The Prairies have changed my understanding of scale and have reminded me that there are so many ways to live. I have always grown up in a quite modernized urban setting. Sidewalks, malls, schools, any fast-food chain within reach and of course, lots of people. I have never really experienced rural living before. Passing though Saskatchewan has changed my idea of community and I wanted to share a few experiences that have stuck out in the ‘small town world.’
1. Cycling from Regina to the Redcoat Trail (highway 13) we passed down a country road/ highway. Of course, it was raining and our halfway point was in another tiny town with only one gas station/ grocery store/ fast-food/ cafe. We pulled up and the owners greeted us with dry towels for our feet and let us stay for the afternoon to warm up. Everyone walking into the store talked to one another and called people by their first names.
2. We passed through an officially identified town of 15 people.
3. We pulled into Stoughton, SK after a day in the rain and checked into a hotel for a little energy boost, warm bed and to dry off. Walking into the lobby we met two kind strangers who were curious about our ridiculously loaded bikes. They were there for their brother’s wedding the following afternoon and after just a few minutes of conversation they invited us to join them. We were a little hesitant at first but the following morning we met the groom in the breakfast room and he told us to come along, not to worry about dressing up and to enjoy a meal at the community centre. So. We went to his wedding. We had a table to sit at, got a personal welcome when they arrived at the venue by horse and carriage and throughout the night people approached us with ‘…now you must be the cyclists…’ We spent the night eating homemade Ukrainian food, dancing to a live band and talking to the entire community in celebration of the newly weds.