We had a small adventure on Sunday, doing the 12-40 and Beyond Self-guided Tour. It is an annual event that takes place over a July weekend. We were happy we got to check it out, and look forward to other years. This year was smaller than usual, but I’m sure by the time it rolls around next year, it’ll be better than ever! I feel silly for admitting this, but I didn’t understand why it was called the 12-40 and Beyond tour until we started exploring. The artisans are all located on highways 40 and 12 (and beyond). We pulled up the map and locations and we drove around to find them. We had no idea what to expect but it turned out to be quite easy. Once we learned to keep our eyes open for the red elevator signs, we had an easy time finding all the local artisans.
Our first stop was Pagangel Productions in Hafford. We walked in and were surrounded by beautiful photos. My son absolutely loved them all. He also loved the two cats that came out to visit with us as we explored. This is her Facebook Page. Her photos and frames are stunning. She also had some beautiful photos on wood that I fell in love with.
From Hafford, we headed back towards Blaine Lake and onto our next stop. This one was a lucky find. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to find the ones that weren’t on highway 12 or 40 but the instructions were easy, and the red elevators helped us find the turns.
Prairie Leather and Art is between Blaine Lake and Marcelin (closer to Marcelin). Connie’s leather creations make Canadian moosehide slippers, a variety of moccasins, mitts made from various leathers and softshell fabric, cross-body bags, toiletry bags, totes and cases, leather bracelets and more. If I were being perfectly honest, I could spend A LOT of money on her creations. I loved everything. So did my son! Connie was so kind to my kiddo. You can see more on her instagram page.
Our next stops were in Marcelin. Once again we followed the signs. Marcelin had two different locations for us to visit.
We drove down Main Street and stopped at the Seniors Centre to visit nikihknan crafts. The tables were full of beautiful wood crafts. My son picked the one above. There were so many amazing items, and once again, we could have picked so many. We’ll get more next year on the next tour.
We had a dramatic visit to Ev McDonald Artworks. We arrived right after my son fell on the sidewalk – so we came with tears and blood. Ev McDonald was kind enough to bring out a couple of band-aids and a toy to distract my kid. We had time to explore her art while he learned the new toy. I bought a couple of cards to send to friends. It was the perfect stop to distract my kiddo from his fall.
We hopped in the car to visit our next stops.
We drove off Highway 40 again (just out of town) and headed to Pops Old Forge. This was a pretty cool stop. We walked into a Blacksmith Shop and actually got to see him making something. It was pretty cool. It’s run by Hubert and Alice. They have tools and designs and ornamental items available for purchase. We enjoyed getting to see how it all works.
Our second last stop was in Leask. Kathleen Montgomery and Bill McDonald as well as Debbie Anderson had their items next to the Leask Museum. Bill and Kathleen make slippers and other items from gently used denim. Debbie Anderson makes gorgeous stained glass pieces.
This location was fun also because the library had a used book sale on and they were giving tours of the Leask Museum. My sister took a quick tour while my son and I explored a little outside.
We got back into the car and headed back onto Highway 40 to Highway 12. Our last destination of the day was a place we’ve been to before, but love to visit. Petrofka Orchard was listed as the first in the tour, but we wanted to make it our last stop so we could get out and walk the trails again before heading back home.
We love that the trails lead to the beautiful river. We went for a walk and then stopped at the shop for some ice cream. Petrofka Orchard was a wonderful place to end our self-guided tour. I highly recommend the Ice Cream Taco.
This tour is great because you are discovering local artisans, but it’s also fun to discover new towns and new places in our province. I was concerned about bringing my five-year-old to some of these places. He’s loud and energetic. I was already prepared to check the places out, and leave if my son got too excited – or trade-off with my sister so we could both explore. However, he was well behaved AND everybody was so kind and lovely to him. This tour once again showed me the kindness of strangers and I am so grateful we went so I could be reminded. Stay tuned for news on what they have planned for next year!