Crown Ditch and the Prairie Castle

Bedlam in the West

Soil made the farmer, the herd the rancher, and so what are we, or rather, who are we? Essential to identifying Western Canada involves forgetting the American Frontier. North America’s last great land rush took place in the Canadian West at the turn of the 20th Century. Often overshadowed (and sometimes visually conflated with its neighbour to the south), we forget to turn our gaze to the Canadian West. An area settled by a unique brand of hardened frontiersmen—cowboys, ranch-hands, miners, outlaws, and farmers—good ole boys chasing the advertised allure of a landscape made mystical by its inadequate representation, its mystery, its promise of the last ‘Promised Land’.

Gone are the early remnants of the Canadian West but its legacy still endures. Crown Ditch and the Prairie Castle is a long-term project that documents the spaces and people of the last great ‘proving out’. The project advocates for viewing this space as a beast upon itself, with a particular type of landscape, industry, and most importantly, people, who are a resilient breed created by generational lessons in fortitude and fortuned circumstance.

Note: The following text is a play on the academic form of assigning keywords to projects. A curated and intertwined selection of topics is developed in the list. It should be read poetically rather than practically. Furthermore, it should be emotive to the local and confusing for the outsider.