Day 81 – August 26 – Brandon, MB to Weyburn, SK

There was only one tourist thing to visit on the road between Brandon and Wyburn and, sadly, it was a bit of a disappoinment.

Highway2 (in Manitoba) and 13 (in Saskatchewan) is known as the Red Coat Trail to commemorate the Northwest Mounted Police journey to provide policing services to the rapidly opening west. At a campground beside the highway at Redvers there is a very large statue of a ‘Red Coat.’

After we crossed the border into Saskatchewan we looked for the sign for Cannington Manor which was settlement built by English immigrants to be similar to an upper middle-class community similar to where the people had come from and hopefully to develop into the type of society they were used to.

There were many placards in the visitor’s center that told the full story of the settlement, its member, businesses, sports and entertainment, etc., and it’s eventual demise. I have only added a few here to give you an idea of the vision.

This huge map on the wall showed all the land parcels settled by the Cannington Manor pioneers. What really surprised me were the amount owned by the Canadain Pacific Railway and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Almost every second section belongs to the CPR!

The story of the community was very intersting. What was disappointing was the ‘village’ itself. There were only a few buildings and most were reproductions There information plaques where all the houses or businesses along the single street had been located and the remnants of footings. None of the buildings were much more than sheds. All of the larger properties like the flour mill or general store were long gone.

The Anglican Church belongs to the Diocese of Qu’Appelle and services are still held once a month. The cemetery contains the graves of many of the early family members of Cannington Manor and is still used.

There were three geocaches hidden in the park. One was AWOL, one we couldn’t find – but saw a garter snake warming in the broken foundation of the old flour mill – and one we found.

There was a large house built by three wealthy brothers that was part of the park as well. They raised racehorses and raced them at the race course at the end of the village. At one one time their 100 stable farm was the largest employer in the district.

After we read all the sign boards along the village street and checked out the buildings we drove down the road in the direction of the sign. We never saw another sign and ended up getting completely turned around and driving over 30 kilometers on various roads before finding the highway again. And, we discovered we had gone in the wrong direction as well, because after we had been driving westward again we came across the same sign pointing up the road to Cannington Manor. Opps.

We stopped at an historical cairn about the first Roman Catholic priest who came to the area and had our lunch before driving the rest of the way to Weyburn.

There were a lot of oil jacks on both sides of the road and further into the grain fields. When we drove into Weyburn their town sign displayed a stalk of wheat and a pump jack. Quite appropriate I think.

I snapped this photo of a sculpture in a little garden on the side of the street while we were stopped at a red light on the way to our hotel so I don’t know exactly what it was for but I will guess something to do with the hardiness of the early settlers.

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