Monthly Archives: February 2012

Manitoba Heritage Under Duress

Reid Dickie

I was going through my photographs of  Manitoba heritage sites and came across this piece of Manitoba heritage that was lost to vandals in 2004.

Glenboro Canadian Pacific Railway Water Tower, Railway Avenue, Glenboro, MB

 

The very best example of an octagonal wooden railway water tower in Manitoba stood beside the tracks from 1904 until its destruction by arson in 2008. This design, the Standard No. 1 Plan was pioneered by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1903 and quickly became part of the Manitoba landscape. Between 1902 and 1925, the CPR constructed 75 water towers in the province every 80 kms (50 miles) which was how far a steam train could travel before needing water.

The Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism offers further details on the site: Constructed in 1904, the Glenboro structure is the best surviving example of an intact, fully-equipped water tower in Manitoba. The adjacent pumphouse fed water to the tank inside the water tower. A coal-burning boiler powered an interior water pump and prevented the water in the tank from freezing. In 1939 this pumping mechanism was replaced by an electric motor and pump installed inside the tower. A ball, or “float”, glided along a pole atop the tower to indicate the level of the water in the tank. The cedar water tank, with a capacity of 181,840 litres (40,000 gallons) of water, rests upon a framework of large wooden support timbers. By the late 1950s, the railway companies converted to diesel-powered locomotives which made the water structures obsolete. This tower once stored the community water supply for the Village of Glenboro.

Alas, the old water tower was burned to the ground by arsonists in April, 2008 and its rich and consequential heritage value went up in  smoke. Several other fires were set in Glenboro the same night. Glenboro is plagued by a firebug who set several fires previous to the destruction of the water tower and since, recently in the summer of 2011.

Because of the in situ value of heritage sites, they are often in an isolated area without close human habitation or they are vulnerable due to lack of physical protection. Another Manitoba heritage site that has recently been vandalized is the Criddle Vane homestead near Shilo. The old house Percy Criddle built in the late 1800s today stands empty and open, its windows smashed and replaced with plexiglas. My post on the Criddle Vane homestead is here and you can watch my video tour of the house and surrounding area here.

You might also be interested in the research done by Westman Paranormal which has recorded some of the spirit events inside the Criddle Vane house.   

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Filed under Heritage Buildings, Local History, Manitoba Heritage

Deeds Done in the Darkest Hours

Reid Dickie

“It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.” – Joseph Stalin

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini 

How pathetic that I have to quote two monsters from the 20th century to frame the crimes against freedom and democracy currently unfolding in Canada. Hot on the heels of Spy Bills C-11 and C-30 comes Robogate or whatever you want to call the highly organized and concerted effort by the Reform-Conservatives to fix Canada’s 2011 election and get a majority government. 

Their tactics are familiar and have been used consistently in American elections to confound and confuse the electorate before and during election day. Here are four quick pages from the US Playbook for Political Scumbags that partly explain how the Ref-Cons did it in Canada:

  • In the weeks leading up to the election, thousands of people received calls from people claiming to be from the Liberal Party. The caller would be rude, call late at night, early in the morning or in the middle of the night, say outrageous things then hang up;
  • On election day, robocalls were made to thousands of Liberal and NDP households telling them their voting place had been changed, usually to somewhere an hour away with very bad parking. (The criminality is very refined and thorough);
  • On election day opposition voters were offered rides to their voting place but the rides never showed up; 
  • Also on election they used this form of sabotage, from a news report: 

 “When Robin Warren of Montreal showed up to vote on Monday, she said her name had been crossed off the voter list. She had to sign an affidavit swearing she had not voted already. While Warren was at the polling station, she said another woman who lives in the same apartment complex had an identical problem.

“On my way back home after we dealt with all this I ran into another group of ladies outside and all their names were crossed off the list, and they had to go through the same thing of signing affidavits. There’s something not right here. There’s too many people in one building,” Warren said. She called Elections Canada to complain but she said the elections agency called the situation an irregularity.”

Wake up Canada! This isn’t “dirty tricks.” That’s mainstream media doublespeak intended to downplay the significance of, what one of my friends calls, treason. Other MSM terms for this include “prank” “hoax” and “mischief.” In Harper’s Canada, treason is now described as “mischief.” Is that the Canada you live in? 

Here are some numbers for your consideration:

  • So far, 43 ridings (see list below) from coast to coast where robocalls were used have been identified;
  • The Ref-Cons won 29 of the 43 seats;
  • Six of those ridings were won by less than 1000 votes, three of them by less than 500 votes, two by less than 30 votes;
  • The Ref-Con majority in the House of Commons is just 10 seats;
  • 100,000s of illegal robocalls were made to Canadians before and during election day;
  • Two firms (Racknine in Edmonton, Responsive Marketing Group [RMG] in Thunder Bay) connected to the Ref-Cons have been identified as sources of some of the calls.

There is much much more information about this to emerge but based on what we know so far, is there a smoking gun directly linking Harper and the Ref-Cons to these crimes? You decide. In the National Post’s first story they included this paragraph about election day events at Elections Canada:

Internal Elections Canada emails obtained under Access to Information legislation show officials were rattled by the calls. At 11:06 a.m., election officer Anita Hawdur sent an email to legal counsel Karen McNeil with the header: “URGENT Conservative campaign office communications with electors.” Hawdur reported that returning officers were calling to ask about the calls. McNeil responded by asking Hawdur to alert Rennie Molnar, the deputy chief electoral officer. He later emailed Michel Roussel, a senior director: “This one is far more serious. They have actually disrupted the voting process.”

This links Conservative campaign office in the header with intentional disruption of democracy. Interesting wording: “This one is far more…” as if there were other crimes. How much did Elections Canada really know?

This week, one of the call centre workers at RMG blew the whistle by publicly saying that on election day her work was making calls on behalf of the Ref-Cons to intentionally misdirect voters away from their proper polling place. I admire the bravery of whistleblowers and hope she can preserve her anonymity and suffer no consequences. I pray for her. 

An unsettling news item turned up today. Some of the calls were made from a call centre in North Dakota! Oh, Canada.

Since both the RCMP and Elections Canada (its head is appointed by the prime minister) are under Harper’s thumb, their already-compromised “investigations” won’t likely turn up anything of substance, just more smoke and mirrors.

What you can do!

Since the MSM is falling down in its job again, it’s up to the online community to react appropriately. Let the politicans know you are ticked. Leadnow.ca has an online petition that is sent to Harper, other party leaders and your MP. Almost 30,000 Canadians have already signed it in the past few days. Find the petition at http://www.leadnow.ca/en/index

Inform your friends and family. Talk to them, email them, text them, post information and/or links on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure they understand the dire times we are living in and what’s required of them and everyone to preserve our freedom and democracy.

These are the 43 ridings that have been identified as targets of the Ref-Cons anti-democratic tactics. Cui bono – who benefits? The Ref-Cons won 29 of these ridings. If you live in one of these ridings, your Ref-Con member may not be legitimate. The ridings in bold are Ref-Con seats won by fewer than 1000 votes:

  • Sydney-Victoria (NS)
  • South Shore-St Margaret’s (NS)
  • Egmont (PE)
  • Mount Royal (PQ)
  • Davenport (ON)
  • Guelph (ON)
  • Hamilton East-Stoney Creek (ON)
  • Eglinton-Lawrence (ON)
  • Etobicoke Centre (ON)
  • Essex (ON)
  • Cambridge (ON)
  • Haldimand-Norfolk (ON)
  • Kitchener-Conestoga (ON)
  • Kitchener-Waterloo (ON)
  • Kingston & the Islands (ON)
  • London North Centre (ON)
  • London West (ON)
  • Mississauga East-Cooksville (ON)
  • Niagara Falls (ON)
  • Nipissing-Timiskaming (ON)
  • Oakville (ON)
  • Ottawa Centre (ON)
  • Ottawa-Orleans (ON)
  • Ottawa West-Nepean (ON)
  • Parkdale-High Park (ON)
  • Perth – Wellington (ON)
  • Peterborough (ON)
  • Simcoe-Grey (ON)
  • St. Catharines (ON)
  • St Paul’s (ON)
  • Sudbury (ON)
  • Thunder Bay – Superior North (ON)
  • Wellington – Halton Hills (ON)
  • Willowdale (ON)
  • Windsor Tecumseh (ON)
  • Saint Boniface (MB)
  • Winnipeg South Centre (MB)
  • Elmwood – Transcona (MB)
  • Winnipeg South (MB)
  • Wascana (SK)
  • Edmonton Centre (AB)
  • Edmonton East (AB)
  • Saanich-Gulf islands (BC)

Write to your MP personally. I highly recommend this especially to Ref-Con MPs elected by fewer than 1000 votes. Cut and paste email addresses for all MPs are at http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=3297 Oh, what the hell, email it to every MP.

Put your imagination to work and come up with other inventive forms of protest against the creeping fascism of the Ref-Cons.

For inspiration, I leave you with two things to ponder.

First, this quote from Ref-Con PM Stephen Harper: “Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society. It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff.” Pot, kettle, black. 

And the lyrics to an Elvis Costello song called Night Rally that details a typical evening in a country with a fascist government:

Night Rally

Elvis Costello 1978 British version of This Year’s Model 

I would send out for assistance but there’s someone on the signal wire
And the corporation logo is flashing on and off in the sky
They’re putting all your names in the forbidden book
I know what they’re doing but I don’t want to look
You think they’re so dumb, you think they’re so funny
Wait until they’ve got you running to the
Night rally, night rally, night rally

Everybody’s singing with their hand on their heart
About deeds done in the darkest hours
That’s just the sort of catchy little melody
To get you singing in the showers

Oh, I know that I’m ungrateful
I’ve got it lying on a plate
And I’m not buying my share of souvenirs
You can stand to attention
You can pray to your uncle
Only get that chicken out of here
Everyone gets armbands and 3-D glasses
Some are in the back room
And they’re taking those night classes

You think they’re so dumb, you think they’re so funny
Wait until they’ve got you running to the
Night rally, night rally, night rally

Hear Elvis sing it.

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Filed under Canada Strong and Free, Hope, Idiots, Politics

Correction on Churches page

Reid Dickie

I screwed up!

The picture I’ve have had on my Churches page that I thought was St. Agnes Anglican Church in Carberry is, in fact, Knox Zion Presbyterian Church in Carberry. They have similar designs which confused me.

My error was pointed out to me in a contact through the blog from “Anglican Clergyman.” I appreciate the correction. Thank you. There are pictures and short write-ups about 25 Manitoba churches, mostly in rural Manitoba, on my blog here. This is a picture of the real St. Agnes Anglican in Carberry.

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Filed under Blog Life, Carberry, Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Hitler reacts to online privacy backlash

Canadians – you need to watch this…

 

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Keeping Up with The Past

Reid Dickie

There is a terrific blog created by Christian Cassidy that Manitobans with a passion for our history should know about. This Was Manitoba is an almanac that runs short features on daily events throughout Manitoba’s history. For example, on this day in 1923, thousands of Winnipeggers watched Harry Houdini escape from a straitjacket while suspended 30 feet above the parking lot of the former Free Press Building on Carlton Street. The blog offers information about people and events all over the province. I have added it to the blogroll.

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Filed under Manitoba Heritage, Manitobans of Note, Pioneers, Prairie People, Winnipeg

Take a Minute…

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Filed under Hope, Life and Life Only, Promotion, Spirit

Louis Louis

Reid Dickie

I couldn’t resist the heading.

Mr G dropped me a line after seeing the picture of the Louis Riel statue: “whoa … that statue actually looks like Riel! what happened to the old one? (the one hidden by the concrete cylinder so it couldn’t be seen from the street) And it’s a full-fledged bank-holiday too? My how times have changed.”

Indeed they have, Mr G! The original Louis Riel statue on this same site was erected in 1971. An abstract sculpture by Marcien Lemay and Etienne Gaboury the first commemoration depicted Riel’s “tortured soul” and was enclosed in a tall cylinder open to the north and south. It was a controversial thing, as you can tell by the picture which shows it in its present location. The statue was moved in 1996 and can now found on the grounds of St. Boniface College, 200 ave de la Cathedrale in Winnipeg. Yup, full bank holiday as well!! The coffee shops are full and the streets are empty.

 

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Filed under Art Actions, Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Manitobans of Note, Pioneers

It’s Louis Riel Day in Manitoba

Reid Dickie

Louis Riel said, “I am more convinced everyday that without a single exception I did right, and I have always believed that. As I have acted honestly, the time will come when the people of Canada will see and acknowledge it.” Today is that day, Louis. We celebrate your contributions with a holiday.  

I gleaned a few of Louis’ thoughts: “We may be a small community and a Half-breed community at that – but we are men, free and spirited men and we will not allow even the Dominion of Canada to trample on our rights.” “Deeds are not accomplished in a few days, or in a few hours. A century is only a spoke in the wheel of everlasting time.” “My people will sleep for one hundred years when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.”

Just before Riel was hanged a guard asked him for a souvenir. Riel’s reply: “I have nothing but my heart and I have given it long ago to my country.” 

Don’t miss the irony that while we are honouring a man who fought and died for the rights of Metis and all Manitobans, we are confronting a federal government intent on taking away more and more of our rights and freedoms.

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Filed under Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Manitobans of Note, Pioneers

Wake Up Canada! Big Brother is coming to a front door near you

Reid Dickie

Sinister, secretive, untrustworthy, tyrannical, compromised by a foreign country, indebted to their corporate masters and unsullied by conscience, the Ref-Con (Reform-Conservative) regime currently ruling Canada is a dog’s breakfast of right-wing extremists, religious fundamentalists, greedhead capitalists, stunted idealogues and just plain dummies, not unlike a lot of alleged democracies these days. Similarly, this government is trying to make it legal to spy on every Canadian who has a computer and/or a cellphone without a warrant. Spy Bill C-30 stinks of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Communist China and the massive negative reaction to it by hundreds of thousands of Canadians is appropriate.

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, a long-standing windbag, sponsored this paranoid piece of “legislation.” Subsequently and deservedly, Toews has had his dirty laundry paraded before the public when the sordid details of his acrimonious divorce were published on a Twitter account. Although already public knowledge, the revealing details caused poor Vic such great despair and indignity that he got all victimy and launched an “investigation.” What a hoot! (Memo to Toews: if you can’t stand the heat, don’t light the fire. Plus, you make a lousy victim!)

Because language is a virus from outer space, every bill introduced in Canada has two names, a long and short name. Bill C-30’s long name is An Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts. Its short name, the mainstream media name, is Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. That’s different. Read the text of odious Bill C-30 here. Be brave.

Just so you know who has their hand up Toews’ back and wrote the script for him, on November 5, 1997, a bill was introduced into the U. S. House of Representatives. Its short title was H.R.2815 — Protecting Children From Internet Predators Act. 

Booga! Booga! Taking another page from the U. S. Neo-Con playbook, Toews thought he could fearmonger Canadians into ceding more of our rights and freedoms by invoking child pornographers as the boogeyman. Explaining the simple options to Canadians, Toews said, “either stand with us or with the child pornographers”  – fearmongering at its most amateurish.

Today Toews has backpedaled about three country miles from that because Canadians didn’t fall for it. Instead we started to share all our mundane personal information with Toews that we thought he needed to know. On his Twitter account #TellVicEverything and in emails to parliament, ordinary Canadians began confessing their sins to Deity Toews. Like? Like parking closer to one yellow line than the other in the mall parking lot, cleaning up cat puke and waiting for more, just checked – I’m still not a child predator and asking for a copy of an email accidentally erased. You get the picture. Thousands responded! Call it satire, zen, karma, justice, Canadian humour, eh. Consequently, the true nature of a foolish man with a little bit of power was appropriately revealed to the world, a deflated balloon, a sad buffoon.

Bonus: Because social media and bloggers drove and dominated events, the mainstream media went into a tailspin. Canadians weren’t buying their brand of bullshit. Editorials and pundits ranted about how the bill makes the internet safer for everyone, blah, blah, blah but it didn’t seem to work. The MSM are failing to convince more often now but don’t tell them yet. In spite of declining readership and viewership, they’ll be the last to know how truly irrelevant they have become. 

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Filed under Idiots, Politics

Tree Birds Dog Trucks Dead

Reid Dickie

In the cemetery of the church yard around St. Francois Xavier Roman Catholic Church in St. Francois Xavier, MB stands a huge tree, once magnificent in every season, now dead every day. On its naked branches, some entangled in the church steeple, European starlings gather to discuss important bird business. In the neighbourhood, Rover barks at imaginery foes, halftons roll past one by one and the dead are patient, as ever. Click the pic to watch my latest video, Tree Birds Dog Trucks Dead.

UPDATE: As of summer 2013, the tree has been cut down, just a low stump remains.

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Filed under Birds, Churches, Critters, Day Tripping, Life and Life Only, Spirit, Video

176 Containers of Crap Winnipeg Bound

Reid Dickie

Yes, I counted them so you don’t have to. I was on the trail of capturing some footage of the Prairie Dog Central one morning last September and caught this fast freight hauling tons of precious crap to the dollar stores of Winnipeg. Click pic make train move.

 

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Owl in Super Slow Motion!!

Click the pic to watch something amazing!!

 

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“Old Age Security sustainable” says budget watchdog

There’s a headline The Harper Corporation won’t like. Get out your kevlar undies, Mr. Watchdog. This whole “issue” could just be a test bubble, a red herring, a mere diversion from some Big Evil that Harper has planned for the budget. As Terence McKenna said, “We are governed by the least among us.”

Here’s a joke from a CBC comments page on the story.

Stephen Harper and a Chinese oil executive walk into a classy Ottawa bar. They bump into a 67 year old woman sweeping the floor. “Reminds me of the Monty Python “The Meaning of Life” movie, the businessman remarks. Steve looks puzzled. They stride up to the bar and order one Shirley Temple and a 25 year old Scotch single malt. The bar keeper makes up the drinks, places them in front of Harper and the business man and asks, “Who is paying for these drinks?” The Chinese business man points to Harper and says, “He is.” Harper points over his shoulder to the senior sweeping the floor and smiles, “She is.”

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Manitoba Heritage – Carberry Agricultural Society Display Building

Reid Dickie

 Agricultural Society Display Building, Fairgrounds, Carberry, MB

The high point of many small town summers was, and still is the annual agricultural fair. Usually one or two days long, depending on the size of the town and the surrounding population, country fairs bring a diversity of rural people together in a spirit of pride and competition. Gardeners show off their best produce and blooms, cattle and horse producers groom and display their prize animals in various formats, riders demonstrate their prowess, farm machinery dealers show off the latest equipment and usually a small midway offers a few rides and carny games.

The fairgrounds was and still is a place unto itself. Even though it is used for a short time each year, large, well-tended acreages are devoted to it. This picture shows the gate leading into Carberry fairgrounds with commemoration of its hundredth anniversary in 1983. Among the permanent fixtures in many fairgrounds are a grandstand in front of the display ring and several small buildings where the competitive displays of agricultural products are shown. You can see these structures in the above picture. (Click pic to enlarge)

These display buildings could be rather fanciful creations, befitting their specialized function. One popular design was the octagon, an eight-sided structure that was both eye-catching externally and spacious internally. This picture shows three completely different designs of display buildings in Carberry.

In the Carberry Fairgrounds, you will find an octagonal display building constructed in 1893 and used continuously by the local agricultural society ever since. This rare building, remarkably, retains all its original design and construction features right down to the ornate hand-carved display shelves. Even the original carved brackets are still in place. You can how well the exterior is maintained with its coat of fresh paint. Carberry has another octagonal building – a wooden grain silo. Read my post about it here.

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Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Local History, Manitoba Heritage

Sordid Amok (because we’re all just kids in a closet)

Reid Dickie

After an exhaustive, year-long dig working under harsh and inhospitable conditions, a crew of experienced archies has unearthed something rare. Resurrected and dusted for carbon dating, this video relic from the distant past resonates even today in our post-communicative world. 

Decades ago, in the pre-digital Dark Age, Linda and I created a strange but topical promo video for a new fashion trend called Sordid Amok. With the help of several brave friends, we demonstrated the absolute relevance of Sordid Amok, which involves some skin, many forms of plastic, giant crocheted ice cream treats and plenty of office supplies.

As Linda tells you in the script, Sordid Amok shows you “new ways to create envy, infiltrate envy, thwart envy, develop rage, soothe rage” and just in time. Sordid Amok will help you get through life’s “wilderness of mirrors.”  

Since there still are people walking around committing crimes of fashion with no dash in last year’s brown, Sordid Amok’s time has come. “I want a hat with cherries!” Click on any picture to play the short video.

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Filed under Art Actions, BEAUTY, DickToolery, Humour, Linda, video art

Things Stephen Harper Does to Seem Human

Posing with his wife and a cow and, yet again, trying out his famous attempted smile, this is only one example of the hundreds of awkward pictures of the soulless cyborg stooge who “governs” Canada for his corporate masters on a website called Things Stephen Harper Does to Seem Human. The rest of this embarrassing stuff is at http://thingsharperdoestoseemhuman.tumblr.com/

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It’s Grasslands National Park Day on ReadReidRead

Reid Dickie

For the second year in a row, February 1st is Grassland National Park Day on my blog. This year I’m offering two new videos, one of prairie dogs in GNP and a video tour of The Convent Bed & Breakfast in Val Marie, SK on the edge of the park.

Grasslands National Park is an enchanting place. Features of the park include its recent designation as a Dark Sky Preserve, in fact, the darkest Dark Sky Preserve in Canada. Critterwise, GNP is celebrating its first wild-born black-footed ferrets. The park reintroduced black-footed ferrets without much success until last year when, for the first time in 70 years, a wild black-footed ferret was born in Canada. Watch a park video of the ferrets.  

Another reintroduction to Grasslands National Park is plains bison. For the first time in 150 years, a herd of plains bison now numbering about 250 head are part of the prairie ecosystem. Adaptable and comfortable, the plains bison population is increasing quickly with about 75 calves expected to be born in spring 2012. The herd has increased from the 70 bison first released in 2005.

Read posts from last year’s Grasslands National Park Day.

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Filed under Critters, grasslands national park, Heritage Buildings, Natural Places, Saskatchewan

The Convent B&B, Val Marie, SK

Reid Dickie

I’ve spent more glorious nights at The Convent Bed & Breakfast than any other lodging on my prairie travels. Its appeal is powerful and pleasant, relaxing yet stimulating at the same time. The combination of a serene old building and the caring owners creates a peaceful and rare experience. The picture above is The Convent’s charming dining room overlooking Grasslands National Park.

Val Marie (pop. about 130) is located at the western end of Grasslands National Park and features the park office and visitor centre. It’s about an hour south of Swift Current off the Trans Canada Highway. Few accommodations for travelers exist in the little village making The Convent even more precious. An actual convent used as a teaching facility into the late 1960s, the Ducans converted it into a bed and breakfast in the late 1990s. They retained many of the features, such as blackboards, chapel including confessional and woodwork from the original building. Take a video tour of The Convent inside and out with me by clicking on the pic below.

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Filed under Accommodations, grasslands national park, Heritage Buildings, Old Souls, Saskatchewan, Spirit

Prairie Dogtown in Grasslands National Park

Reid Dickie

For sheer cuteness and adorability it’s hard to find a rodent more fitting than the black-tailed prairie dog. Largely extirpated from most of their habitat which extends down into Texas, the prairie dogs in Canada are safely preserved in Grasslands National Park. Several easily accessible dogtowns dot the park and you won’t be disappointed with the shenanigans of these cute critters.

Prairie dogs are a keystone species, meaning they are often the main course for several other species in their habitat. In GNP prairie dogs are preyed upon by newly-reintroduced black-footed ferrets, prairie rattlesnakes, swift foxes, ferruginous hawks,  golden eagles, badgers and coyotes. Burrowing owls nest in old prairie dog burrows. It’s a cozy relationship. Click the pic and spend two minutes in dogtown.

You can find more information on prairie dogs elsewhere on my blog like here and here

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Filed under Critters, grasslands national park, Parks, Sacred Places, Saskatchewan