Sunday, January 27, 2013


It sounds like it’s going to be another banner year here in good ol’ Sask-atch-ee-wan in 2013. We’re hosting the 101st Grey Cup in Regina this November, the economy is soaring and people have been moving here in droves. We’ve even reversed the former trend of our population’s mass exodus to Alberta as more Albertans have moved to Saskatchewan than Saskatchewanians, (try to say that one ten times really fast), have moved to Alberta. That’s the first time that that has happened in a long, long time.

There are still many people chasing their “Canadian Dream” across provincial borders but more and more people are choosing to stay in or to move to Saskatchewan. And many are moving “back”, as it were.

In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s Saskatchewan had the third highest population total of all of the Canadian provinces behind only Ontario and Quebec and the fastest rate of population growth in the young country. The “Dirty Thirties” and a World War slowed down that growth and it would take three decades to return the province to its 1931 population levels. And now, as of July 2012, the population of Saskatchewan was estimated at 1,079,958 and counting.

There are a number of reasons why so many people are choosing to move, or return to Saskatchewan; some of which are the booming economy, a lower cost of living and the lowest unemployment rate in the country. Many of the newcomers are finding out why so many of us stubborn Saskatchewanians, who didn’t move out of the province, would have stuck it out here through thick or thin.

Perhaps one of the greatest attributes of the people of Saskatchewan is the ability to laugh at ourselves and fully accept who we are. Case in point:* “You Might Be From Saskatchewan If”—Someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don’t work there…Your Dad’s suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead…You have ever apologized to a telemarketer…You have used both the air conditioner and the heater in your car on the same day…You can actually understand, and perhaps describe in detail, the necessity for geographical correction lines…You find minus 20C “a little chilly”…You know all four seasons as Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter and Construction…You’ve required a total of 40 stitches, over the years, for various lacerations suffered while doing the butterfly at wedding dances…..Your pronunciation of Saskatchewan is down to one syllable: Skatchw’n.

No one better exemplifies a true Saskatchewanian than perhaps one of the provinces most famous residents…George Reed. He wasn’t born in Saskatchewan and his legendary football prowess is what brought him here from Seattle, Washington. After football, his other career, as an executive with Molson’s brewery, which he had while he was still playing professional football, too, took him out of our province to Alberta, where he lived for the next 25 years but, then, he returned to Saskatchewan in February of 2009 as Director of Guest and Community Relations with Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw.

I recently read George’s 2011 autobiography, which, by the way, should be required reading for any Saskatchewan resident, and discovered that through all his celebrity, his on-field football exploits, his 1000 yard rushing seasons, his football records-it is George Reed the man whose main attributes are best shared and identified as being the qualities that most Saskatchewanians are proudest to have. Hard-working, proud, dedicated, loyal, trust-worthy and humble.

George Reed has been honoured in Regina and Saskatchewan for his on and off field accomplishments many, many times and at 73 years young doesn’t appear to want to slow down much at all and he still, after all these years, has a hard time seeing himself as a legend. When he was asked why he thinks Saskatchewan people still relate to him and so generoulsy support his charitable causes he had this to say: “What prompts people to do that? My reputation, my identity, my presence? No, not really. That’s such a small aspect of a much bigger picture. Saskatchewan people are isolated in some ways, by their geography, their remoteness from large urban centres, their brutal winters, their small population, but they are a determined and proud bunch, committed to making their homes as good as any Canadian region that has more favourable location, climate or resources. They believe in helping each other, in contributing to the greater good, in making a comfortable and welcoming home for everybody.

What I seem to have become is someone to rally around-not a hero or a legend, but a man who shares some of the best qualities of Saskatchewan with its people. If that’s my role, my purpose, and my legacy, that’s just fine.”

‘Nuff said.

*-I would like to take credit for the information on "You might be from Saskatchewan if:"- but I got this from the Club Sask Website: a must-go-to site. Thank you Club Sask.

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