel is it's a little  bit of a different style than the other ones   we typically see on the Prairies. A lot of the  classic Prairie hotels are square boxes and very   rectangular in nature...the Harris Hotel with that  hip roof style -- I believe that's a hip roof,   again not an architect-- really just's  very unique and different compared to many of   the hotels that stood along the railway tracks  in these small towns so it's really nice every   time we drive to Saskatoon I always make sure  to take a look over and make sure that the   Harris Hotel is still there and I also love of  course the patina on that sign up on the roof. Good look here at the Harris grain elevator.  

This is taken from the north side of  the tracks, looking to the south. You   can see the caboose and the water tower just  poking through on the left side of it there. Moving on to Feudal now. Feudal did not make  it into my Best Grain Elevators on the Prairies  

video, that was partially an oversight, partially  because it's very similar to Bents. Bents did make   the video but Feudal is a fantastic elevator.  I really love the lighting on this photo and   I also love how the old driveway operates like  leading lines taking you right into the image.  

I'm really happy with this image even though it  was only shot with an old Canon Powershot S3IS. inside the Feudal grain elevator, here's an  old price list for barley dated from 1963. I   just included it because I thought it was kind  of interesting to see an artifact from the 60s   still inside the elevator. Feudal grain  elevator is still there it still exists,   we were just there a couple years ago looking  at it so that's a good sign. Also still there  

is Hillview School, dating from 1907. Your classic  wooden prairie schoolhouse, absolutely fantastic   building. Never been inside of it, didn't try to  go inside of it, but again it's just remarkable   that it still exists. It had just celebrated  101 years when we were there in 2008 so you   add that 15... 116 years old and still there, at  least as of a couple years ago when we were by.

And that brings us to Bents. I know you  saw the Bents grain elevator on the best   grain elevators video and definitely  we're going to see the Bents grain   elevator here in a bit. This is  the old General Store at Bents,   absolutely one of the best abandoned buildings  I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing.   A look inside here. That building through that  doorway to the right side of the photo was   actually the old post office in Bents, there were  still the wooden mail boxes and things inside.  

Bents is a town that, as I mentioned in the other  video, really was a victim of its own success. In   terms of being a ghost town, it got way too much  attention, way too many people visited it, and not   everyone who visits ghost towns -- unfortunately  -- treats them with the respect they deserve.   In speaking back in 2008 with some of the  people who had seen the Bents General Store   earlier just a few years earlier, these shelves  used to be stocked with merchandise and items   and it was in a much better state and condition  but, unfortunately, you know, vandals, thieves,   people with less than noble intentions got  wind of it and Cents suffered a lot for it.   Another look at the old General Store. I  know one of the things that was mentioned   to me when we visited that, you know, you can  see those mutton bars up in the windows on the   top floor. Those used to be still intact in  all the windows on the main floor so, again,   just people being idiots and stupid and ruining  things for those of us who truly appreciate it.  

And the the General Store building is still there.  As I talked about in previous Bents videos, Bents   is on private property now, the road to it has a  chain across it and is marked as Road Closed , No   Trespassing -- so it's not a place you can visit  without permission. Back in 2008, Mike secured   permission for us to be there. And, yes, the Bents  grain elevator, the all-time classic. Probably,   I would say, the most photographed Saskatchewan  grain elevator -- probably right up there with   Dorothy in terms of the most photographed elevator  on the Prairies. It's amazing how in 2008 it was   in such great condition, relatively speaking. When  we visited in 2021 -- I guess it was December of  

2021 -- most of that driveway on the right side  there had collapsed the cupula was tipping over   and has since fallen so Bents really doesn't look  like this anymore, unfortunately. It was a great   grain elevator. It's still there as a, you know,  shadow of its former self but this was kind of it,   I think, at its peak level in terms  of ofaAbandonment. And this one here,  

I just like this photo. I like the different  angles looking up at the grain elevator,   a couple birds in flight there, and  whenever I see this photo it just reminds me   of the feeling of awe that you get when you stand  at the foot of a grain elevator and look up. And   if you've never done it, I highly suggest if  you get the chance, to do it just because these   buildings -- yes, you know you can stand at the  foot of a skyscraper in the city and look up and   you can't really see the top. The fact that you  can see the top of a grain elevator makes it both   majestic yet still human scaled, if that makes  any sense, and just the peacefulness that comes   from being near a grain elevator really makes  them remarkable structures to get up close with.   oOerview of Bents, this is the main street...kind  of have the dance hall, the General Store on the  

right side...the elevator on the left, the two  dirt tracks through the grass. Beautiful place,   very peaceful. Again, private property now. That  night we had some really amazing clouds right   around sunset so I took a couple silhouette  shots here of the Bents grain elevator,   again trying to be a little artistic and to just  really capture the feeling of the ghost town. And   we will wrap up this one here with a shot of the  Bents General Store with the moon over top of it.   Amazing place and, I mean -- really -- that can  be said for all of Saskatchewan when it comes to   ghost towns. So, like I promised you, I said  I would make this one faster and a little bit   shorter and I think I did that. Appreciate  you watching and if I don't get out and do  

some adventuring, I'll probably end up doing the  2009 Ghost Town Convention for the next video,   but we'll see how that goes. Thank you very  much and we'll see you in the next video!

2023-03-27 22:47

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