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Built in 1931 by Ivor Frigstad, this building has hosted many different proprietors and businesses. Divided into three premises, it has housed a grocery store, dry goods, meat market, post office, drugstore, and fishing tackle shop. The Frigstad, Arner, McCarter, Tallon, and Archer families have been involved over the years.
From the 1930s through the 1950s, Ernie Arner and seven of his ten children, Lucille, Dot, Ralph, Nettie, Ester, Vi and Ken operated it as Arner’s Arcade Stores. Ernie had started the Waskesiu Lodge Store for the busy opening years of the Park and then moved to the Arcade Stores.
"Ernie was a soft-spoken, courteous and honest proprietor. He treated all his customers no matter their circumstance - with dignity and respect, and demanded that his children do likewise. (Over the 25 years he was at Waskesiu, he employed 7 of his 10 children.). . .
"During the 1930's, the government sent relief workers to the park to make roads, cut trails, build a golf course and in general get the park's infrastructure up and running. The 30's were a desperate time for many; money was scarce (or non-existent), and the men who found themselves working in the park had few options. Many had families to feed on their dollar-a-day wage. Dad knew how hard times were, and would extend credit to these men, or accept their cheques and promissory notes. A few years ago, when rummaging through some family papers, we came across a stash of cheques that he had never bothered cashing, along with a number of iou's. Most of these dated from the 30' s, and many were for amounts less than a dollar."
Memories of Waskesiu by Ken Arner 07/11/2005 in the collection of Parks Canada/Prince Albert National Park.
“Mr. Arner was a gentle, quiet man who epitomized service above profits. He kept his store open from 6:00 A.M. until midnight, “In case some fisherman might want a loaf of bread.” Mr. Arner gave the same considerate service to anyone wanting a free cardboard box as to those who ran up large accounts….Mr. Arner always remained unruffled and never showed any signs of anger. He kept a watchful eye and knew who were the light-fingered locals. But he maintained his gentle disposition and allowed them their misdemeanours.”
Former employee Betty McLeod Anderson reminiscing about Mr. Arner in Waskesiu Memories, Volume I, edited by Dorell Taylor.
“Souvenirs in the early 1930’s were manufactured by Ralph Arner in a small shack behind the ice cream parlour in the Arcade Store. Ralph had kids picking up and bringing to him horns discarded by moose, elk and deer, from which he made cribbage boards, lamp pedestals, and so forth. The old horns buffed and varnished, with Waskesiu printed on them, left the Park to homes all over Saskatchewan.”
Story contributed by J.W.H. Sanderson, Q.C. to Waskesiu Memories, Volume 1, edited by Dorell Taylor
(Photo of the Dairy Bar)
Since 1990 owners Les, Dave, and Linda Archer operated it as the Waskesiu Trading Company grocery store and bakery. The fragrance of fresh cinnamon buns lured hungry visitors here until the Archers built and relocated to the building next door in 2019.
The Dairy Bar, The Milk Bar, The Beach House, The Angry Taco
From its location overlooking the shoreline, the building that formerly occupied this site served food, drink, and ice cream treats to visitors. From 1931 until it was torn down in 2017, it mainly housed restaurants including the Dairy Bar, the Milk Bar, Hannigans, the Beach House, and the Angry Taco.
It has always been a favourite spot for locals to gather at morning or afternoon coffee time to share the news and enjoy the view. Visitors have enjoyed dining here on the decks or taking food back to their beach blanket. Nowadays, people still collect at the picnic tables to visit and enjoy the treats from the store bakery.
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