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Sask. man turning small hamlet into tourist destination


One Saskatchewan man is striving to keep his small town alive by turning it into a tourist destination for people across Canada and the USA.

The hamlet of Clair, located two and a half hours north of Regina, is home to nine people, according to resident Randy Woolrich.

“When you live in a small town, you get that comfort of quiet,” he said.

The population of Clair used to be in the hundreds but as the years went on, the town started down sizing.

Woolrich decided to revive his hometown by transforming it into a hunting outfitter. He bought 80 per cent of the houses in the community and turned them into lodges.

“I started buying up the houses to accommodate my hunters and it started working really well that way. They like the houses, it’s like their own little timeshare,” he said.

Ace Outfitters has accommodated six US Senators, Peter Folger of Folgers coffee, and various Americans from states like California and Florida.

“It’s a lot of tourism dollars from out of the country that we try spend back into small towns,” he said.

Woolrich said he takes his guests to the local businesses in the neighbouring towns and often hears compliments on the small town hospitality.

He said guests come for the small town experience. They stay at the lodges in Clair and during the day, hunt birds on farmland in the area.

To thank the farmers for letting him hunt on their land, Woolrich hosts an appreciation supper each year. The fall supper is held in the 100-year-old community hall, with more than 100 people in attendance.

“Having over 100 people in Clair is kind of a big deal,” Clair resident Natalie Young said.

The supper held on Sunday night had 17 courses of wild meat including sand hill crane soup, pheasant pot pie, and blueberry goose sauce.

“These people just love it. We’ve had so many compliments and it makes us feel good,” Margaret Bowman, who helped cook the meal, said.

Clair is named after the train conductor’s daughter, and now one of the local farmers named their daughter after the town.

“My name is on the elevator and I get to see it everyday,” Claire Kapeluck, 9, said.

The town is a special place for both young and old.

“It means a lot to me, its home,” Jack Evans, who lived in Clair for 70 years, said.

While the population is under 10 people, Woolrich said Clair is like a second home for many.

“I’ve been all over the place,”Woolrich said. “But when you come home, it’s the same as when you left it.”

He hopes his children will one day take over the family business and keep the spirit of Clair alive. Top Stories

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