This is part 13 in our series ConnecTour Chronicles
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Troy Media publisher Doug Firby and Travel editor Lisa Monforton are part of a group of Canadians who call themselves ConnecTour. tarting in May in British Columbia and ending in October in Newfoundland, they hope to make an 8,000-km bicycle journey across the country, discovering how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives and our sense of community. Watch for their reports on Troy Media. More information on the cycling tour is available at To help them meet their goal, click here.

FirbyThere’s a leak in the roof at Riches Antiques that’s filling the bucket in the rear left corner of this old store in Rosetown, Sask., but Sandra Mathison is unperturbed.

It’s hard to keep shingles on the northwest corner, she explains, because that’s where the prevailing winds come from. Today, those winds have brought in a long-awaited rain, a welcome relief from the heatwave that has been baking the midwest but maybe too late to save the crops.

Sandra, 69, continues to run the antique store with her 11-year-old Havanese dog, Duncan, even though she lost her beloved husband Rich three years ago. Born and raised in the area, Sandra and Rich were high school sweethearts and carved out a life for themselves and their five kids in Rosetown, after moving around the province for years while Rich was working for SaskTel.

This is an emotional moment for ConnecTour team member Allison Flach. She spent summers here as a kid, staying with her grandparents, Art and Beulah Flach. Her father, Peter, went to high school here.

Grandfather Art, it turns out, was an institution in town. He operated the town’s movie theatre for many years before partnering up with Louie Boucher to run a store called Boucher and Flach. (In the video above, Sandra talks more about her memories of Art Flach and Rosetown in the earlier years.)

It was revolutionary idea at the time, says Sandra, because a Catholic and a Protestant had never before paired up to operate a store. Until then, the two communities had been divided. But the establishment of that store changed people’s minds about how the community could operate.

“It changed the whole character of the town,” says Sandra.

Allison is proud of her grandfather, who died in 2008 at the age of 91.

“Everyone loved him,” she says. In the family, “everybody strives to be like him.”

In this video, Sandra talks more about her memories of Art Flach and Rosetown in the earlier years.

Veteran political commentator Doug Firby is president of Troy Media Digital Solutions and publisher of Troy Media. For interview requests, click here.

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