A Stranger in Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

A Stranger in Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

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.

Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

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.

Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

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, Saskatchewan

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.

Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

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?

Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

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.

Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

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

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10 thoughts on “A Stranger in Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

  1. So sad to see what once was a growing little community become a ghost town.It breaks my heart every time I drive through. This was my home town.

  2. I thought the ghost was (what looks like) a lady standing on the right side of the building in front of the junk pile. If the pee-er is a ghost he’s pretty solid. My mom grew up in Parkbeg so this was interesting just for that.

  3. Thank you for this post. Several pictures are actually from my Grandparent’s farm. The house covered in ivy was the home that my father grew up in. Another few pictures were of buildings that were moved into town at no cost (something to do with the grid road building/upgrading in the 50s/60s)…so my grandfather, who lived through the depression and couldn’t stand to have anything with any kind of value go to waste, brought them into town.

  4. My grandmother had the first television in the district. Most nights the living room in that house covered by ivy would be full with people coming down to watch TV for the few hours it was on air in those days

  5. Pretty cool photos. I’ve driven by on that stretch of the Trans Canada highway and its great to see someone that has taken the time to go off the beaten track to record this history. Thank you!

  6. I grew up in Parkbeg and I could name almost all of those buildings. Sure does look different now than it did 50 years ago … so many memories.

    1. I worked in the store for your Dad stocking shelves etc. Loved the smell of the basement where the extra stock was stored. Your Mom and Dad were great people. Some of my fondest memories of Parkbeg.

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