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At the Ogema Public Library, Donna Hartley says that sometimes a library is the only place that can take care of a community's needs. Photo by Lynn Giesbrecht.

Donna Hartley, quick with a smile and a friendly hello, started out with a love of books. This landed her a job at the Ogema School library for 29 years. It was there that her love of books turned into a love for libraries. She began to volunteer at the Ogema Public Library, and eventually joined the library board as a trustee, a role she has had for over 20 years. Hartley also serves as the Ogema trustee to the Southeast Regional Library System that meets in Weyburn.

Ogema train station

 

In 1998, the town of Ogema decided to preserve the rail line that ran through the town, and started a 14-year journey, which began with a creative idea and ended with a new industry for a town struggling to stay afloat.

Blanche Verboom, manager: Second Time Around

Second Time Around, the second-hand store in Ogema, Saskatchewan, does much more than sell antiques, it also raises money to support the Regional Park.

Archie Shaver outside the Jean Shaver Art Gallery

“That’s me there, miserable little character, eh?” Archie Shaver says with a smile, pointing at a photograph of himself and his four brothers when they were younger. He motions to a photograph of his mother riding a horse. “And mom, she traded a picture of a herd of horses for that saddle horse.”

Wayne Peterson, the creator of the Ogema Sports Hall of Fame

The town of Ogema, Saskatchewan is home to the Deep South Pioneer Museum, which houses over 30 historical buildings and artifacts from the hundred years of Ogema history; however, there was no specific home for all of the Ogema sports memorabilia. Wayne Peterson remedied this when he bought the old Ogema Masonic Lodge and converted it into the Ogema Sports Hall of Fame.

This rare structure was built in 1916 as a barrier against fires. Government said it wouldn't last five years, yet the fire wall stands a century later. Photo by Jayda Noyes.

Around 8’oclock in the morning on Wednesday, January 27, 1915, D.R. Rowatt tipped a gasoline lamp near a burning stove in his butcher shop. A fire immediately commenced, and spread across the east side of Ogema, Saskatchewan. Fireman raced to fight the raging fire. With temperatures as low as minus 54 degrees, their fire extinguisher was frozen. The fire levelled the entire east side of Main Street, leaving everything in ashes and consuming $25,000 of property.  

Solo Italia's Mar and Kevin Casimiro

At the corner of Main Street and Prospect Avenue, half way down the only paved street in Ogema, Saskatchewan sits Solo Italia, a pizza factory that separates Ogema from all the other cookie cutter towns sprinkled throughout Saskatchewan. Their unique product, authentic Naples-style pizza,  is made with ingredients shipped from Italy, and cooked in a hand-made brick-oven, built by the owner.