Sask author celebrates the prairies

October 4, 2018 3:41 pm
Kara Kinna

A Saskatchewan author has released a book celebrating the rich rural history of the prairie provinces.

Dion Manastyrski grew up on a small farm near Rose Valley, Saskatchewan.

The book “Prairie Sunset: A Story of Change” has been a multi-year project across the three prairie provinces to photograph historical places, and gather anecdotes from retired rural people, along with historical photos from archives, to combine into a fine-art photo book about rural prairie history.

Dion Manastyrski roamed the Canadian prairies, photographing old abandoned houses, barns, schools, and churches. He interviewed over 70 people who lived that past way of life, when the small family farm was at the heart of rural life on the prairies. Also included are 50 historical photos and documents from government archives. The photos and their words are interlaced to tell a story that begins with the pioneer years and covers many aspects of prairie life over the 150 years.

“I searched for understanding as I explored the homesteads of a vanishing era, and I talked to people of the prairies,” says Manastyrski. “Collectively they have a remarkable story to tell, and I would like to share this.

“It’s a book about hope and dreams, hardship and survival, family and community, and most recently, rapid change. It highlights the richness of the way of life on the small family farm. This is a story we are all connected to. I wanted to create a fine-art, high quality book about the past, to be handed down to future generations.”

After exploring the rural prairies to create this book, Manastyrski is travelling to deliver this story back to the people of the prairies. His goal is to get the book into almost every town and city in the three prairie provinces. The book is so far available in about 200 stores in towns and cities across the prairies, including the World-Spectator in Moosomin. Copies are $65 each.