A RURAL VOICE
This summer my wife, Sharon, and I decided to begin our plan to become more acquainted with our Prairie provinces. Why is it that one can live in an area one’s whole life and not take the time or interest to know it? Many Prairie Canadians know some parts of the southern states because they visit in the winter, but how many of us know our Prairies?
We arrived in Portage at 8 that evening. As Sharon and
I were standing with the conductor in the deboarding section of the passenger
car waiting for the train to stop, the conductor started asking a few
questions. Are you here for a wedding? No, we answered. Are you here
to visit family? Again, we answered no. We could tell he was perplexed.
He seemed to be wondering to himself why someone would visit Portage
or any other smaller rural centre if he or she didn’t have to.
Then he did ask us that question! He was surprised by the answer. We
mentioned to him that we live and farm near a smaller rural centre in
Alberta and that we believe the uniqueness, beauty and interesting things
to see and do in the rural areas of the Prairies are secrets too long
kept. We felt a bit like Stuart McLean getting ready to tell a story,
but we kept it brief and got off the train.
(Design Pics photo)
Sharon and I love to bed and breakfast when we travel, so the next morning after a pleasant visit with our hostess we were off to explore rural Manitoba. We had only 10 days to spend, so we had to make some tough decisions early about which way to go. Of course, we toured Portage la Prairie where I saw the most impressive assembly of vintage Allis Chalmers farm machinery ever assembled. How can you tell that I might be a farmer? Then we headed to Virden where we were able to get a tour of a 100-year-old opera house called the Aud. We love theatres so this was a special opportunity.
We headed south to Souris to see the famous suspension walking bridge that crosses the Souris River. Unfortunately, the spring flood of 2011 washed away the bridge.
While in Souris we toured the museum, which is a historic mansion made of Virden brick built by the fellow who built the original suspension bridge. As we were studying the local history, we met a couple from Quebec who told us they tour a different province of Canada each summer. They have only the Yukon and Northwest Territories to visit and they will have seen all of Canada. I wish everyone could have such an opportunity.
Eshpeter and his wife farm near Camrose, Alta. He is passionate about maintaining a vibrant rural landscape for people and all neighbourhood creatures.