Bounty, Sask. clings to life despite ghost town status
It looks like a scene from a prairies zombie apocalypse. Or, worse, a passage from Cormac McCarthy’s dystopian novel The Road.
The village of Bounty, located in the south-central area of Saskatchewan, is a ghost town – a decaying monument of a provincial boom that has since gasped and swallowed its last breath. The few houses that still remain are boarded up and lined with spray-paint scars – missing windows reveal torn, billowy curtains and a blackened interior.
For some reason the thought of touring a genuine ghost town seemed like it would be more fun than it actually is.
Instead it’s like attending a birthday party where everyone ditched in advance because they died.
Worse, there is nothing to suggest why the town failed. But that doesn’t stop my imagination from concocting several X-Files-style scenarios, including an outbreak of infectious disease, mutant wild animal attacks and wild west-style undead banditos.
“Bounty was once a small village of 200 residents, with nineteen businesses, including three grain elevators, two banks, a three-story 24-room hotel, and a newspaper called the Fertile Valley Echo.
“At one time Bounty was said to have nobody living in the community which caused thousands of dollars to local residents’ property due to vandalism of private property. The community has a total population of seven citizens who take care and watch over the town.”
-Taken from Bounty’s Wikipedia site.
But if anyone actually lived here we didn’t see them.
Cautiously driving into the ghost town, an eerie calm has displaced an otherwise sunny day. Far out in the fields I can see a combine slowly gobbling at the landscape – this gesture of agrarian-based capitalism is oddly reassuring.
The town is reminiscent of the harrowing photo essays from New Orleans after the flood – abandoned vehicles are strewn about amidst everyday items like couches, RVs and vacuum cleaners. There are maybe eight or so buildings left standing.
We decide to leave the car and walk down the street – I wish we hadn’t. Outside one of the shambling buildings is a mess of garbage: furniture, an old teddy bear and VHS video tapes, many of which have only been released in the past decade.
I walk up the front steps to look in the window, but stop when I notice the sounds emanating from the house. Inside there are voices, maybe from a television or radio.