Book chronicles Midale business history

Kaylene Scharnatta is pleased with the response to her new book A Walk in the Past: Remembering Midale the Way it Was.

Scharnatta, a former Midale resident who now resides in Bienfait, said it has proven to be popular with readers, thanks to the stories it shares on the businesses that have been in Midale in the past, and those that are still part of the town today.

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“I think it turned out great,” she said. “I’m very pleased with people being so interested and wanting a copy of it.”

The genesis for the book came when her aunt, Ione Langlois, approached Scharnatta about writing the book. Langlois was born in Midale but now resides in Saskatoon.

“She wanted to do it, but she was busy doing a book on her own, and so I said ‘sure,” said Scharnatta.

The book chronicles the businesses from 1903, which was the year that Main Street started growing. Scharnatta believes she did a good job of chronicling the businesses that have been in Midale, particularly on Main Street.

“I asked a lot of questions about some of the older people, and based on what they have told me I think I am pretty close at getting all of the businesses,” said Scharnatta.

The bulk of the businesses are from Main Street and Railway Avenue. She noticed a lot of growth in Midale during the town’s formative years, and some diversity in the types of businesses Midale has seen.

“People tried different things,” she said. “It was a growing town for a lot of years.”

There were multiple grocery stores, hardware stores, automotive garages and farm equipment stores. The town also had a bowling alley, a pool hall, a barber shop, a bank, a drug store, a town hall, a clothing store, a dentist, a butcher shop, a hotel and a restaurant.

There aren’t as many businesses now as there used to be, since many of the businesses on Main Street have been transformed into residences.

Scharnatta tried to include information on who owned the businesses, how long they owned those business and the type of services they provided. Some businesses were family owned and operated.

Photos are also included with many of the business profiles.

“I tried to find as many old photos, pictures of Main Street that I could. I’ve also included a little bit about the hospital and Doc Mainprize (long-time physician Dr. William Mainprize), the Midale rink and the schools.”

During her research, she noticed that the people of the community helped each other out.

“There seemed to be a fair number of fires in the early years, and everybody helped out one another, whether it was cleaning out a building or helping to build up a building,” she said.

The fire department would get their water from the nearest slough back then, and so it took a lot to transport the water to extinguish a fire.

Scharnatta finished the book last summer, just before the Souris Valley Trekkers’ annual Pioneer Echoes weekend. It was for sale at the event, and she sold out that weekend.

The first two printings of the book have sold out. A third printing has been released, as is now available at Midale’s town office, or by emailing Scharnatta at kaylene.s@sasktel.net.

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