The village of Ducaj near Boge, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Tirana Airport, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Go west, young man...

This phrase was first used in 1851 concerning westward expansion. The fertile farmland of the west was considered an ideal place for people willing to work hard for the opportunity to succeed. The phrase came to symbolize the idea that agriculture could solve many of the nation's problems of poverty and unemployment that plagued the big cities of the East.

My grandfather was born in Nova Scotia. When his older brothers became of age, every summer they hopped on a train to Saskatchewan to work the harvest. Eventually, it was my grandfather's turn, and he headed to Saskatchewan as well.

One summer, working on a farm near Moose Jaw, he met my grandmother. They were married, and my father was born in Moose Jaw. Eventually, the family moved to British Columbia, and my father ended up going to school in Toronto.

So it's funny now that we have ended up back in Saskatchewan. In fact, out of all of my uncles, aunts, and cousins, we are the only ones!

I think people from the east should still be moving west. The maritime provinces have always hovered around 10% unemployment, while Saskatchewan sits between 3% to 4%. During harvest season, it's probably closer to 2%...which essentially means that anybody who wants to work is already doing so. I think that people in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland shouldn't be allowed to go on Employment Insurance (EI, here in Canada)...they should be given a one way ticket west for the whole family!

Unskilled? You can get a job here at the snap of your fingers. Almost every business in town has a "help wanted" sign up. Minimum wage is $10.20 an hour, but most businesses pay more than that in order to get people. You even find listings like this in the "help wanted" ads...

Need help unload truck on May 24 in aft for 2 - 3 hours - $30 per hour.

Housing is cheap. You easily rent for under $1,000 a month, and if you go to the smaller towns, it'll be cheaper than that. Want to build your own house? You can buy a 50' x 100' building lot in the town of Cabri for $2,500.

When we were driving across Canada in the fall of 2007, we drove through Swift Current. At the time, I said "why would anybody live here?" We laugh about that now!

Well, now we know why people live here. There's a real community spirit, and we see that every day here at the park. For the most part, the locals are friendly, and everybody helps out.

I still like the mountains better, but the prairies are growing on me. We're glad we made the decision to "go west"!

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  1. I love the prairie....can see miles in any direction. Plant a couple of trees & flowers and it's home sweet home. I'm watching 'Long Time Round' with Ewen McGregor's motorcycle travels through Europe...I watched the first episode of them in about wide open spaces and prairie but rugged. They filmed traveling through Canada which is in later episodes...looking forward to completing all. I finished their travel to South Africa in 'Long Way Down.' Awesome trip!!

    1. Now that we have been in Saskatchewan for three summers we can certainly see an attraction to it that we didn't see back in October 2007 when we were just driving through it.

      We watched the "Long Time Round" quite a long time ago but I don't remember it all. and then we started watching "Long Way Down" but didn't have the whole series downloaded so only watched part of it. I think we need to watch them both again. Thanks for the reminder! :-)

  2. Five years ago, we spent the month of July in Newfoundland and Labrador, and we were amazed at the number of people "on the dole." Since the cod fisheries had all but shut down and most of the folk had been involved in fishing one way or another, what was left? Nothing. Maybe the Maritimers have no money to move west or don't know how to go about it. I'm with you, tho, you cannot beat the west.

    1. Yes unemployment is bad there because of the fishing and the closing of the canneries that relied on the fishing. I believe Newfoundland is now working hard on developing their tourism there but that is normally only going to get them through the summer.

      I think the main reasons they don't move is because they can get unemployment and because of close knit families and the fact that it is human nature to be afraid of the unknown, so they are scared to make that big move.

  3. I toured out west in 1975 (loved it!) and was offered a good job in BC on the island, but had a good job at the time and was recently divorced. I did not want to miss out on my children growing up in Ontario so came back. We spend most of our summers now in Ontario to watch our 5 young, (soon 6) grandchildren develop and spend some time and make memories with them too.
    We have been lucky to be able to still see a lot of country in the process. If I had a family to move out west I would have done so a long time ago..

    1. Living out in British Columbia would be expensive but beautiful and we thought about it once ourselves when our children were young. I think that what Kevin is talking about though is that we should be reverting back to those days so long ago when people went to where the work is instead of just handing out money to people who live where there is no work available and even paying to move the entire family. There are a lot of opportunities out here in Saskatchewan.


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