Green Lake – Saskatchewan
People headed to the Northern Village of Green lake mostly to visit their RV park and lake. But what waskwanderers got instead was the most amazing stories and history lesson from the mayor and owner of the Station Place, Ric Richardson.
Waskwanderers started out exploring the town and eating at TD’s. We had a great pizza at the cute diner, drove around the town, got directions to the RV park from the friendly staff at the town office and took some photos. While exploring, we saw the dock, found some Saskatoon berries and checked out the boat launch and camping. The quaint little town was adorable and we thought we had seen it all.
We were just heading home when we saw that the little train station on the side of the highway had an open sign on it. So, we decided we had enough time to quickly stop in and see what that was all about. We stumbled upon perhaps the most adorable little roadside café that I have ever seen. Inside the walls were adorned with portraits of powerful Metis people from throughout history mixed in with veterans and local elders. There was a delicious aroma of fresh bannock floating in the air. The owner greeted us on the deck and led us inside, starting what was about to be an amazing hour of stories and history of Green Lake.
Turns out the station place is owned by none other than the Mayor of Green Lake and his wife, Ric and Rose Richardson. She bought the train station when it came up for tender in Meadow Lake some time ago and the pair moved and renovated it together, restoring it into the café/museum that it is today.
Ric started telling us stories as soon as we walked in. Explaining photos on the walls, telling us about how he had written a grant that had gotten their community funding for green power initiatives that had been recognized by Premier Trudeau, pointing to a photo of his standing next to the Premier on the wall. He pointed to some dried plants that were in frames on the wall and explained that Rose was a traditional healer and worked with traditional medicine. He then asked if we had heard of the Metis man with terminal Lung Cancer in the news a few years ago that refused radiation treatment and opted instead to use traditional medicines? We said that yes, that sounded familiar. He explained that traditional medicines are extremely powerful and often overlooked. He then shocked us by saying he was that man and that he was given two months to live but that was three years ago. He talked about how Rose’s traditional medicine is what is keeping his alive (and healthy, you would have no idea from looking at him that he had cancer) and that they speak at cancer conferences of the power of traditional medicines.
Rose wandered over while Ric was telling stories and offered us fresh bannock and Saskatoon berry jam. She told us a little bit about the place and how she wanted it to be a place where people could come off the highway and get not only a little food but also some rest, some peace, heal a little. She spoke of how she prepared food that would not only feed the body but the spirit. She always made sure the food was prepared in peace and told us if someone came into her kitchen with anger or arguing about politics, she would cover up the food and take it out so as not to let the negative energy affect it. As we tasted the bannock, I feel like I understood what she was saying. I have never had bannock that was so light and airy and warm and filling all at the same time.
Bannock sits ready on cake displays on the counter when you walk in
I could write an entire book filled with the stories they told in that short answer. Ric had stories about the importance of aboriginal soldiers in world war two and his experience visiting Holland after the war and having his father treated as a hero and liberator when in Canada, Ric and their family was used to facing harsh discrimination. He spoke about the origins of Green Lake and the legend of how it was found. Rose told us about her mother and how she also had the gift to know the land, her mother knew there was a deep trench in the lake long before there were maps made of the bottom of the lake.
All in all, the Green Lake station may just be Saskatchewan’s hidden gem as far as quaint coffee shops that are unassuming but hold some of the most amazing stories and history I have ever experienced. Everyone should get to speak with Ric and Rose and learn just a little more about where we came from and what Saskatchewan is founded on.
Richard and Rose stand on the front porch of their restored train station museum