Dog River After Corner Gas

Dog River After Corner Gas April 4, 2019 · 7 min. readThis article may contain affiliate links.

Dog River, the fictional town of Corner Gas (2004 – 2009) is in Rouleau, Saskatchewan, about 40 minutes south of Regina. This town was once the home for over 100 episodes, a movie and now an animated series. During production, buildings were renamed, structures were built, and the streets were full of actors, comedians, politicians, filming equipment and tourists.

Corner Gas was popular in Canada, the United States and Europe, getting somewhat of a following like Anne of Green Gables has in Japan. Many European tourists came to Saskatchewan just to see the set, visit the locations from the show and experience small-town Saskatchewan life. The show was such a success that April 13 is even designated "Corner Gas Day" in Saskatchewan.

Once the show ended, many expected Dog River to become something like Avonlea in Prince Edward Island. It had the potential to be a thriving tourism centre, with live-action characters, running gags, scenes from the show, themed restaurants and Corner Gas merchandise.

Instead, it became like Avonlea, Saskatchewan; a small town clinging on to a famous story.

In 2016 the main set of the series was torn down, and signs were erected throughout the community to remind people of what it once was.

Welcoming sign Water tower in Rouleau

My girlfriend and I visited the town in late March. The snow was melting, and the ground was muddy, but the town looked like it would have a lot of energy come summer. When we visited, however, it was a sleepy Sunday afternoon and most of the stores were closed.

In 2016 a self-guided walking tour of the former filming locations was created, and we walked around the community to find these spots. The first location was Oscar and Emma's House – or at least the outside of it; footage from inside the house was filmed in Regina. Today it is private property and is home to a very noisy dog, which I imagine is used to prevent people from trespassing around on the property.

(However, the dog's barking reminded me of how Emma used to talk to Oscar.)

Oscar and Emma's house

From there we drove down to Drysdale Street, which is home to the United Church and the Rouleau Skating Rink. Both locations were in the show, but both have resumed back to their original usage. These are one of the few places that are the same post-Corner Gas.

United Church

The next street over is Main Street and was the hub for filming locations. This street contains places like the post office, the fire station, the hotel, town hall, insurance store and "Foo Mar", the grocery store.

Walking down this street you can see the relics of the show still in existence. The fictional location of the Dog River Howler still has a sign up, although the building appears empty. Around the corner of this building are the character cut-outs, where visitors can act the part of different characters from the show.

Dog River Howler Corner Gas cut-outs Corner Gas cut-outs Playing in Corner Gas cut-outs

The town hall has remained the town hall, but Foo Mar burned down in 2014 and an orthopedic company site in the spot is now an insurance building and the former Police Station is collapsing. A fence is around the building warning people to stay away from it, and the side of the building has buckled. As a historic building, this is a tragedy all on its own – but as this is iconic to the community and the film industry, it's especially sad to see.

Foo Mar Police station in Dog River Police station in Dog River

The only place that was thriving was the Rouleau Hotel, which is nicknamed the Dog River Hotel. When we visited the hotel it was bustling, with every table full, televisions on and a storm of food coming out of the kitchen. The sign on the door said there was Corner Gas merchandise inside, but all we found were magnets, hats and a little robot from episode 103 "R2 Bee Too".

(Or I think it was, anyway...)

Dog River Hotel\ Dog River Hotel inside Dog River Hotel inside Dog River robot

Finally, we visited what was left of the original gas station and The Ruby... which wasn't anything anymore. There was a sign that said what stood there, but for actual landmarks, it was impossible for us to determine which way the buildings faced. It has only been three years since they were torn down but if the sign hadn't been there, there's no way to tell anything was there at all.

Dog River set What's left of the Corner Gas set

Beyond that, the only sign that Dog River ever existed was the name on the grain elevator, which was never changed following the conclusion of the show.

Dog River Grain elevator

I enjoyed visiting the old set of Corner Gas, but I was sad to see how it had become. The show was popular when I was growing up, and my girlfriend remembers when they came to Pense to film a scene. I also remember when the actors bought props from my dad's old store. To see the promise of something so great, forgotten so quickly, was disheartening. For the average passerby, the town would look like there's not a lot goin' on, but look closer, as you're so wrong.

(Sorry, couldn't help it.)

Corner Gas Walking-tour

If you're interested in taking a tour, download the Corner Gas walking tour PDF.

Have you been to Rouleau since Corner Gas ended? What would you've liked to see the set become? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Don't forget to pin it!

Dog River After Corner Gas Dog River After Corner Gas

And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.

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