Beyond the flatlands that Saskatchewan is commonly known for, there are many unique treasures and history that I took for granted until I discovered photography.
My passion for photography began ten years ago when I moved back home to Saskatchewan from Alberta. I moved into Melville, which is 41 kilometres southeast of Springside in the east central portion of Saskatchewan. My fondest memories are of the family farm and Whitesand district, which is about ten miles northeast of Springside. Photographing sites from my home area became a way for me to preserve these memories.
In 1963, my grandparents decided to leave the Whitesand farm district and move into Springside. My uncle and aunt took over the family farm, and I spent a lot of time there as a child. At that time, there was no running water – it was pumped from the well. To this day, my uncle and aunt reside on the farm, but in a different home and with modern facilities. The outhouse, summer kitchen, barn and other older structures that surround the farm still remain.
Most of the pioneers that immigrated to the Whitesand district came from Ukraine, Austria and Germany. My great-grandparents who came to Canada from Ukraine, settled in that area in 1907.
Whitesand church, also known as Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a mile north of the family farm. Under the Presbyterian clergy, the first Whitesand church was built in 1911. In 1938, they dismantled the old church and constructed a new one, and it then became a Ukrainian Greek Catholic church. My great-grandfather was one of the founders of this church. Many people assume these older churches in the countryside stand deserted; fortunately, my family church is one of few that still opens its doors for mass. Services run from spring to fall. Local priests from nearby cities still travel to some of these country churches to accommodate the remaining faithful parishioners.