The Lost Don Video – Braddock, Saskatchewan

My former neighbor Don was a Korean War veteran and one of the best storytellers I have ever met. I used to love getting together with him and his wife June to listen to him weave a narrative.

One night over dinner I mentioned that I was getting ready to go to Saskatchewan to attend a Ghost Town Convention — the very first GTC. When Don asked whereabouts it was being held, I mentioned Hallonquist, Saskatchewan. Don’s face lit up and he said “I know exactly where that is; I grew up in a town very close to there called Braddock.”

It didn’t take much convincing to get Don to come out and join us.

On our first day of exploring, we visited his former hometown and he walked around the site with us, stopping at the dilapidated remains of his childhood home.

On the way home, we stopped by the remains of his grandparents’ home. While the house was nothing more than a pile of weather lumber, the rock wall his grandfather built many decades earlier was still there and as straight as ever.

I had some issues with my digital camcorder and some of the video footage was lost, as was some of the audio. In fact, I thought the entire recording was lost for several years until I discovered parts of it could still be played. By putting together some of my still photos from that day over the parts where the original video was lost, I was able to come up with something that is watchable.

Considering this was recorded 13 years ago, the audio and video quality is certainly not up to today’s standard, but the fact this footage remains is remarkable enough for me. I hope you enjoy it.

By the way, if you want to see and hear some of Don’s stories as a tank commander in the Korean War, check out this video:

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Visiting Some Newer Alberta Grain Elevators

We pay visits to grain elevators in Crossfield, Olds, Niobe, and Kuusamo on this self-isolating road trip.

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Sunnyside Garden Centre: Only the Memories Remain

Over the weekend, I happened to find myself near the intersection of Sarcee Trail and 16th Avenue NW. Up until recently, this would have put me in the vicinity of Sunnyside Garden Centre.

I have never been much of a gardener. Mowing the lawn is about as involved as I get when it comes to activities of the “green thumb” variety. However, I never passed up a chance to visit Sunnyside. Whether it was the pet supplies, the cutesy (some would even say corny) garden decor, or just the chance to get away from winter and go somewhere warm and humid for an hour, there was always a reason to stop in and walk around.

Sunnyside was a fixture in Calgary for a century. Originally opening in 1918 in its namesake community of Sunnyside, the operation eventually moved in 1946. At the time of that move, this area would have been somewhat rural, with the community of Bowness still being an independent town. The operation would remain in this location for the next 72 years.

Sunnyside Garden Centre Sign – April 25, 2020

The operation underwent a significant expansion, both in terms of size and services in the 1980s. They added pet supplies and new offices in 1984, a flower shop in 1986, and three new greenhouses in 1989. They were boasting of 10 acres of greenhouses and 200,000 square feet of showrooms by the time it was all done.

Of course, you know how this story ends because I’m lousy at burying the lead. It’s right there in the title of this article.

It was a shock to the many fans of Sunnyside when it was announced in March of 2018 they would be closing their doors forever. Initially expected to remain open for the entire 2018 growing season, further shock followed when they closed up for the final time on May 31 of that year. After one-hundred years of serving Calgary’s horticultural community, Sunnyside was no more. The seemingly never-ending expansion of Calgary finally meant the land was worth too much money for the owners to hold out any longer — or so I assume, anyway.

I had great plans of getting down there one last time but the extra-sudden closing of the doors meant there wasn’t time and it never happened. I didn’t even get there before the bulldozers came.

This sign gets the award for “Understatement of the Year”
Once where dreams of greenery sprang to life, now there is desolation.
A handicap parking spot marks the area near where the main entrance was.
The sidewalk stamp shows this curb was poured in 1991 by Lafarge.
Closeup of the sidewalk stamp
One of the parking lots across the street from where the greenhouses stood.
So-called “progress” is coming…

Sources:

November 30, 1989 (page 32 of 124). (1989, Nov 30). Calgary Herald (1939-2010) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/2265969841?accountid=140093

Offin, S. (2018, May 31). Sunnyside Greenhouses closed Thursday after 100 years of business in Calgary. Retrieved April 28, 2020, from http://globalnews.ca/news/4246343/sunnyside-greenhouses-closed-calgary/

All photos taken by Dan Overes and are copyright DanOCan.com

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Geocaching on “Narrows Island” on the Bow River

Another “self-isolation” video, this time to one of the first ever “vlog” style videos I shot, back in November of 2016.

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Exploring the Abandoned Readymade School

Another flashback in our “Self Isolation Series”, this time back to 2012 and a visit to Readymade School which was demolished shortly thereafter.

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