Ghost town Robsart, Sask. (Photo by Johnnie Bachusky)

Speaker series brings ghost towns to Red Deer Museum

Stories by Innisfail author Johnnie Bachusky

Local author Johnnie Bachusky will be leading people down the desolate streets of ghost towns in Western Canada through his photos and stories on Jan. 17 as part of Central Alberta Historical Society’s speaker series.

Bachusky, whose collection of books include Ghost Town Stories in Alberta, said he revisits some ghost towns annually, including St. Boswells, Sask. where nothing remains but sidewalks and a few foundations.

“The feeling that you get standing on that sidewalk, and there’s nothing around. It’s the coolest thing,” Bachusky said on Tuesday.

“There’s beauty in that despair because it’s been left alone. You’re walking these sidewalks and you can imagine. Your mind takes you to a different time where there were kids playing on the streets and there were shops,” said the editor of the Innisfail Province.

For a lot of people ghosts towns evoke images of swinging saloon doors and a row of abandoned houses, he said.

“That’s Hollywood. My definition of a ghost town is a place that is now merely a shadow of its former self.”

Uranium City, Sask., which Bachusky said he still wants to visit, once had a thriving population working in uranium mining. It’s shrunk to about 200 people, but it’s still a ghost town.

Half a dozen people still reside in Robsart, Sask, a regular stop for Bachusky during the summer.

“It’s arguably the most photogenic ghost town in Western Canada. It still has a lot of abandoned stores. This one is about as close to a classic Hollywood-style ghost town that you can imagine.”

Alderson, AB. west of Medicine Hat, is another of his favourites that has been the topic of many books.

“That place was supposed to be opening the new frontier of Alberta. It was suppose to be a big city offering all kinds of hopes and dreams and prosperity, but fires, grasshoppers, depression, drought — all that destroyed it.

“Most of the foundations of the buildings are still there. You can make out the streets. It’s a very, very lonely place.”

But there’s a real beauty that transports visitors back in time, he said.

Bachusky said his focus has naturally morphed into stories about people who lived in these communities and worked at businesses and institutions that were once vibrant.

“I think a lot of people really marvel at the simplicity of living back in those days. I certainly do.”

Central Alberta Historical Society speaker series with Bachusky, held at Red Deer Museum, starts at 7 p.m. and runs about an hour, followed by time for questions. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Pro-pipeline protest convoy approaches Ottawa after rolling across country

OTTAWA — A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolls into… Continue reading

Amazon aims to cut its carbon footprint

NEW YORK — Amazon, which ships millions of packages a year to… Continue reading

For sake of pupils’ pupils, China to ban homework on apps

BEIJING — An eastern Chinese province plans to ban teachers from assigning… Continue reading

Parole hearing for Calgary man who strangled wife, buried body in basement

BOWDEN, Alta. — A man who strangled his wife and concealed her… Continue reading

Red Deerians brave the chill to spend Family Day in the new Celebration Plaza

The 2019 Canada Winter Games hub attracted a lot of parents and kids

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

Vancouver duo faced health scare while making Oscar-nominated ‘Animal Behaviour’

TORONTO — Husband-and-wife filmmakers Alison Snowden and David Fine had almost finished… Continue reading

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard drops second-round match against Simona Halep

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard is out of the… Continue reading

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s iconic couturier whose designs had an unprecedented… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

‘Black Panther’ costume designer blazes trail to inspire

LOS ANGELES — Ruth E. Carter is a black woman blazing a… Continue reading

Chicago police: Jussie Smollett assault case has ‘shifted’

Chicago police said Saturday the investigation into the assault reported by Jussie… Continue reading

Most Read