Caronport, Saskatchewan is probably the most unique place I have ever lived. People ask me if I had much culture shock moving to Canada. I really didn't, as it's similar to the U.S. in many ways, and when it's different, it's often like the UK. No, if I had any culture shock, it was in moving from large cities (Chicago area and then Edinburgh, Scotland) to a small town of fewer than 2000 people on the prairie.
Caronport's history is basically Briercrest's history. The school was holding classes in a hotel, and needed more space and so:
About six months before the end of the war, knowing that enrollment would go up when the soldiers returned home, Mr. Whittaker said to Mr. Hildebrand, "Henry, from all I know, an airport is what we will need after the war. Let us pray that God will give one of them to us."
Mr. Whittaker used his experience in business and politics to arrange the purchase of Royal Airforce Base #33 in Caron for $50,000—five percent of its value. The new facility was dedicated on July 1, 1946, and the incredible task of converting the airbase into dormitories, classrooms, offices, and staff housing began.
So we live on an old air force base, even though only a few of the original buildings remain! Caronport is unusual in that it is not as insular and homogeneous as most towns of its size. So we get the small-town community life combined with the diversity and intellectual life that being in a college town brings. We have born and bred Saskatchewan folks, of course, as well as people from every province in Canada. We have teenage boys from Quebec who come to Caronport High School for the excellent hockey program. We have college students from Japan and Sudan. The town is filled with former missionaries and people preparing for service around the globe. The faculty have studied all over--several did their doctoral work in the UK as Eric did. And we're not the only American family here by any means. For example, the new theology professor and his wife are Southern Baptists who spent the last several years teaching at a seminary in the Philippines.
Like anywhere, there are challenges living here. For one thing, despite being on the same continent, we still aren't close to family and getting to them involves either long drives or expensive plane tickets (since Regina is not a hub). We have to work harder to find things to do, and the long winter saps some of the motivation to do much. Then again, perhaps it was being heavily pregnant that made me feel that way last winter!
But for the most part, we are really happy God put us here in this unique town of Caronport. Eric loves teaching at Briercrest, we are enjoying the people in our lives, and we appreciate that the relatively low cost-of-living has allowed me to be home with the kids for the time being. The Briercrest leadership has great vision for the future, and we look forward to being a part of it!
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