August 6, 2020

Parks and Gardens

Legion Park/Arboretum

This little gem is tucked away, surrounded by residences on all sides.  It is a public park but must be accessed from one of the alleys.  Crescent Lake Road is to the east, York Street to the north, Ayr Street to the south and Montreal Avenue to the west.   Established as a  Children’s Play Park by the Canadian Legion as a Centennial Project in, it was renewed as a Millennium Project in 2000.   Many trees were planted, several identified by species and variety, and many given as living memorials celebrating the lives of family members or friends.    An enclosed area with swings and slides and room to run, it provides a great spot for young families and children from the Day Care.  Benches, or the grass to lie on while contemplating the clouds and birds, makes it a perfect place to relax or enjoy a little picnic.

This designated green area along Crescent Lake Road is found at the end of Commercial Street and includes the Saltcoats and District War Memorial that honours those from the community who enlisted in the wars 1914-1918, 1939-1945. It is a place to remember our debt to many and to renew our commitment to peace and justice in the world.  Every year visitors stop to read the names on the monument. Here is a place from which to look out on Anderson Lake and the attractive poplar, aspen and other native trees and shrubs on the opposite shore. A wrought iron tree is adorned with hanging baskets of petunias.  Moveable planters will this year give way to a small bed of mixed perennial and annual flowers.   Grassed area and trees are provided with picnic benches where many choose to have a midday lunch in shade or sunshine.   The Park is named for George Gunn, a man who, with his wife, Mabel, gave years of service to the community, a man who believed in the community, its people and its future.  The fine stone wall, a decorative feature of the park, provides a great background for special event pictures.  The wall was, for the most part, the creation of Cliff Erratt, a local man and community builder with a love for the pattern and texture of rock.

The Resting Place

At the heart of Town, opposite the Post Office and next door to the Simonne’s restaurant on Commercial Street is The Resting Place provided with benches and a pleasant ambience.    This is a pleasant place to sit and read or visit with friends.    In winter Christmas lights, or sometimes a surprise feature – such as the Olympic Display in February 2010 – invites comment and appreciation.   Decorations here often correspond to the banners found along Commercial Street – another project of the Beautification Committee and especially Wendy Hume.

The Old Stone Building

Located on Commercial Street this old stone building has resulted in much speculation and some conflicting stories.  The work of an early settler with stone masonry skills developed in his native Scotland, the building was reputed to have a secret hiding place for a bottle of good whiskey.  Joyce Morgan and Barb Straker of the Beautification Committee have looked after the flower planting there since 2000.

The Century Garden

Another spot to stroll, or sit, is the walled Century Garden located at the end of Commercial Street on High Street.    Beautiful perennials, some annuals, and the growing shrubs and trees  near this garden are lovingly tended throughout the summer.   William denBrok , past his 80th birthday, engineered this wall and then supervised the volunteers who helped in its construction.  Bob and Wendy Hume spent hours working with Bill and said that they didn’t believe there was a rock in the wall he hadn’t handled personally. 

Immigration Hall Garden

Once the site of a large Immigration Hall, this garden, just at the intersection of High Street and Hill Street, will honour all who came from so many different countries and cultural backgrounds to create the community we know today.    An antique farm wagon, covered with containers of flowers throughout the summer, was donated by Bud MacKinnon and his family for this garden area.   A bed of flowers and plantings of shrubs and trees will give this area a unique flavour.   The Community Beautification Committee anticipates a series of plaques along a walking trail that eventually will meander from Hill Street to Crescent Lake Road.    The committee hopes individuals and groups will want to honour particular ethnic groups, or particular features of community life through the decades.   Walter Farquharson is the person to talk to about this project. 

Cairn and Saltcoats Cemetery/Scattering Garden 
Every year many visitors, some with community connections, others just passing through, will take time to wander through the community’s well-maintained historic cemetery.   Flags and an available written guide help anyone interested learn much of a community’s story by strolling through the cemetery.   On the wall of the Utility Shed at the centre of the cemetery there is a map and listing of all graves.  Location of family graves is easily accomplished thanks to the map and to the posts with the identifying grid numbers.   Cemetery upkeep requires the generous financial support of families whose family members and neighbours have been buried here.  A wonderful large rock with plaque marks the area of the cemetery designated as a scattering garden where cremains can be scattered.  A book of memory, connected to the Scattering Garden and Columbarium and to be kept at the Town Office, will be worked on this summer and fall.   A columbarium near the Scattering Garden houses cremation urns and provides families with another way of memorializing family members who have died.  Trees planted as living memorials, identified and provided with appropriate plaques, add beauty and dignity to this area.   Some trees, already established, are available for designation, and arrangements can be made for new trees to be planted as memorials.   (Contact Town Office or Walter Farquharson.)

Sloughview Park

This delightful corner of the world just six miles east of Saltcoats is owned, planned and maintained by John Sawkey.  He has his own website  (insert)  and Sloughview Park is one of the recognized trails of the Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail Association


Leflay Trail

Named for Jay and Minnie Leflay who once owned the land where the trail is located, and one of the trails of the Yellowhead Flyway Brding Trail Association, this excellent walking trail meanders through aspen groves and more open pieces of parkland/prairie. The present owners, the Klause family, have generously allowed public access to the land and the trail.  Walkers will spot a variety of trees and shrubs, wildflowers, birds, and small animals.  It is not unusual to startle, or be startled by, deer.  The quiet walker may come upon  rabbits or raccoons, beaver, muskrat , mink or porcupines.  And , of course, small amphibians or reptiles can be spotted, and a variety of butterflies and other insects.

The beginning of the trail is in the Regional Park, near the Dr. J. R. (Jim) and Shirley Jowsey Wildflower Heritage and Conservation Area.


The Dr. J.R. (Jim) and Shirley Jowsey Wildflower Heritage and Conservation Area"

The Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail Association and the Saltcoats and District Regional Park Authority have worked co-operatively to designate and preserve this small parcel of land:


"The Dr. J.R. (Jim) and Shirley Jowsey Wildflower Heritage and Conservation Area"

Jim and Shirley Jowsey have lived their lives as respected and knowledgeable naturalists who have shared their passion, enthusiasm and knowledge with a host of people.   Their particular expertise in the identification, photographing,

 cataloguing and describing the many species  of wildflowers found its culmination in the publication of  "Wildflowers Across the Prairies", a user-friendly and scientifically accurate compendium of the wildflowers that have been part of the landscape of the great western plains of North America.    F. R. Vance,  J. R. Jowsey and J.S McLean were the authors of this book published in 1984.  The acknowledgements at the front of the book speak of Shirley Jowsey's skill,  wisdom and commitment to the project as being "substantially equivalent to those of the authors."     The third edition of the book  (1999) includes an exciting section on grasses, sedges and rushes by Frank A. Switzer who, like Jim Jowsey, is  originally from this area.


The Jowseys are charter members of the YFBTA.   In 2008, Dr. Jowsey was named  Honourary Chairperson of Nature Sask.


This area celebrates the Jowseys, the book, "Wildflowers Across the Prairies", and the wonderful but threatened multiplicity of species of wildflowers that have delighted generations with their beauty while also providing the original inhabitants of the land and early settlers with plants with medicinal and other household uses.


We invite you to pause and wonder at the amazing richness of the natural world. Take time to find and identify as many wildflowers as you can.   Step carefully, and with gratitude for life and all living things, so that future generations may also know something of the beauty and diversity of the natural prairie.

...more Parks and Recreation links

Monument and Gunn Park