The Grand Hotel was built in 1929 during the pre-depression boom era.
We were expecting our first weekend getaway since the end of the pandemic restrictions.
An ad for an auction selling the contents of Shaunavon’s former Grand Hotel caught my eye. Amazingly, my partner volunteered to join me on Sunday.
She HATES auctions.
We decided to make it a weekend, staying in Swift Current with dinner at the casino. Good choice. She earned enough to pay for the weekend.
Arriving in the pretty town of Shaunavon the next morning, we struggled to find the Crescent Point Wickenheiser Center.
SIRI on my phone kept directing us to the John Deere dealership. A city dweller who was walking gave us directions.
The hockey arena has been magically transformed from a dirt floor with few seats into a large, well-built ice rink.
Tables laden with auction items were lined up in the rink.
The Grand Hotel has a heavy local history. Built in 1929 during the pre-depression boom era, it rivaled the larger three-story Shaunavon Hotel and became a major fixture of social life.
Two tragic murders were committed in the brick hotel.
sergeant. Arthur Barker of the RCMP was murdered in the rotunda in 1940 by friend, rancher and soldier Victor Greenlay, who was acquitted of insanity.
Two months later, Toy Ying was charged with the murder of two men after a fight with owner Mah Hop and several others. Ying was sentenced to two concurrent terms of 20 years.
We were interested in seeing artifacts, but most of the items weren’t from an old hotel. The contents of the hotel included the remains of a closed antique store.
“A pile of bric-a-brac,” commented one visitor, as if my partner didn’t realize that some people’s bric-a-brac is others’ treasure.
An elderly woman from Swift Current was rummaging through a box of old calendars. Holding a naked calendar, she said. “Look what I found, a calendar from 1967. That’s the year we got married.
“Yeah,” her husband said. “That’s what she looked like when we got married.”
“I didn’t,” she replied.
Mike Montagne of Moose Jaw found some interesting items, as did a couple from Swift Current who collect Coke memorabilia.
Before the auction, we had a delicious sour cream raisin pie at the concession, one of the highlights of the day.
Prices started low with few people and fewer bidders. Three fakes sold for $15. An old metal base charcoal oil lamp with glass globe sold for $25. Twelve of the lamps without globes sold for $60.
I had not signed up for an auction paddle. Thinking of all the great deals to come, I had a decision to make: buy a paddle and buy a bunch of great deals that I don’t have storage for, or go home.
Reluctantly, I chose to go home.
Ron Walter can be reached at [email protected]