Rama community landmarks and people featured by CTV Regina's Hometown Tour

            Rama citizens were proud to display their pride in their village when CTV Regina made the village its second stop during its Fall 2016 Hometown Tour.

            The Hometown Tour is a program that features coverage of important people and landmarks in small communities throughout Saskatchewan. The program has previously covered Odessa, Kenosee Lake, Mortlach, Forget, Big Beaver, Standing Buffalo, Estevan, Southey, Cupar, Norquay, Carnduff, Vanguard, Dalmeny, Middle Lake, Blackstrap Lake, La Ronge, Eston, Shell Lake, Kindersley, Vanguard, Humboldt, Wakaw, Nipawin, Melfort, Outlook, and Lebret.

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            CTV hopes to “find out what makes the communities tick,” according to the CTV Regina website. Rama was selected to be visited on September 14.

            Festivities kicked off with a barbecue hosted by the Rama Co-op. Workers from the Co-op sold burgers, soda and donuts; and organized raffle draws. The event was deemed a huge success, with workers selling out of burgers only an hour into the event and needing to deliver more. About 280 burgers were sold.

            The barbecue was also attended by dozens of students from Invermay School.

            “We had to close our old school, but when we told Invermay School about the event, they wanted to make sure the Rama students and their friends could celebrate with us, so they brought in four busloads of children,” said Darrel Dutchak, the Rama mayor.

            The festivities continued with the CTV crewmembers filming major landmarks in the city. Mary Kowalyshyn, who nominated Rama for the Hometown Tour, said part of the reason was due to the St. Anthony’s Church grotto.

            “We have the most beautiful shrine in all of Western Canada. It was built in 1936 in order to ensure pilgrims had somewhere to pray for peace in the Second World War, and the grotto and hall remain standing today,” she said.

            Kowalyshyn also said that St. Anthony’s Church holds annual pilgrimages, with this year’s being the 75th anniversary of the celebration.

            Other landmarks covered included the grain elevator and the Rama Hotel, which has been in business since 1911 and is currently being renovated to retain a classic 20s and 30s style.

            Many residents were also available to provide entertainment during the event. Aaron Halifax, a Rama resident originally from Toronto, made balloon art.

            “I used to do this for tips when I lived in Mexico,” Halifax said. “I love it because it allows me to start conversations with people and be social.”

            The Rama Performing Arts and Leisure Society (PALS) offered horse cart rides, and David Corey performed horse tricks while also teaching spectators about the nature of horse training and getting along with the dominant creatures he performs with.

            Dutchak said he was most excited about the opportunity for people to show their pride for a little, but close-knit community.

            “There’s only around 80 people here, but we’re a very tightly-knit group. I’ve been mayor for 25 years, but it never ceases to amaze me that during any event or even during any tragedy, everyone bands together. We’re very close and very proud of our little community,” he said.

            Dutchak also mentioned that Rama holds several events over the year, including the annual pilgrimage, a Canada Day celebration, Remembrance Day services, a fall supper, a perogie supper, and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

            “I’m excited to portray everything this village does on a big scale like this.”

            The barbecue, while also meant to celebrate the community for the Hometown Tour, also held the purpose of fundraising.

            “We want to restore the community park, since there’s been a string of vandalism and we want to bring the equipment up to code.

            “There’s a big need for this park,” Dutchak said.

            Dutchak highlighted the community aspect for CTV, and said that “every place that is livable is lived in here. A lot of people come here because it’s affordable.”

            He also mentioned the clean water, which the village has had access to for 12 years.

            “It’s the best-quality water in Canada, which is hard to find in a small community.”

            With a community featuring three different, active churches and people from all walks of life, it may be hard to believe everyone would get along so easily, but Dutchak is confident that through the CTV Hometown Tour, viewers will see that the village is proud to stick together and co-operate with each other.

            “Things have a way of working out in Rama,” he said.

            CTV’s Hometown Tour of Rama will air on September 29.