While it’s not usually something that people talk openly about, feeling it better to let people wonder just what exactly is different about them, Maple Creek isn’t quite so reticent as it shouts from the highest rooftop – “We’re getting a facelift!” (Ok, maybe they’re not exactly shouting from the rooftops, but they are, excited!). And as it is with many who chose to “have a little work done,” it’s less about denying their age, and more about celebrating their youthfulness while honouring their past. With so much going on there lately, I think it’s simply a matter of wanting their outside facade to look as vital and youthful as they feel on the inside!
From frontier town, to drive-thru town, Maple Creek has gone through a lot of changes since it’s start in 1883. But none more so that these past few years, so it’s no wonder they want to see those changes reflected in the eyes of those who visit Maple Creek, perhaps for the first time.
Enter Mainstreet Saskatchewan
Mainstreet Saskatchewan is a pilot project developed by the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport, that will see four communities (Wolsey, Indian Head, Prince Albert, and Maple Creek) receive up to $125,000.00 per year for three years, to develop, revitalize and preserve their downtown’s history and vitality. A vitality that’s already being seen in the new businesses that are popping up all over and around Maple Creek, with more to come.
From fine dining, to luxury accommodations, and kitschy shops of handmade furniture, antiques, clothing and housewares, as well as fun establishments, that feature live music, and cute coffee establishments (that serve the best cinnamon buns), while Maple Creek use to be the place you simply drove through on your way to the Cypress Hills, now it’s the place to stop and stay or even return to, while you’re visiting the Hills or any of the other growing list of attractions that can be found in the Cypress Hills Destination Area.
But more than just a bricks and mortar fix up of the storefronts, Maple Creek’s Mainstreet Saskatchewan project aims to be a unifying project that will help the community reach their full potential, and attract even more new businesses and more tourists to this thriving community hub.
If you’ve been to the southwest you might have passed through Maple Creek as you headed for the hills, but trust me when I say you’ll soon come to realize that Maple Creek is…a gateway no longer.
Shine on Maple Creek – Shine on!
How to Get There: Just off the Trans Canada Hwy, almost midway between Medicine Hat and Swift Current, there’s plenty of signage to take you into town, but here’s a map just in case.
What to Bring: At this point in time, pre-revitalization I think you need to bring an open mind, that the community has many hidden gems, you just might have to search them out. Head to the Town’s new website to help you find those gems: Town of Maple Creek
Gotta Go?: Check out the Star Cafe’s gorgeous Red and Black Bathroom (at least the women’s is gorgeous – haven’t been in the men’s) – You’ll feel prettier just for having been there.
Good to Know: You don’t have to go all the way to Fort Walsh – just to get a taste of history (though we highly recommend you do). Maple Creek has not one but TWO Museums to give you a taste of the past.
You Should Also Know: The Town’s Visitor’s Centre isn’t in one of those cute caboose’s turned visitors centre, nor is it in a grain elevator, to find this one simply turn left onto Jasper Avenue, and you’ll see a two story (very old) yellowish building to your left. They’ll have all the info you’ll need for both the town itself and the surrounding area.