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.
I have been told my entire life that Winnipeg was just like Regina, but slightly larger. This gave the impression that there wasn't much to see in Winnipeg and that it, along with Regina, were more-or-less "fly over destinations". Since starting my blog, I've learned Regina is an absolutely incredible city so I imagined Winnipeg was the same. I then proceeded to contact Tourism Winnipeg and Travel Manitoba to find out the true Winnipeg, and ended up going on a multi-day excursion of their city.
Since a lot of my readers are from Regina and they almost all know somebody heading there for the Banjo Bowl in a couple of days, I thought I'd put this list together. There's a lot more to see there than just Investors Group Field, and the city's history is incredibly fascinating, so I hope you enjoy this list of 100 things about "Canada's Gateway to the West".
Several of these facts are taken from Frank Albo's tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building, but there are many I didn't mention. If you enjoyed them, I encourage buying his book: "The Hermetic Code"
I was recently asked if I preferred my time in Montreal or Quebec City more, and while Montreal is a gorgeous city, decorated with thousands of green copper spires, hosts incredible festivals, has some of the most fantastic food I have ever tasted, and is spotted with beautiful parks, there was just something about Quebec City that spoke to me. Being over four hundred years old, Quebec City is one of the last remaining "walled cities" in North America, and is the only one north of Mexico. Quebec City was the location of some of the greatest conflicts in Canadian history, including the Siege of Quebec by the British.
Belonging to three very different countries (France, England, and Canada) in its four hundred year existence, Quebec City is a mixing pot of old traditions, new ideas, cobblestone streets and modern architecture. Since there is so much to see in Quebec City, I figured I would narrow it down to a couple and let you discover the rest! Here is "8 Places to Visit in Quebec City".
When I first started this project, I didn't know what would come of it.
During my interview with the Saskatchewanderer, she recommended I approach Tourism Regina and see if I could write for them. Tourism Regina agreed and published my article, but due to it's size restrictions, I wasn't able to talk about as many places as I wanted to.
Since beginning this project, I have sent over three dozen emails to many organizations and businesses around the city. Once I was done my initial research, I had more questions than answers, some of which I don't think I'll ever know. Once realizing the vast amount of information out there, I decided to cut this project down substantially. But, although it ended up different then I thought it would, I am happy to finally present to you, "8 Places to Visit in Regina".