Sad, Empty Places? Marketing ‘Ghost Towns’ in Saskatchewan

Bents grain elevator, January 10 2012. Photo by author.

by Merle Massie

A new and fashionable trend in tourism is invading rural regions of western Canada. SUV crossovers, front windows obscured by maps and cameras, are driving down gravel backroads, sweeping around correction line curves and screeching to a stop when a wide-eyed fox creeps across to its den in the culvert.

Are lazy Sunday drives, once the mainstay of 1950s nuclear families, making a comeback? Are the drivers frantically trying to find the way to an uncle’s farm they haven’t seen since childhood?

No. The latest tourism destination is the proverbial ‘empty’ Saskatchewan landscape itself. Or, more specifically, the landscape of places that used to exist, but are no longer there.

Welcome to the latest tourism craze: hunting for ghost towns. Continue reading