These images are a part of a project documenting small rural communities (one thousand inhabitants or fewer) in the Canadian West. As demographic changes—“rural drain, urban claim”—persist, many would argue that the rural is becoming redundant in a world that is increasingly concerned with the urban. The project investigates how these rural communities struggle to hold on to their heritage despite the diminishing vitality of these towns.
The significance of these images is that they are not of an American past, but of a Canadian present, a visual account of the Canadian West stressing legacy retention, regional identity, and degeneration. We must reflect on that which is near to being forgotten. Understanding the past is important in establishing a sense of self. People wish to be connected to the past, and perhaps this is something still obtainable in the rural West.