Western Trip

Starting August 15, we took a trip to Saskatchewan to visit family and do some genealogy research by attending a Toth family pilgrimage to Kaspovar settlement near Esterhazy Saskatchewan.

Because of bridge problems on the Trans-Canada highway near Nipigon, Ontario we decided to travel the U.S. side of the border, entering the U.S. over the Bluewater Bridge at Sarnia/Port Huron, then north on I-75 through Michigan and then west on U.S. 2 through Bemidji  MN and Grand Forks, ND and then north to Brandon Manitoba, crossing the border into Canada at International Peace Gardens border crossing.

2016-08-15 16.01.48
Mackinac suspension bridge
2016-08-16 13.05.56
Lake Superior Park

After staying the first night at Escanaba, Michigan, this was a noon hour stop near Duluth/Superior in Northern Michigan along the shores of Lake Superior.


We stopped for the second night in Bemidji, Mn. and had to visit Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox to take their pictures.

The next day we travelled west on US 2 to Grands Forks and then angled our way north to the Canadian Border at International Peace Gardens that I have heard so much about. I was a little disappointed as the Peace Gardens are actually separate from the border crossing. We did not take the time to enter the Peace Gardens so this was a bit of a non-event.

We continued northward to Brandon and as we had a bit of extra time we took a detour to Carberry, Man. just east of Brandon. I worked there at BMO in the mid-sixties.


This is the house I lived in while in Carberry. Initially the single men lived here on the second floor, but as people were transferred I ended up living there by myself. Of course, the house did not look this good in the sixties as it is now a heritage site and has been restored.


This is the bank office where I worked. It is a three story buiding with the bank on the main floor, the manager’s residence on the second floor and additional residence on the third floor which was unused but previously provided premises for the bank’s single male employees. I was surprised to see the structure still standing on Main street but it has been declared a heritage site and is in the process of restoration. BMO has a new modern building for its offices just a half block south on Main street.

We stayed overnight in Brandon and continued the next day to Regina, about 4 hours away. I took a few pictures along the way.


This is typical of the landscape between Brandon and Regina – wide open spaces and huge agricultural farms.


This is a typical town in southern Saskatchewan. The two small grain elevators on the right are similar to elevators that used to appear in every small town in Saskatchewan. Their appearance on the horizon was the indicator that you were nearing the town. Over the years these elevators have been phased out, demolished and replaced by much larger inland grain terminals as shown in the center of the photo.

While in Regina Pat and I took a day trip to my childhood farm and the Serath area where I attended school.


The house used to be clearly visible from the road but is now surrounded by a huge growth of trees. The old barn has been replaced which is a good thing as it listed northward as the result of a small tornado many years ago.

Exploring the area, we noticed a huge gravel operation has taken over  two pastures that we used for grazing cattle. It has also destroyed a small lake that was a popular swimming hole. Only a small pond remains.



The rock and plaque on the left mark the location of  Crosswood School where I attended grades 1 and 2. It was a one room country school for grades 1-8 with about 20 students. Wet conditions in Saskatchewan have prevented maintenance work around the marker. The Maypole on the right marks the location of the school I attended in grades 3 through 11. Serath RidgeSchool was the amalgamation of three country schools that were closed. Because of the limitation to teacher qualifications, I had to complete grade twelve at the high school in Raymore and was paid $6.00 per day for self transportation. After many years it too closed and the school structure was dismantled. Part of the school was salvaged and moved to a community near Regina where it serves as an art gallery and library.

The original grocery store structure is all that remains of the small community of Serath. The pond on the right served as the school’s skating rink when it froze over in the winter. The fuel tank holds the name Serath in bold letters. This was done by the property owner when the Province decided to remove the highway sign that denoted the community for so many years. The Province cannot touch that tank and so the name remains.

We made one more stop before returning to Regina. This was at North Southey where I attended Zion Lutheran Church. While not used, it remains in good condition and is maintained by local area residents.

My next blog will explain more about this stop.





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