Moosomin named one of top 5 places to live in Saskatchewan

March 21, 2023, 1:28 pm
Sierra D'Souza Butts and Kevin Weedmark

Sam Mattie named Moosomin as one of the top five places to live in Saskatchewan. Kevin Weedmark took this photo of a sunrise in Moosomin last summer.

Sam Mattie created a video featuring his opinion of the top five places to live in Saskatchewan, which includes Moosomin at number five.

Three of the top five are in southeast Saskatchewan. Mattie includes certain stats in his videos, including crime rates, average incomes and housing costs, which explains why southeast Saskatchewan communities ranked so high.

Kevin Weedmark and Sierra DíSouza Butts reached out to Mattie to ask him about the videos.

First of all, how did Moosomin make the list of The Top 5 Places to Live in Saskatchewan?
So itís kind of funny. I go to school in Nova Scotia and my first year I met some friends that I live with now in my fourth year. One of my roommates is actually from Manor. In 2021 we drove from Nova Scotia out west with one of our other roommates whoís from Alberta. So I offered to come out with them to help them with the driving and my friend from Manor said ďWell, when you come through youíve gotta stop at our place and look at the farm.Ē So we did and we visited the farm and then we booked a hotel in Moosomin. We stayed at the Best Western, ate supper and went out a little. Itís just such a nice, small town. At that time I was just sort of getting into making the videos and talking about places and I took a lot of pictures, footage and all that stuff.

I knew that when I got around to making a video about Saskatchewan that Moosomin was one hundred per cent going to be on the list. It was kind of just like a fluke because we were looking for a town that had a Best Western because I had points built up for free nights, so I was looking for one that was somewhat close. Itís kind of just random how it happened but Iím glad we stopped.

We ate supper at The Red Barn and we were only there a night but it was a lot of funóit was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.



So have you done a lot of travelling around Canada?
Yeah, so Iíve actually been to every single province and one of the territories, Iíve been to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. I havenít done much in British Columbia because one of my roommates, heís from the Banff area so we just drove into B.C. a little bit. I can say that Iíve been there and visited but I havenít been to Vancouver or Victoria. Iím really hoping to get there soon.

How did you start this whole thing and why are you doing these travel videos?
Iím just really interested in geography and travelling is my favourite thing to do in the world. I played hockey growing up and you do a lot of travelling for tournaments and stuff so thatís where I started to get the urge to travel. Ever since I stopped playing hockey I kind of wanted to find a new pastime, and with my roommates here weíre all really into the whole travel/geography/history thing, so I figured that we might as well start talking about it.

The first two videos that I made were pretty much back to back. One was on the U.S. State of Arkansas and the other one was about Quebec. When youíre starting out you have no viewers or anything like that, so itís kind of just a matter of luck that they get found. So I kind of just made them and then left them for a couple of months and then it was actually when I was on the road trip out west, once I made it to my roommateís place in Alberta, I hadnít been on in a couple of weeks and I went on to check things and my notifications just blew up.

My two videos had around 10,000 views a piece and I was just getting comment after comment after comment. Then the algorithm on YouTube swings it to the rest of the videos and then I started to get a little more consistent with it.

Itís been a bit hard over the last couple of years to stay on top of it, especially with school and I work full-time during the summer, so I havenít been necessarily as consistent as I would like to be with it. But itís just been really interesting to watch them.

For whatever reason my top viewed video is the one on New Brunswick and itís got over 150,000 views nowóitís kind of insane. I maybe spent 45 minutes putting it together. I remember making it and it was between exams one day and I had some free time so I thought Iíd throw it together and sure enough itís my top viewed video.

I donít do it for the views or anything, I just like talking about places and sharing what other people think or different opinions. Iíll put top five from a certain state or province and then you get people saying, ďWhat about this place?Ē or ďI canít believe you didnít put that place!Ē Itís pretty fun and just interesting to debate with people who put their input in because everyone has been to different places, lived in different places and had different experiencesóthatís probably my favourite part of it honestly.

Do you plan to keep going with this? Do you plan to create more of these?
Yeah, so I have a bunch of videos that are already scripted and some of them are already recorded but I just havenít gotten around to edit them because editing is the most time consuming part of it by far. During the school year itís really tough to find the time to put the whole thing together because what I like to do is I like to do them all sort of in one go instead of record, have a bunch queued up and then going through and editing. I prefer to just script, record, edit and then upload all of them at once so I can stay focused on the same one. But itís a good three or four hours to get one done so once school is over in May Iíll probably get back into it because I donít start back to school until September. So my goal is to focus on it a lot more and have a bunch lined up and get more consistent with it.



Have you thought of coming out to Moosomin this summer and doing a follow up?
Yeah, well you know what, my roommateís dad lives in the Manor area but his mom lives in Miniota, Manitoba and Iím flying out to Winnipeg in July, weíre going to be there for the bonspiel and then Iím going to drive to Calgary and fly home from there. So weíll probably be passing through.

And where is home for you?
Iím from a small town about 45 minutes west of Montreal.

In terms of when you go to different places, what is something that sparks out to you when youíre with your friends? What do you guys look for most in a community?
It kind of depends on the place weíre going to. I donít really care about the size of the place that weíre going toóI just like a nice downtown where you can walk around from your hotel or wherever youíre staying. Itís based on what you have for restaurants, bars and just the overall vibe of a certain place. When I make trips to bigger areas I sort of base it off of whether I would be able to go to a sports game in the place. Like a couple of weeks ago we had our spring break for school and I based the whole thing on going to an NHL game. So I got to three NHL games in a week and that was fun. But in terms of when Iím doing more of a road trip, in between the city stops I like doing small towns. Last summer I flew to South Dakota and drove across the U.S. to come back to Nova Scotia for the start of school, and thereís this one little town that we stayed at in Illinois called Nashville, Illinois and it had like 2,500 people. It was about 45 minutes to St. Louis and that was one of the most fun nights we had on the trip. You just get to experience a small town that most people have never heard of and you get to learn about how people live there, what itís like and what the local scene is like. Thatís one of my favourite parts of travellingógetting to see all of the different places along the way, and itís not necessarily all about going to the big cities and seeing the big things. Itís about how the small towns all have something to offer.

In your list of Saskatchewan, you were mentioning crime rates, income rates and house prices. Do some of the stats go into the mix in picking your top five?
Yeah, absolutely. I donít want to make them purely statistical because I donít think thatís necessarily the best way to go about rating somewhere because you could have a place that has above average crime but itís just something like petty theft. That doesnít represent what the town is likeóand everywhere you go thereís good and bad. But at the same time when youíre making a video and youíre ranking something from best to worst or worst to best or just top five, if you were to do one that has some sort of statistical representation of what it would be like to live there or visit, and when I look at housing or crime, those are just statistics that are important to me if I was looking for somewhere to move. Theyíre just factors to consider. Whenever Iím looking at a place, even if itís just like I visit a place and I get curious, even if I have no interest in moving there, Iím always curious about what a house goes for or an apartment, like what rent is in the place. I just use metrics that I would find useful or would be interested in when learning about a new place.

A lot of people who have seen your video have commented on the fact that three of the top five were in Southeast Saskatchewan.
Yeah, itís a really cool region of the province. My roommateís farm is near Parkman and so we went to Kenosee Lake and that area is just beautiful.

Thatís not what you think of when someone talks about Saskatchewanóthat flat, boring, nothing. There is so much more than that. So then we went to Regina, came down and went to the Corner Gas set. I was a huge Corner Gas fan growing upóloved that show.



Just so you know, if you didnít grow up in rural Saskatchewan, thatís really what itís like. Corner Gas pretty much captured it exactly.
I remember that I started watching that show probably younger than I should have been. I grew up with it. I had shirts and hats. My aunt and uncle did a cross-country trip once and they brought me back a book from the souvenir store when it was still up. It was just a really cool drive and itís a really interesting part of the province because a lot of people, even a lot Canadians, they donít know a lot about the province. Itís probably one of the least known provinces that we have and the people that do know think of Regina, Saskatoon, maybe Moose Jaw and Swift Current. Then they probably have heard of the Battlefords for being crime ridden or whatever, but thatís pretty much it.

Thereís just so much more to it and thatís another thing that I try to share when making the content.

A lot of people probably havenít heard of half of the places that Iíve talked about in any video I make. So I like to share and expand peopleís view that this place is more than just the two biggest cities or the places that get a bad reputation.