FTLComm - Aylsham - October 1, 2000

The mixing zone between the great central plains open farmland and the boreal forest is referred to geographically and literally here in Saskatchewan as "parkland". When you look around the village, perhaps hamlet, of Aylsham one thinks immediately of a park with the amazing flat prairie surrounding the settlement and all of its grass cut, this would indeed be like living in a park.

The picture at the top of the page is in the middle of the settlement, a settlement that obviously was once a thriving rural agricultural town. Across from the
hotel and bar which still does
a good enough business is
the little park (above right) with its sign that recognises the contribution of the community's pioneers. Behind the sign is the firehall.

The only modern building in the former business area is this excellent office building that still houses the credit union and a senior citizens drop in centre.

Aylsham is located about half the distance from Arborfield and Nipawin and about half way between
highway #35 and Carrot River.

The first time I ever was in the village was a Saturday afternoon when we bought a car in Nipawin and needed to get our license transferred and the only nearby place open was the license agent who was the hotel owner in Aylsham.

This picture shows the post office and a closed store. The forces of depopulation have been mounting on this community as we look around and discover that the
school has been closed down
for many years. Its playground remains and the grass is kept cut but the people who would have once worked here are long gone and with them the children now are bused off to school in other communities where schools are still open.

This is one of those things that the local politicians would have said was a good thing and that it kept the costs down, but the final economic accounting on this one is unlikely to have proved the politicians right. Rising transportation costs,
the transfer of cost from the
school division to the parents and the reduced quality of life for anyone who spends about an hour of each day riding to and from school on a bus would have to make closing small rural schools a money losing, not gaining, proposition.

This picture shows the functioning Aylsham United Church which is served by one of the United Church ministers in Tisdale.

The streets and yards in Aylsham are spacious and this illusion is enhanced by many building having been removed, but the over all impression is that of a pleasant civilised place to live.

The flat land that surrounds this village is remarkable and the large drainage ditch that
runs through the community
obviously tells us that once and perhaps, many times, a
small spring run-off stream turned into a massive flood zone and would have inundated the houses and businesses that was Aylsham. With that yearly threat to deal with, this huge waterway appears to have been constructed to conduct the spring floods and move that water expeditiously to the Carrot River.
This massive excavation dominates the village and may account for the way the place looks like a park.

This picture and the one above are of the same area each looking toward the other.

Though the place looks like it will vanish, not everyone holds that opinion, as there is a honey operation amidst the trees on the East side and just North of that is this really big house just appearing to be in the final stages of construction. (Below right)

On the Eastern side of the village is a very busy agricultural service business that sells fuel, fertilizer and provides custom chemical application to farmers in the area. Aylsham Agro is an aggressive and thriving business in the community and it is not the only such business to operate in this area as there is a competitor
just on the other side of the
railway tracks on the East
and West grid road that heads toward Carrot River.

At one time these two elevators provided employment for two families who would have lived in the village, but I do not believe either of this profitable wooden grain elevators are
still open for business.

The Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, who hold the record for massive less than successful business decisions, has closed all of its terminals in the whole area, concentrating on its two inland terminals in Tisdale and Melfort. Both of these huge operations have been forced to lay off workers and are seriously unprofittable, while the wood elevators like the one in this picture, were money making businesses. It would be unkind and rude to call the decision makers stupid, but it would be accurate.

Aylsham is not a ghost town it has people who keep the place looking good and live
comfortably in the surroundings they call home. Surrounded by some of the most productive growing material you can find anywhere on the planet. This is one of the province's best and most productive agricultural places to be found.