Thursday, December 01, 2022

Day Six - Holy Trinity at Grifton

There's an excellent breakfast restaurant on Main Street where, after ordering eggs and toast, I checked the weather forecast.  My hopes of arriving in Gimli later that day were soon dashed...Gimli was experiencing rain and or snow, high winds and freezing temperatures for the next few days.  Well, that wasn't going to work for me so, after checking the forecasts in the surrounding area, my new destination for the day was Yorkton, Saskatchewan where it looked like the weather would be considerably more pleasant .  Disappointment of not being able to visit Gimli aside...I always enjoy a trip to Yorkton; many of my favourite destinations are nearby.  

And along the way...

...I stopped at one of the most dramatic and austere Ukrainian churches I've had the pleasure to visit.

An imposing structure where a little colour...

...goes a long way.

The view from the back...

...and the view from the front.

The graveyard is south of the church where...

...old fashioned cast concrete headstones dominate the cemetery.  The small white crosses mark "unknown" graves.  

The bell tower as seen from behind a collection of both new and old headstones.  The mostly obscured and weathered building behind and to the right of the bell tower was the Parish Hall. 

The miniature replica of the church in the foreground accommodates the guest book.  Don't forget to record your visit for posterity.

After an enjoyable day zig-zagging through the countryside revisiting several of my favourite spots I was off to Yorkton for the night.  I'd booked a room at a nice motel (which would become my home away from home for the next couple of days).  I'd stopped in Roblin for war won ton soup in the early afternoon but was now hankering for something more substantial...a rib-eye steak supper sounded like just the thing.  I asked the desk clerk for a recommendation and she said the "best place in town" was only a short walk from the motel...and she was right.  

Photographed at Grifton, Manitoba on October 13, 2022.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Cypress School

A little country school that was open from 1900-1958.

The concrete well cap can be seen midway between the school and the fence.  Also, on the right, are the remains of a foundation where a teacherage once stood.

Photographed north of Elkwater, Alberta on November 26, 2022.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Day Five - Sclater

The rain had stopped overnight but looking out the motel window the sky was still gray and overcast.  The air was damp and cool as I packed up and drove to a nearby restaurant for breakfast.  A western omelette seemed the perfect way to start the day (which turned out to be true).  By the time I finished eating and having a chat with the folks at the table next to mine it was already late morning.

I knew I wasn't going to make it any great distance that day so decided I'd be happy to reach Dauphin before dark with, of course, several stops for old churches and cemeteries along the way.

Just past noon I turned off the highway in the direction of Sclater.  The tree-lined road had several curves and about a quarter mile around the last one I could see the peak of a roofline and a cupola.  

I had arrived at Saint Michael's Ukrainian Orthodox Church...complete with bell tower.  The church is in poor condition at best and most likely won't be standing upright much longer.

Back in the car I looked at my map and realized I had driven right past the cemetery.  You know, sometimes concentrating too much on one thing makes one miss the obvious...I'm sure you know what I mean.  Such was the case so back up the road again and around that last curve was not one but two cemeteries!  

The larger of the two was Saint Michael's Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery (which is also known as Sclater Pioneer Cemetery).  There are burials here as recent as 2018.

Just across the road is the tiny Our Lady of Snow Catholic Cemetery.  The most recent burial here was in 1989.  It was nice to see that someone still cuts the grass at both cemeteries.

My next locations were back up towards the highway but first I wanted to see the original location of Sclater.  On the way there I found another church not far from Saint Michael's Church.

This is Our Lady of Snow Catholic Church.  

The timber stretching across the width of the building is probably the only thing holding the church together.  The text translates as "Holy Mother of God Pray for Us" and is as appropriate now as it was then.

Now, down the road to Sclater.  I stopped at the crossroads were it was supposed to be, or have been, but there wasn't anything there...not even a sign.  A bit of a disappointment but so it back up to the highway for my last known location in the area.

This is Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery.  The most recent burial here was just a couple of years ago in 2020.  

It's very nicely kept with a metal sign and large steel crucifix.  (Personally, I like when the cross is painted black...makes a statement.)

Leaving the cemetery I hadn't traveled more than a few hundred feet when I saw the remains of yet another church; this time on the other side of the highway.  Some later research proved it to be Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church.  Sadly it is on the brink of total collapse.

As it turned out there was lots to see around Sclater.  None of the churches here will last much longer but the cemeteries are in fine condition.

Then it was back on the road to continue my day's adventure...lots of history to see in Manitoba.

Made it to Dauphin just as the sun was going down.  I had phoned my motel of choice previously to reserve a room and was greeted warmly upon arrival...a home away from home.  And since I skipped lunch, supper was long overdue.  There's a great little pizza place downtown.      

Information courtesy of the Manitoba Historical Society and Find A Grave.

Photographed near Sclater, Manitoba on October 12, 2022.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Mister Jed

Mister Jed sits calmly beside the front door of Daisy's house in Elkwater and offers a warm welcome...he's happy to see you.  

Jed was a long-time companion to Daisy and had just the sweetest demeanor.  He was often referred to as an "old soul" and that's a description that fit him like a glove.     

And boy-oh-boy did he like to play fetch.  He'd tear after the ball, grab it up then rush back and drop it right at your feet...ready to go again!  

One time some years ago I was dog-sitting Daisy and Jed at their house in Medicine Hat.  It was wintertime and bitterly cold but we still went out for short walks then back to the house to warm up in front of the fireplace.  One night I was curled up on a two-seater couch watching TV when Jed, who was of considerable size, decided he wanted to cuddle.  He jumped up and somehow inched his way in between me and the back of the couch with his head just inches from mine...time to snuggle.  Didn't I say he was just the sweetest guy.

He passed away not so many years ago but is fondly remembered by all.  

Jed made everyone's life better.

Special thanks to the Sodero family for keeping Jed's spirit alive by commissioning this handsome sculpture.  

"Mister Jed" was carved by Marina Cole of Chainsaw Spirit in Irvine, Alberta.

Photographed in Elkwater, Alberta on November 25, 2022.

Day Four - The Road from Le Pas to Swan River

And the forecast was right...I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof.  I hadn't made any big plans the previous evening so a drive in the rain sounded like a nice way to spend the day.  After a bagel and coffee in the hotel breakfast room I collected my things and decided to head northeast to Le Pas, Manitoba. 

The highway out of town was smooth and wide...clear sailing.  Well, that is until it abruptly turned into a much narrower, wet gravel road where the traffic was mainly eighteen-wheelers and cargo trucks.  Wasn't too crazy about that but eventually the road switched back to pavement where it was, again, clear sailing all the way to Le Pas.

The rain stopped while I was enjoying a large bowl of seafood jambalaya in town but as soon as I was back on the road the heavens poured down once again and continued all the way to Swan River.  Once in town, and after a quick search for hotels on my phone, I decided to stay at a small single-story 1960's style motel (long and low and where the rooms open directly onto the parking lot...similar to the Bates Motel, only without Norman!).  After a short nap I had supper at a most excellent Chinese food restaurant.

Had only made a few stops along the way on Day Four but once I was just east of Nipawin, everything I saw from that point on was all new to me.  A change of scenery is always a good for the soul (even when it's raining).  

The attractive golden-coloured trees in the photos are larch trees.  They put on a spectacular show in the fall when their needles turn golden-yellow.    
Photographed between Le Pas and Swan River, Manitoba on October 11, 2022.