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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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...)
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.
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.
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.
Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".
Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.
Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada. Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade. The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.
When I started my blog, I wanted a place to tell stories. I wanted a place where I could keep memories and show them off for people later. My earliest entries on my blog are from 2011 (published in 2014), right after my trip to Europe. They're messy, they lack detail, and they are full of inaccuracies. Not the mention the wretched photography.
So, there's only been a slight improvement since then. Hahahahaha.
Four years later, my blog has become my hobby, my joy, my escape and my work. I spend hours writing content for my blog. I spend hours editing pictures, researching details, and adjusting content for SEO (search engine optimization). It's a full-time gig, and just the other day I published my 200th article. After 200 times of doing something, you'd think the articles would get easier, but they really don't. Each one is unique unto itself, and each one is a special time in my life that I shared with my readers.
A few articles ago I listed Ogema as one of the top destinations to visit in Saskatchewan. Immediately after I wrote the article, I put my money where my mouth was and booked a weekend trip to Ogema for my girlfriend and me. I figured it wouldn't be fair to my readers to recommend a place for them to visit without actually visiting it myself, and after getting my new Galaxy S7 from TELUS I figured I needed a reason to test it out.
Earlier this year I took my Galaxy S6 to La Ronge, and had very little coverage. I wanted to use Facebook's new Live Video option, but I couldn't get enough service to even send a text message. I was pretty disappointed by the coverage with that provider, so I was interested to see how TELUS' network was in Ogema.
The result was pretty darn good! We streamed Spotify all the way there, were able to do a Live Video from the Deep South Pioneer Museum and took some really great pictures and videos of the trip. It also helped to have a reliable network when I got lost driving there (don't ask me how!). TELUS has invested over $29 billion into their network since 2000 and it has really paid off. It's a great feeling knowing that no matter where you travel, you can rely on TELUS to keep you connected.