Posted in Canada 150, Travel

Motherwell in Symphony 

Today’s Guest blogger is an on-line acquaintance of mine. She’s my go to plant identifier and I love her photography on Instragram as we share many of the same interests except she’s also big into birds. Now that she sent me her professional bio I see why!

Sarah is a GIS/LIS coordinator as well as part-time Conservation Volunteers coordinator with the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Sask.  She has a masters of science in biology from the U of R. Her thesis investigated the effects of oil and gas development on prairie birds. Following her graduate degree, Sarah consulted for Canadian Wildlife Service and Parks Canada on projects related to the conservation of grassland songbird species at risk. Sarah loves the Prairies and is passionate about the conservation of this unique habitat.

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys birding, hiking, reading, belly dancing and blogging. See the link below her guest blog to her own blog site.

I’m very pleased that she went to Motherwell and was able to tour it and enjoy her day. Unfortunately we were there too early in the year and it wasn’t open so her blogging about it makes me very pleased because Canada 150 meets my love of the prairie is always a win win!!

On August 26, I attended the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s “Symphony Under the Sky” festival at the Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site. The festival has been running, in one form or another, since 1997, and 2017 is the second year the festival was held at the Motherwell Homestead. I had never previously attended the festival or visited the Motherwell homestead, so I was excited to experience both.

The site, called Lanark Place, near Abernethy, is the historic homestead of William R. Motherwell. Originally from Ontario, Motherwell moved west and established his homestead in 1882. He went on to a life-long career in politics, serving as Minister of Agriculture for both the Provincial and Federal governments. The homestead site has been restored to its 1907 appearance and visitors are invited to experience ‘a day in the life’ at an early 20th century farm.


The festival was much more than a concert – it was a day-long event with something for all ages. Parks Canada staff at the Motherwell Homestead were dressed in period clothing and provided demonstrations of various historical activities, such as threshing wheat and making butter and ice cream. I enjoy exploring our history and recreations such as this provide a window back in time that makes it seem much more real. For example, enjoying homemade bread made from wheat grown on site that was turned into flour with the hundred year old thresher and topped with butter churned half an hour ago is a unique (and delicious) experience.


The old stone farm house has been faithfully restored and the interior is furnished as it was over 100 years ago. Visitors are able to walk through the house and get a sense of what it would have been like to live there in the early 1900s. The barn has been maintained as well and during the summer months, houses heritage breeds of chickens, pigs, and sheep.


Simply put, the concert was amazing! I am continually impressed by the calibre of the Regina Symphony Orchestra (RSO) – for a small city, it is truly world class; and the setting, out in the open air, under the big prairie sky, made it a truly unforgettable experience. The concert program consisted of highlights from the upcoming RSO season (e.g., Dvorak and Beethoven), collaborations with local singer/songwriter Belle Plaine, and some well-loved classics (e.g., William Tell Overture, Star Wars Theme, and 1812 Overture). Something interesting I learned that day –Tchaikovsky originally wrote sixteen cannon shots into the finale of the 1812 Overture, however, this is clearly not feasible (or safe) for most concert halls and the effect is usually created by the percussion section. However, it is possible out on the open prairie and the RSO included one canon shot with a period canon as part of the finale.


Overall, it was a very good day (even if I did get a bit of sun burn) and I definitely plan to attend the event next year! I also highly recommend checking out both the Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site and the Regina Symphony Orchestra. History and the arts are not only interesting and entertaining, but to experience both on the open prairie is truly a feast for the soul.


Sarah’s Nature Conservancy Blog Link


I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

2 thoughts on “Motherwell in Symphony 

  1. I have driven past the turn-off to the Motherwell homestead on #13 highway many times and have often thought I need to take the time to visit there. Your pictures inspire me to add this place to my list of places to visit. I especially love the chicken picture – fantastic with the one on the windowsill backlit! I think they are Barred Plymouth Rock Chickens.


    1. I actually went and it was closed! It looks like the kind of place you grew up in — old barn and house and stately yard.
      I will pass your message on to Sarah about the chicken photo — she is a bird and photo person


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