History greets you at every turn. Use the guide to see our Heritage Moments.
This log building circa 1930, now the Black Spruce Gallery, was built as accommodation and rented out to various businesses over the years for staff housing. To most locals though, it’s known simply as the Bank building. For many years it was a branch of the CIBC bank which provided service from Prince Albert a couple of days a week. Long before cash machines and online banking, this was a convenience to residents, businesses, and vacationers.
Scott Matheson shares this humorous story about the Bank in the second volume of Waskesiu Memories:
“Speaking of walking home I spooked a skunk by the bank. He went one way. I went the other. I woke Mom and Dad up with my hoofing and puffing, so I told them about the skunk. The bank was only open two days a week and the next morning was banking day. When I woke up late the next morning I was informed that my name was mud in this town. My friend Ed Schultz had opened a checking account that day; his cheque book smelled like skunk and so did most of the money that day.”
After the Bank withdrew, this space housed shops and galleries like Homespun Cottage Crafts, Indian Trader, Gallery on the Lake, Jason Leo Bantle’s All in the Wild Gallery, and now the Black Spruce Gallery. Each reincarnation required renovations. The current owner labored for ten days with a disk grinder to return the interior logs to their natural colour.
The Doctor’s Residence Next Door
Near the Bank on Waskesiu Drive was a building known as the Doctor’s Residence. The Parks Service provided the home to doctors and their families for one and two week rotations in exchange for providing health care services for the many summer visitors. With tens of thousands of visitors to the Park weekly, there were bound to be medical problems. Common complaints were likely sun stroke and fish hook removal. People were very grateful to have a physician available for serious concerns like heart attacks and broken bones. Prescriptions were brought up on the daily bus service.
Doreen Kerby tells how reassuring it was to have a doctor here in Waskesiu Memories, Volume III,
“I remember that one of the reasons why we wanted to buy [a cottage] at Waskesiu was because there was a doctor in residence all summer. With little children, that seemed like a safe solution. Falls, fishhooks, tonsillitis, sunburns, infections, dog bites, allergic reactions, you name it, we were happy to have those services.”
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