Move over ‘Newfie’. Whether departing the confines of Smoking Tent or feeling exhausted after a long drive to finally reach Climax, one thing is certain—Saskatchewan just may be the best province or Territory in Canada for unique place names.
A person can travel from Cadillac to Kandahar or from Girvin to Mervin, spend a day communing with nature on Nut Mountain, Onion Lake, or Carrot River, get married and have a romantic honeymoon in Love, spend the rest of your life in Livelong or Young, pick yourself up from a way-too-long blue funk by moving the family from Wartime or Shackleton to Smiley or Unity, make a huge life decision in Major, Choiceland, or Cando, spend the winter in Summerberry or the summer in Winter or Burr, start a business in Success, Reward, or Bounty, live like a king or queen in Imperial, Star City, or Paradise Hill, spend the night brushing your teeth in Colgate, listen to classical music in Mozart, quench your thirst in Drinkwater, or even sip a cup of tea in Earl Grey.
Some towns purposely flaunt their unique names; for example, no one can miss the big sign an hour’s drive due west of Saskatoon that reads “New York is Big, But This is Biggar.” Whether you are of masculine gender and want to visit Beverly, Francis, Mildred, Margo, Laura or Nora, or a woman who would like to linger in Leoville, Scott, Kyle, Bruno, Allan, Ralph, or Theodore, a person will have a good chuckle at the road signs to any destination in Saskatchewan but will likely have to wait for a date in Findlater.
Last weekend I drove to a small community called Elbow which leans on the eastern shores of Lake Diefenbaker north of Moose Jaw and just south of Eyebrow, a community that appears to be plucked out of the vast prairie landscape. My purpose for going there was simple—I was missing the sea. It had been over eight months since I set foot on the familiar fine sand of Crescent Beach in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, before my departure to Arizona last fall, my last embrace with the salty cool breeze, the warm squeaky white sand beneath my bare feet, and the soothing healing energy of the Atlantic Ocean.
I must be honest—when I first arrived in Saskatchewan, I seriously questioned my sanity regarding my decision to come to such a flat, desert like, and desolate-looking environment. The long drive from the US border to Craik, Saskatchewan, was not only arduous on the poorly maintained secondary roads with their potholes and broken pavement but also in stark contrast to the rolling hills, lush pastureland, and snow-capped mountains of Utah, Idaho, and Montana. But once I saw the water’s edge in Elbow, I felt as though I were right back on the shores of the Atlantic—my new home away from home.