Western Sunsetters 2019 Rally in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

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Sixteen LTVs gathered from June 25 – 28, 2019 in the River Park Campground, which is situated along the Moose Jaw River in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. We had 5 vans from Manitoba, 5 from Alberta, 3 from Saskatchewan, 2 from British Columbia, and 1 from Spokane, Washington.

Tuesday, which was our arrival day, was a casual day with everyone meeting – some for the first time, and others who have been attending Western Sunsetter Rallies for years. After everyone prepared and ate their own suppers, we all met around the fire pit where Norm Lavoy went over the schedule of activities planned for the next few days.

Wednesday started early with everyone transporting themselves to the Western Development Museum on the north side of Moose Jaw. This is a wonderful museum that deals mainly with transportation, so there was lots to see in regards to trains, autos, and airplanes. There were also two special displays, one dealing with the history of Saskatchewan and the other dealing with the life and accomplishments of The Right Honourable John Diefenbaker, the 13th Prime Minister of Canada, who served from 1957 to 1963.

After our visit to the Western Development Museum everyone went their own way for lunch at various restaurants or back at our campsite.

At 1:15 pm, we caravanned south 13 km to the Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum. 2019 is the 50th anniversary for this museum. It now has nearly 50 display buildings and numerous storage buildings, which represent the early settlers, the coming of the railway, the building of grain elevators, and the development of pioneer towns in Saskatchewan. It also has acquired the Diefenbaker Homestead, a 100-year-old grain elevator, and the Sukanen ship. This large vessel was built by a Norwegian settler in his effort to sail along the Saskatchewan Rivers to the Hudson Bay and then across the North Atlantic to his home in Norway. Unfortunately he was hospitalized before he could accomplish his dream.

Wednesday evening ended with a pizza party, with pizzas coming from Boston Pizza, who were gracious enough to provide us with an area in their lot to park our vans since we planned to visit downtown Moose Jaw the next day. We also enjoyed some juicy and tasty Texas watermelon that Bill Harder arranged to get to our rally from Winkler, Manitoba.

Thursday was a day spent in downtown Moose Jaw. In the morning we had four tours booked for the Tunnels of Moose Jaw and two tours of The Chicago Connection, which deals with the shady past of Moose Jaw and its connection to Al Capone and his hard liquor enterprise during prohibition in the US. We also had two tours of the Passage to Fortune, which is a sobering story of the Chinese immigrants who lived and labored beneath the streets of Moose Jaw in appalling circumstances in the late 19th and early 20th century. We had 29 of our rally participants take part in the tours.

After the tours, which ended at approximately noon, everyone took time to visit the different shops in downtown Moose Jaw before we met for lunch at 1:15 pm at Hopkins Dining Parlour. This is an old Victorian three-story home that was converted to a restaurant in 1978. The home is filled with many antiques and collectables. We had a private room on the second floor that easily seated all 31 of us. Over a leisurely two hours we enjoyed a wonderful lunch. After lunch, many of us took more time to enjoy the many attractions of downtown Moose Jaw.

The evening ended with another bonfire and people relaying stories of what they enjoyed the most over the past few days.

Friday morning was time for goodbyes with some of us leaving very early and others leisurely relaxing around the campground before a late morning or early afternoon departure.

All in all, it was a wonderful time and everyone is looking forward to a future rally!



Western Canada Sunsetters

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