As the sign says, there actually is a place called Big Beaver, Saskatchewan, located on the Missouri Coteau at the western end of the Big Muddy Badlands. The 2006 census said there were 20 people living in Big Beaver, maybe a couple fewer today. In its heyday – the 1920s – Big Beaver boasted 300 people, a six-room schoolhouse and four grain elevators, including, in 1925, the biggest inland grain terminal in the British Empire.
Today Aust’s Store is the hamlet’s only business. A classic country general store – their motto is “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it” – Aust’s offers the full gamut of merchandise. Groceries, farm supplies, stationery, clothing, garden supplies and a myriad of stuff you need fill three large joined wooden boxes. Each room has its own distinctive odour, rich and rural. There is even a “coffee shop” with classic advertising and a few locals who love to jaw with strangers. Have a cool drink, relax and chat in Aust’s. Then have a boo in the Big Beaver Museum and Nature Centre which offers sandstone concretions, native hammers, hatchets and pemmican stones along with a collection of stuffed local critters. They have a very good softbound book with area history that is worth buying at about $14. Big Beaver has a small campground, a rodeo every July and is right in the heart of the Saskatchewan Holyland. This is my video panorama of downtown Big Beaver.