Parkbeg is about 50 kilometers west of Moose Jaw, right along an unusual stretch of the Trans Canada Highway where the two divided sides of the highway are so far apart in places that you can’t see one side from the other. I was a stranger in Parkbeg, Saskatchewan, so as I was photographing my first place, a local resident stopped her car for a quick chat.
The woman I spoke with approached just as I was shooting the building shown above. She was a resident of Parkbeg, a transplant from Toronto who had moved to Parkbeg to be close to her daughter, if I remember correctly. She estimated the population of Parkbeg at 11 or 12. She invited me to join her for coffee at the “Parkbeg Cafe” (below) but I was on a tight schedule and was unable to take her up on it.
If you’ve driven the eastbound stretch of the Trans Canada Highway between Chaplin and Moose Jaw, you’ve likely seen the house shown above which stands on the hill overlooking the highway. A look at Google Earth shows quite a few people have stopped to photograph this place as they pass through Parkbeg.
Parkbeg was an incorporated village until 1957, but became a hamlet on New Years Day, 1958–no longer a town, but just a rural municipality. Parkbeg’s most famous resident might be Gainer the Gopher, the mascot for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL.
On the south side of Parkbeg, several abandoned structures stand in the tall grass on the hill. I found the one shown above particularly photogenic with its wood shake siding and climbing vines. Perhaps this resident left the shire to go in search of something precious?
Typically when I photograph places like this, I’m pretty aware of my surroundings, not wanting to disturb or upset anyone, and if someone is around, I usually know it. That was not the case in Parkbeg. As I photographed the building above, I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Do you?
Examine the far left side of the photo above, and you’ll see something I did not notice until I had returned home and began processing my photos. Do you see a person standing in front of the abandoned home at the far left? I zoomed-in and blew up the image below.
Is that a person taking a leak? I find it very strange that a person could be there and I didn’t notice it when I took the photo. And a local resident presumably would have had a bathroom available to use, so perhaps I wasn’t the only stranger in Parkbeg, Saskatchewan that morning.
Photos by Troy Larson, content copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media