The Canadian grain elevator’s have always expressed a way of Canadian life..it saddens me to pass through so many prairie towns and no longer see them, they truly have been a Canadian icon. It’s structure has gained almost mythical proportions in all our minds, one that was firmly implanted in mine at a very young age.In the name of progress they are quickly disappering from the prairiescapes and being replaced by the larger, much more impersonal grain terminals.
I was four years old and my biggest thrill of the summer was jumping into a big hauling truck with my grandpa or uncles and taking the grain to town.I used to sit in the cab and be elevated by the Pool elevator’s hoist and then wait until all of the grain was out of the box before the truck was lowered. It was a lot of fun. My grandpa would give me 2 cents and I would happily run across the street to buy a black licorice pipe. I’ve always associated grain elevators with licorice to this day!
I was thrilled to find this vestige from my past still standing and I could visualize my grandfather getting out of the truck and unloading his grain.
And just like my great grandfather who had strong ties with the beginning of the Canadian Wheat Pool and is very well known to this day for his involvement, I like to think of this strong statement made by Walter Herbert in 1933… speaking as publicity director for the Canadian Wheat Pool,terminal elevators were “castles of the new world” because “they are for-tresses of peace, storehouses of plenty, essential links in a chain of peaceful trade and commerce”. He concluded that they “constitute one of Canada’s offerings to the goddess of progress”… Have things really changed so much?
Alas..the days of knowing which town you were driving through by the name proudly displayed on elevators are gone … my prairie GPS has now been replaced by a boring electronic device and once again I am reminded that you can go back to your past and what a wonderful foundation it provided for our future.
COPYRIGHT ES-TEE MILLER
“Don’t look back..your not going that way”…