When we went to Gravelbourg, my biggest disappointment was that the Mayfair restaurant was permanently closed. The Mayfair was an icon in Gravelbourg and Sunday Brunch at the Mayfair was the stuff memories were made of. A visit to see my mother always included taking her for at least one meal at the Mayfair.
That being said, amazingly the high point of our trip to Gravelbourg was our breakfast at Cafe Paris. Not only was our meal perfection but we were able to dine in their very unique and secluded courtyard, so that Kat could nap comfortably in the shade while we enjoyed our breakfast.
We have definitely discovered a great place to start making some new cherished memories.
One thing I did not get a good photo of was the ‘ceiling’ of the courtyard, which was a lacy combination of vines and patio lights. It was so pretty and I am sure it is gorgeous in the evening when the lights would be twinkling amidst the vines.
Our trips to Gravelbourg will not be as frequent as in years gone by, but I am fortunate to have my own little magic courtyard at home for when I meditate. Maybe next summer, we can get some vines and twinkling lights for my evening meditation. 💞
Time to head out to my personal little French courtyard! Wishing all a nice Sunday. Take care and I will be back tomorrow!
Our main priority for our recent trip to Gravelbourg was to visit the graves of my parents and grandparents. We had not been back since my Mother passed away eight years ago, but nothing felt more familiar than driving through the cemetery gates.
There is something so fascinating about graveyards – especially small country graveyards. The monuments are so unique and personal. It is easy to contemplate the lives of those who have been laid to rest in these graveyards. From the tiniest infants to the tots, the teenagers to those who passed away in their prime, to those who lived long full lives, did they feel loved? Were they excited to experience this life? Were they grateful that they lived in a country like ours, a land of peace and plenty? Were they amazed by the changes that took place in their lifetimes? Were they happy?
Growing up, I heard stories of many that now lay in this country graveyard. I heard heartbreaking stories, funny stories, life stories. I heard of their days at small country schools. I heard of horse and buggy trips to socials in neighbouring communities. I heard of their labour that went into the fields and the building of their community. I heard stories of these people struggling and surviving the great (and definitely not so great!) depression and two world wars. I heard of these people celebrating weddings and funerals, Christmas and Easter, and summer picnics at nearby Thompson Lake. I heard a lot of stories!
On summer visits to my grandparents, I met friends and relatives, that now lie in this graveyard. When I see my grandparents’ graves, I always notice the graves of their next door neighbours – in life and death – side by side!
Those were the best photos I had of the cemetery. I could have posted many more but each one holds so many stories, this blog would have run on indefinitely!
I hope you are having a nice day and anticipating a good weekend! See you tomorrow! 💞
Back to our trip home a couple of weeks ago… On Highway 2 just south of Moose Jaw, there is a heritage museum that we pass on our way to Gravelbourg. If you find yourself passing through southern Saskatchewan, I think this is a stop worth making. 😊
The highlight of this museum (in southern Saskatchewan, far from access to any ocean port) is what was meant to be a seafaring steam ship. This ship was built by one determined Finnish immigrant, during the great depression, using a few handmade tools and brute strength. The complete and strangely fascinating story of Tom Sukanen and the Sontiainen can be found here.
What began as a tribute to one of our more colorful settlers, has grown to a sizeable collection of historic buildings filled with relics from our past. One such building is a firehall filled with firefighting items from the early 1900’s. Plans are being made for a building to house and restore the fire trucks that have been collected over the years.
There is also a large display of farming equipment that would have been used by the early settlers to this area.
If you are interested in visiting the Sukanen museum, there is more information to be found on their official website.
I hope you found a little magic in this short tour. We did not have time to go inside the Sontiainen or any of the buildings, only a few of which I have shown here. Maybe next time! I will be sure to share the photos I am able to get at some point.
Have a great day and I hope to see you tomorrow! 💞
The town of Gravelbourg was founded in 1906 by French settlers led by Father Louis-Joseph Pierre Gravel.
Recently, there has been much negative press regarding the Catholic Church and native residential schools in Canada. This news has somewhat, and I am sure inadvertently, been misleading for many.
There were 139 native residential schools in Canada where native children were placed against their will and against the will of their parents.Of these schools, 44 were operated by the Catholic Church. There was widespread abuse throughout the entire 138 school system – verbal, mental, emotional, physical and sexual. Many children died from disease and other unknown (and frequently nefarious) causes.
I only mention this because, this horrendous part of our Canadian history, has no connection to Gravelbourg or the other French Catholic settlements in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan. There were no such schools in that area and no means by which people in that area (or their particular Catholic clergy) would have been privy to any knowledge of these schools until relatively recent history.
The basic truth is that the Catholic church was instrumental in founding several communities across Canada. They built and maintained hospitals, schools, and churches and provided the opportunity for settlers to build ‘communities‘ by hosting religious services and social events. The church provided safety and refuge to French settlers, especially in this area, as they were often targeted for attack by local member of the Ku Klux Klan. These French settlers were typically honest, industrious, caring people who took care of their own and supported others – all others – in their communities. Which is, to this day, typical of their descendants.
The Town of Gravelbourg has a rich and magical history, of which the Catholic Church played a major part. I hope you enjoyed this short tour of the buildings that continue to stand at the heart of this unique community. Did you notice how well the grounds of all these buildings are kept up? It is the same throughout Gravelbourg – their parks, their streets, their graveyard. Everything is so well maintained and I don’t think we saw a piece of litter anywhere. It is an amazingly neat and tidy community.👍
I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful day. See you tomorrow 💕
Dan and his golf buddy decided to stay home and golf a couple of our local courses this weekend, instead of taking their annual golf trip. I feel bad that they decided to forgo their little holiday, but it is nice having Dan here for the better part of the weekend. 🤗
We had a nice dip in the pool after we got home. The water is super warm and crystal clear this year. I am lucky that Dan stays on top of all the filter and chemical stuff even when he is on a set of shifts.
Hope you have a nice rest of the evening and have a good weekend planned! See you tomorrow! 💞
On our way to Gravelbourg last week, we made a few quick stops in the small city of Moose Jaw. Like Gravelbourg, Moose Jaw is a unique community with a rich history that has been well preserved. This magical little city on the prairies also has a few newer landmarks that add to it’s charm.
Unfortunately, due to impending weather, we did not have much time in Moose Jaw. I hope you enjoy the photos we were able to get. We will be returning to Gravelbourg this summer, so we will get more to share with you at that time.
I hope you enjoyed the bit of Moose Jaw I had to share today – proof positive that Saskatchewan is not just open skies and barren praire! Next time we go through, I will try to get photos of some of the residential areas and few other landmarks.
Have a great rest of the day! I hope that you have your own special place to contemplate the magic around you!💞
There are any number of unique homes in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. Driving down any street, you are guaranteed to find at least a couple of magical residences. Today, I have photos to share of just a few of my favourite. 💞
It is amazing how many fantastic homes there are in Gravelbourg – and how well they have been maintained for generations. I have no idea who designed the early homes in this town or how they had the resources to build them. They obviously had a vision and the determination to carry it out.
As much as the infrastructure of this town has constantly been modernized over the years, I love how they have stayed true to their history. Even the new homes in town have the style and character to blend in with the overall ambiance.
Wishing all another beautiful, magical day! See you tomorrow with more photos from our trip this week. 💞
It was supposed to cool off this week as Dan started a run of five days off. Since it has been more than a few years since I have made a solo trip (or done anyhighway driving), I asked Dan if he would like to take a magical trip to Gravelbourg with Kat and I. He came, he drove, and we just got back. 👍
The main objective of this trip was to visit my parents gravesite, clean up anything that required cleaning and set out some fresh (immitation) flowers, to brighten thing up for them and for both of my sets of grandparents, plus my Uncle Herman who is buried with my parents.
Dan and I had not been back to Gravelbourg since Mother passed away eight years ago. We were both so worried about what kind of a neglected mess we would find at the graveyard, that we drove straight there when we arrived.
We were relieved to find everything in fairly good order. In fact the entire town of Gravelbourg looks extremely well kept. The pride that the residents have in their small prairie town is obvious everywhere.
The pandemic has left its mark. There were businesses that are permanently closed. There are also many homes and businesses that are up for sale. Even these properties are well maintained.
I took a number of photos in Gravelbourg and on our way through Moose Jaw yesterday. I will share the best in the next few days.
I hope you are enjoying this beautiful day! Take care and see you tomorrow. 💞
It is so magical to watch our garden grow and change every day! I could spend all day outside puttering about. I hope you enjoy the photos, I snapped this morning. I have to stockpile them for when winter inevitably returns!
That is my magic to share for today! Dan is on ‘days off’ so I am off to enjoy his company. 💞
I hope you are having a productive and magical day!