I was recently contacted by Greg Hamilton, the son of Donald Hamilton. Donald had taken many photographs of grain elevators in the late 1980s and early 1990s in his home province of Manitoba, and ventured into Saskatchewan and Alberta as well. Greg asked if I was interested in scanning those photos for use on this web site. Absolutely!
There are about 20 binders of photographs, organized by elevator company. I have scanned three binders to date and have started adding the photos to this site. In some cases Donald had photos of elevators that weren’t on this site – like Birdtail, Kelloe and Cracknell – and in other cases his photos are adding to existing elevator pages.
I expect it will be a long process to absorb this collection into the site, but Grain Elevators of Canada will be a better place for it and I am very grateful to Greg for allowing these photos to be scanned and shared.
I want to give a warm welcome to Braeden Watson, who has joined the GEoC team with a large contribution of grain elevator photos. Braeden sent in a number of Alberta grain elevators that were not already on this site, including Dapp and Leduc among several others.
The book “The Great Grain Elevator Incident” is a young adult novel by Kevin Miller, book 4 of a series set in the fictional town of Milligan Creek. This book is not specifically about grain elevators but they are prominently featured throughout the book.
The book follows four boys as they “concoct a wild scheme to save their grain elevators”. It follows a familiar real-life theme of a grain elevator company planning to build a large concrete grain terminal outside of town that will make the town’s historic elevators obsolete.
I received this book from the author as a review copy. I enjoyed reading the book and finished it in a couple of hours. The book reads well and the story moves right along, with a few interesting turns that I did not expect. It is not necessary to read the first three books in the series.
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One elevator involved in the recent sale of Louis Dreyfus facilities to Parrish & Heimbecker is being challenged by the Canadian Competition Bureau. The Bureau says the former LD facility outside Virden, Manitoba and the P&H elevator in Moosomin, SK were “close competitors”, and this purchase eliminates that competition.
Because both elevators are now owned by the same company, the Bureau says that they will no longer compete to offer farmers the best prices for wheat and canola, and that will result in lower income for local farmers.
Looking at a map of grain elevators around Virden, one can see that farmers in the Virden area have few choices for online grain elevators. The closest non P&H elevators to Virden are Cargill in Oakner, Viterra in Souris, Richardson Pioneer in Kemnay, or Cargill in Elva 80 km south.
Farmers between Moosomin and Virden appear to have no real alternative other than to drive considerably farther to one of the other elevators.
The filed notice calls on P&H to sell one of the two elevators and to not acquire any elevator in the area for 10 years unless approved by the Competition Bureau.
I have been looking forward to Forgotten Saskatchewan for a while now. I’ve followed author Chris Attrell‘s work for some time on his web site, and in fact he used to own grainelevators.ca before I bought it from him. I’ve admired his spectacular photos of abandoned buildings and I expected his book would be great. It didn’t disappoint.
Forgotten Saskatchewan is chock full of images of abandoned Saskatchewan. Its 144 pages feature forlorn old farm houses, weathered grain elevators, rusting vehicles, empty churches and abandoned barns. Each image was carefully created, and often feature starry skies, aurora borealis or eerie lighting.
This book is really a love letter to Saskatchewan, a tribute to the decaying beauty in its disappearing small towns.
The book was published by MacIntyre Purcell and the print quality is excellent. If I ever write a photo book, I would strongly consider this publisher. Each page features a beautiful full colour image with a descriptive caption.
Some of the photos were clearly taken from a drone, giving a unique perspective.
There are a number of grain elevators featured in this book, including Dankin, Bents and Neidpath.
The 28* stories cover all sorts of tales about grain elevators, from bringing grain to market through elevator fires and other mishaps, and include such titles as “Lead in Her Pants” and “Dam(n) Progress”. In general the stories are amusing, touching, and sometimes poignant.
* there are actually 29 stories; the last is Ms. McLachlan’s own story of being married to an elevator agent.
The book is illustrated by historical photos as well as some contributed by noted photographer Chris Stackhouse, including the stunning cover photo of the grain elevator on a farm near Woodhouse, Alberta.