Saturday, September 3, 2011

A day in Saskatoon

Saturday August 15th, 2011 was day 41 of the Share the Road, Share the Ride Motorcycle Awareness Conga and I spent the day with fellow rider Terry Hartshorne of the Saskatchewan Lonewolves.

Terry took me for a ride down along the river. The one street had such a huge canopy of trees shrouding it, you almost felt like you were in the country. We went to the river and Terry explained to me that there was a berm built in the South Saskatchewan River that is considered extremely dangerous because of the under tow it creates.

Saskatchewan RiverHe toured me around town pointing out different buildings and sites and then we went to his mom and dad’s for lunch – a feed of green tomatoes –which I had never had before and fish with corn.

Boom Town at the Western Development Museum
I ate so much I thought I was going to burst! After a wee bit of a visit, Terry and I decided to take in Boom Town at the Western Development Museum.
The fair was on so getting there was a bit of a challenge as traffic was super heavy, but it was so well worth the effort!

From the minute you walk into the museum you are completely transported back to simpler times.
Bank of Nova Scotia
Bank of Nova Scotia
 Every display mimicked the times and the eras they represented.  The street of Boom Town had it all, a restaurant, hotel, pool hall and barber shop.  The meat Shop cracked Terry up! The sign read – The home of Fresh Killed Meat!  The Fire Hall was really cool, filled with great examples of hand pulled and horse pulled fire trucks. The Black Smith Shop was another of my favourites.

Dry Goods Store
Dry Goods Store
The Watch Repair Shop/Jewellery Shop was filled with fine examples of cuckoo clocks and watches of the day. Some were truly fine pieces!

I spent a good long time in the Newspaper Office marvelling at the old type setting equipment and the primitive and yet effective way they used to communicate. The other place I got a charge out of was the Bank of Nova Scotia. Somehow I could see an old scene running through my head from some old western – you know, the robbers enter the bank – the horses tied up out front, ready to spirit the robbers away!
Watch Shop
Watch Shop

The jail house was pretty cool. It featured an RNWM Police officer and his desk and sleeping quarters. The cage that served as a jail cell parked right next to the officer’s desk!

The Dry Goods Store was filled with all kinds of old shoes, spats, Mary Janes…my gawd, that I even remember those things! You could buy a suit or a dress among other things here.
Chinese Laundry
Chinese Laundry

RNWM Police
RNWM Police
The pharmacy, the doctor’s office and the Chinese Laundry were all such interesting and intriguing displays. You felt like this town had been abandoned and found the way it was left.

The Steam EnginesThe shelves stocked and the antique automobiles and horses that were in the street, the buggies (some of them were just incredible, in such good shape), all combined, they left you with that surreal feel of actually being in a ghost town. 
But the shops of Boom Town were just the beginning. The Steam Engines and evolution of the train display was mind blowing. The enormity of this indoor display takes your breath away. They cover so many “generations” of the train. 

A Sod House
A Sod House
The Dirty Thirties Display took me straight back to memories of the photo albums and the stories shared with me by my dad, and his parents, my grand parents.  The old tractor buried in the wind swept dirt, the simplicity and harshness of the times. The stories of failures and triumphs, rickets and scurvy were all brought back to the fore of my memory.  The thirties were so hard on everyone, but the farmer in particular had it extremely hard and this series of displays depicted more stories so similar to the ones shared with me by my family members.

The Dirty 30's
The Dirty 30's
 The Eaton’s Catalogue house display was a curious one. Because my grand father was a carpenter he had built every home he and grandma ever lived in, this was something I don’t remember hearing of, buying your house out of a catalogue.

I learned that from the early 1900's until the late 1930's, catalogue homes were very popular in rural western Canada. The T. Eaton Company was one of several companies that provided plan books and drew plans for houses. The materials were shipped by rail to the nearest community and then hauled to the site for construction. The house that bears the T. Eaton plan # 674 had a catalogue price that included shingles, lumber, doors, mouldings, windows, paint, nails, hardware and building paper ranged from $1577 in $2049 in 1916!
The total price of the house depended on the extras that were added on. For the sum of $146.00 more you could add a "Hot Air Heating Plant" and for $180.00, a complete "Plumbing Outfit". The basement concrete and interior finishing were also extra.

A home with brick veneer could cost $8000 to build in 1917-1918.
Some of the extras that were available were a Delco power plant, a central vacuum, a septic system, a dumb waiter to the larder, a laundry chute and a separate stairway to a bedroom for the hired help. It was an education reading about the different kind of houses you could buy and the extras you could get with them…

The displays on agriculture and the history of the tractor were all as impressive as the others. You walked into a display and a recording came on explaining the history of the dirt house, the farmer’s wife and how hard her job was. Or you would hear the story about the evolution on the tractor; you could take a burn in the combine simulator, it sure gives you an appreciation for all who learned and evolved to provide us with the modern equipment we have today.
Tractor in the museum 
The evolution of the automobile was incredible, from the old buggy’s by companies like John Deer to Cadillac’s and old Ford’s. There isn’t a gear head alive who wouldn’t love this part of the museum’s displays. I could have spent twice the amount of time there that I did!
Automobiles in the Museum

It was already 5 o’clock and time to leave the museum behind. Both Terry and I commented to each other how enjoyable that had been. It was a great way to spend 3 and a half hours! We rode over to Uncle Barley’s and had a visit with Mustang Ani and then since Terry had offered to BBQ for supper, we rode back to his place and I visited with the dogs – two rescue pit bulls and three birds. The Amazon Grey Parrot was HILARIOUS. The things that bird could say! None of it bad, but he was a closet talker, he’s wait until you were leaving and say – See you later! By now…

After a good feed, Terry rode me back over to the hotel. I got my bike packed up and ready to go because in the morning I would be riding with the Canadian Legion of Riders in North Battleford.

If you are interested in visit the Western Development Museum & Boom Town in Saskatoon:
2610 Lorne Avenue South Saskatoon, SK
Canada  S7J 0S6

Tel: (306) 931-1910
Fax: (306) 934-0525
Web Site: