Once we even joined a sunshine capital!

With so much sunshine following our floods, it becomes appropriate right now to stop and remember Estevan, Sask., officially saluted as the “Sunshine Capital of Canada” at the time we joined it in community twinship about 15 summers ago.
It had been nationally decided to pair up towns of similar size and get them sharing interests to create more long distance harmony across the country. And it seems Estevan fell in with the idea.
So, first thing you know, a number of our leading townsmen and ladies had accepted the offer of a flight west aboard a Cherokee owned and piloted by Ken Mosher, then the local manager of Canadian Tire.
Returning a visit here on Canada Day, the week before by Estevan Mayor Galen Waldmeier and his missus and its Chamber of Commerce president, we took along a few of our own municipal and civic leaders, including Larry Cousineau, Aage Rude, and Gail Moser—and nobody ever regretted that experience.
As advertised, the sun was riding high and Estevan had other prominent features on display, including a giant ethnic celebration and parade.
If you enjoy our own Culturama, imagine mixing in nationalities and ideas from every other continent as well, especially the Philippines, whose people seem prominent in Saskatchewan.
Filipino dancing can be very thrilling—and also quite dangerous as long bamboo poles are slapped together while a dancer risks injury leaping between them!
And if schools go empty out there, why that’s what the ethnic groups are waiting for—places to teach their languages, dances, songs, and customs. Something for us here to think about at times!
Anyway, Mayor Waldmeier, a former Saskatchewan Roughrider football star, had us all over to his home for an evening and gave us the Estevan background.
This included coal mining, and there are mountains of it on the Estevan skyline along with much tall machinery. The same light-coloured coal already had started moving here by rail to Atikokan for its new power generation station.
We learned a lot on that little jaunt and how Estevan had acquired its sunshine reputation by actually counting the days and hours the sun shone there compared with other centres.
Fort Frances would not have been in competition then and yet. But maybe we can still challenge someday if our weather of the past week keeps up—instead of serving us the other kind that we know too well!
• • •
Another challenge is arriving quickly with next year’s centennial and our planning for it. At this time, we hear all the history knockers who want to take away the colourful additions made to the Pither’s Point lakefront.
Then we view the beautiful brochure on Old Fort William and Thunder Bay’s success with so many history-loving tourists.
It shouldn’t take too much more money or imagination to complete what started here so impressively with all that axe work in rebuilding our own Fort Lac La Pluie honouring fur-trading explorer La Verendrye.
The same stockade could be staging a torrent of events by next summer, so why destroy it before it fulfills its destiny?
Maybe the Lookout Tower can’t ever be considered safe, but by taking away its bottom steps, it need not be destroyed completely. And who would want to remove our beloved “Hallett” that contributed so much to our employment and industrial development with all its log towing?
Instead of eliminating these sites, can’t there be compromise, especially right now, with emphasis on preservation?
Many felt badly when our first little old school, which had been carefully placed among these relics, was lost to time. The efforts of such pioneers as the late Cecil Howarth and Roscoe Richardson, who got the school moved, went rudely thankless!
There has to be a reappraisal of Pither’s Point and its historical attractions—and a revival of the same zeal like that keeping Old Fort William so very much alive!
• • •
Some of our greatest local achievers have been handicapped by arthritis, which becomes more noticeable currently because of the national campaign. A name that gets mentioned is that of Darryl Webb whose suffering has spanned many years.
I haven’t met him lately but his brother, Allan, doesn’t hesitate to sing his praises and much of this I knew about because of years we both spent around the arena where tough Darryl has been an ever-active volunteer.
I’ll put it in Allan’s words: “Hundreds of youngsters owe Darryl for his interest!”
Always arthritic, yet always standing ready to serve as coach or mentor, Darryl couldn’t get enough hockey for either himself or youngsters.
• • •
Munro Plumridge has dropped another fact about our wild west promoter, Jerry Sawicki. He did have an older brother named Greg. This also is remembered by Mitzi Armstrong.
• • •
You don’t have to ask for the name of the great cookie maker around the Sister Kennedy Centre here, and she’s tireless, according to her many friends.
So Elvina Zrum had to explain: Her arthritis doesn’t allow her to sleep at night. For years now, she just gets up and starts making cookies! Her friends and neighbours claim she could make a fortune in a cookie shop of her own. Her production seems to have no limit!
Elvina is the widow of equally well-known Ray Zrum.
• • •
And what would Fun in the Sun be without swimming? But what can you do with an underwater beach and dock at Pither’s Point—even though the water has been warming quickly lately.
The boys bouncing on the long sunken dock there for the past week claimed the water was “really nice” and apparently convinced lots of others to join them.
On Saturday, the dock boards were at least two feet under the waves, which only made for more fun!
• • •
A hot weather joke: How can you trade a dishwasher for a snowblower? Just buy her a snowshovel!

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