ROSTHERN WELCOME

All along the highways that cross Canada, there are small towns like ornaments on a necklace. Some shine brighter than others. This night, we hit upon a real gem. 

Our choice is often dictated by location and time of day and so it was with Rosthern, Saskatchewan. It’s 70 km north of Saskatoon, population about 2,000. Before arriving, I Googled the town out of curiosity and found Motors & Music, an event happening that very evening – a car show accompanied by live music.

Just before 6 pm, the musicians got busy with their sound check and the cars started arriving: a recent Corvette, a flat-windowed hot VW beetle, a convertible Carmen Ghia, a Yenko Chevy Nova, a silver “lead sled,” a show-room mint-green Lincoln plated MINT73, a 1953 Chevy barn find, a monster old black Buick, also a barn find, and several more, courtesy of the Rosthern Car Club.

We paid our admission and were warmly welcomed by Josie the organizer. She encouraged us to visit the railway station that’s now the town’s art centre. Authentic on the outside and totally redone on the inside, it’s a real showpiece. It even has a large theatre for stage productions. Plus, there’s a caboose to visit out back, donated by CN and restored by local volunteers.

Back outside we looked over the cars, met the people who own them and their friends. Owen owns three of the cars on display. According to Guylaine his wife, he’s always got a restoration on the go. Right now, he’s working on a split-window VW bus. Guylaine, or Guy since people have trouble pronouncing her French name, is a francophone from Gravelbourg. She speaks excellent French and we had quite a conversation. She told me about how she worked behind the scenes with the Radio Canada TV production team of “La petite séduction” when they came to town. Owen is the reason she’s moved to Rosthern.

Owen and Guylaine

We chatted with Brad, too. He owns a 1996 VW camper van and he and his wife have traveled the west coast of Canada and parts of Alberta. Longer trips will wait for retirement. 

Later in the evening, Josie came over to see how we were enjoying ourselves. We talked about the drought. No rain since early June. Farmers are cutting down their crops for hay since there will be no yield. At least, they can get some return on hay. This sad situation is particularly bad around Rosthern. On a happier note, Josie is expecting her first baby in September and she’s clearly excited. 

Josie and friends

Over in the garden, people had set up their folding chairs among the flowers beds and were enjoying the music of Joe Callahan, originally from Belleville Ontario we found out, and Tim Campbell, a local talent. They even played Come Monday, one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett tunes. Ken and I danced to that one.

We had parked Juniper next to the show grounds and sat outside to eat our supper so we wouldn’t miss any of the music.

Things wound up around 9 as the sun set. Owen, Guy, Brad, and several other new acquaintances dropped by to say goodbye and wish us well. 

Yes, we’d truly stumbled upon a gem.

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