A publishing colleague in Alberta showed me Our Towns: Saskatchewan Communities from Abbey to Zenon Park recently and I knew immediately that no matter how crowded my bookshelves were I would find a place for this book. It's attractive, well designed, comprehensive, and well written.
The book is written by David McClennan and published by Canadian Plains Research Center (CPRC) at the University of Regina, with book design and layout by Donna Grant and cover and title page designs by Duncan Campbell of Regina. For anyone who has lived in or near a Saskatchewan town as well as anyone who is interested in prairie history, communities, and architecture this book is 468 pages of pure gold. It's worth far more than the $39.95 price.
The book contains information on 725 Saskatchewan communities. David McLennan covered approximately 55,000 km in Saskatchewan during the creation of this book. His writing is clear and concise, but it's more complete and, I expect, far more accurate than some of the anecdotal material available in the local history publications. The photographs he made and acquired make one want to visit each of the communities.
McLennan has respect for the communities which have prospered and those which have declined. In the discussion of the village of Golden Prairie, where I lived for approximately ten years, he explains how the village had been a successful community in the 1950s, but now the population is 35. 'Caragana bushes are taking over abandoned lots in the village.' He was certainly there.
If you buy this book, and I suggest that you do, do not lend it to your friends or family. They'll like it so much that they will go through it page by page, and you'll be left with a very used book when you finally retrieve it. Suggest that they buy it, or give it to them and buy another one for yourself. They'll be pleased to have it to pass on to their children, and the CPRC deserves continuing success for publishing this and many other wonderful books.