We had just time enough to go back to the hotel, freshen up a bit, and walk over to the Regina Inn, where we boarded a CNT tour bus bound for Rouleau, SK. This represented the original goal of the trip: a trip to Rouleau, better known to fans as Dog River, locale of the award-winning Canadian show, Corner Gas.
We had become fans of Corner Gas through Chris’s folks, who told us, “You have to watch this show!” We fell in love with the quirky characters and the droll, mostly-very-clean humor. When we discovered that there was a guided tour of the town and the studio available, we decided to make it the center of our summer vacation. As you can imagine, we were all very excited.
Our tour guide introduced himself as Bill Gardiner, who has played several minor roles on the show (the last as Al Gore). We enjoyed a little bit of local interest as visitors to the tour from the States. The ride down to Rouleau (about half an hour or a bit more) passed fairly quickly, helped along by some Saskatchewan trivia guessing games.
It was really neat to drive into town and spot places we’d seen in the show. “Look! It’s Oscar and Emma’s house! There’s the curling rink!” We all disembarked a few times before we actually reached the heart of Corner Gas, the Corner Gas station and the Ruby. We milled about taking all kinds of pictures and trying—as is the nature of tour groups—to make our pictures look as though no one else was in the locale at all.
It was really notable that the character of the people who make the show was evident in the fact that they were willing to allow all of us to mill about on hot sets—on Monday, they would be filming right where we were standing. Still, the access they gave us was amazing.
After plenty of time there at Corner Gas, we had a chance to wander around downtown for a little bit. There was something charming about the fact that all of the buildings used in the show are actually buildings that are used or inhabited. The building that serves as the Food Market in the show and the building that serves as the Municipal Offices have placards noting that they are not—in actuality—a grocery store or a police station. We were told later that they have actually had people who pulled into the Corner Gas station, unaware that it isn’t really a service station, and become irate when no one came to fill their car up.
After we made our way through the huge line-up to buy souvenirs, we boarded the bus again and headed back to Regina. On the way, we watched the very first episode of Corner Gas. We actually watched it once and then halfway through again, because the tour guide couldn’t get the DVD player to work right.