Saskatchewan, one of the prairie provinces in Canada, is full of tiny towns and long-forgotten history. Saskatchewan ghost towns are scattered throughout the province just waiting to be discovered, crumbling with the life that used to thrive there.
They’re filled with memories of times past, when people carved their lives out of nothing until the harsh Canadian winters grew to be too much and the people fled, leaving a skeleton of their hometown behind.
I was travelling down Highway 16, 55km from Yorkton Saskatchewan when the top of the domed roof of an old Ukrainian Orthodox Church peeked out over the horizon. Because of the flat prairie landscape, the rest of the abandoned Saskatchewan ghost town of Insinger quickly appeared alongside it.
What happened to Insinger SK?
In the late 1800s, many European settlers came to Canada after being offered free land if they could set up a working farm within one year.
Due to the harsh farming conditions from dwindling resources combined with long, intense winters, many of the settlements became forgotten Saskatchewan towns. The once-bustling communities of farmers and families who built their entire lives from scratch in these towns were abandoned and left to become Prairie ghost towns.
Saskatchewan is littered with ghost towns, due to life in the Canadian prairie province being harsh. The bleak conditions caused hundreds of citizens to flee from their homes in search of more prosperous farmlands or easier lives in the city.
In fact, Saskatchewan has so many ghost towns that there’s a Ghost Town Trail which ventures through southern Saskatchewan and visits 32 individual ghost towns. If you love exploring ghost towns, be sure to drive along this route located in the Palliser’s Triangle region of Saskatchewan.
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When I pulled into Insinger, I parked my rental car just outside a beautiful orthodox church. I was disappointed to find the aged church’s wooden door was locked because it was striking enough to grab the attention of anyone passing along the highway and I was eager to catch a glimpse of the undoubtedly beautiful inside the door was guarding.
A lot of the buildings and houses were brightly coloured and cheery, despite the decaying, peeling paint and grass overgrowth revealing their true age. The closer I got to each abandoned building, the more exposed wood wearing away from neglect I saw.
As I wandered around, I had the distinct feeling I was being watched. I felt quite uneasy, like someone was lingering close by, unseen and unheard. I kept glancing in the windows of the houses as I passed – could someone be inside watching me? My stomach was in knots of anxiety.
Related Post: The Ghost Towns of Alberta – Rowley
Other people are the scariest thing in Saskatchewan Ghost Towns
Why is it, when you’re in a place without human life, that the thought of running into other people is the scariest thing that could possibly happen?
I peered back at the post office which looked like it could still be a working business. Is that a thing? Would a random post office be operating in a neglected ghost town? The fliers affixed to the door seemed to be recent. I never tried opening the door, but I did wonder if there was someone inside, watching me as I ran around the town taking photos.
The farming community which sits within the county boundaries of Insinger Saskatchewan population is made up of a mere 20 people. I later learned that locals do still use the post office and the town office within the ghost town of Insinger.
As I walked around, I saw a number of abandoned houses toppling over into themselves. Some of the houses in the Saskatchewan ghost town looked like a cross between lived in and crumbling decay. This made wonder if the houses were possibly places where people passing through Saskatchewan would stay awhile on their way to their next location.
The few businesses in Insinger were from a former lifetime, now nothing but crumbling buildings with broken windows and wooden doors that permanently sit open, allowing the weather and critters to find solace inside. One of the former shops that specialized in fibreglass and septic tanks had a “For Sale” sign attached to its small, wooden front, framed by broken windows and missing roof shingles.
Saskatchewan Ghost Towns – Are you ever really alone?
On my trip, my feelings of unease about whether or not I was alone in the tiny Saskatchewan town made me want to flee. I didn’t get to explore the interior of any of the houses. But I did find a really great video made by someone who flew a drone through Insinger and captured the inside of some of the houses. Check it out here.
Perhaps on my next visit to one of Saskatchewan’s ghost towns I’ll have more success and be able to check out some of the interiors of abandoned places.
Saskatchewan ghost towns are all over the Canadian province, each one telling a different story illustrated by dilapidated structures that create a creepy, desolate atmosphere. The next time you see a cluster of deserted buildings, be sure to stop by and take a look. It’s definitely recommended learning what you can about the history of the area, as you wander through the forgotten Saskatchewan towns.
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