I've just returned from a 12-day family vacation to Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. My wife and I took our two kids, two car seats, three suitcases and four carry on bags and went on a whirlwind journey through the western prairie provinces visiting family at various stops along the way.
The trip culminating in a 95th birthday party for my kids' great grandmother in Saskatoon where I was surrounded by a hundred inlaws! After landing at the Calgary International Airport, we put 2,000 kilometers on a rent-a-car and had lots of fun.
Photo taken somewhere between Saskatoon and Unity, Saskachewan
It was nice to get away and tune out for a couple of weeks. But all the while I was away, I was constantly reminded of how the credit union movement is everywhere. Here's my top ten observations from my road trip. Some are credit union related, some are not.
- I like how credit unions in small towns in Saskatchewan are like essential services. On the highway sign one kilometer out of town, you see the big H for the local hospital, a plane for the local airport and the hands and globe for the local credit union. It is so refreshing to see that simple one-branch credit unions are still out there servicing small towns.
- I like how the main sports and culture centre in Saskatoon is named the Credit Union Centre.
- I like how we drove 2,000 kilometers and the only spot we saw an RCMP cruiser was in front of us in a Tim Hortons drive-thru line.
- I like that I didn't hear about any new credit union mergers while I was away. Although, as soon as I got caught up with my e-mail at home I learned that Prospera and North Shore are looking to merge—this will certainly make things even more interesting here in British Columbia.
- I like the simplicity of small town credit union namenclature—they are all the same. Unity Credit Union, Biggar Credit Union, Herbert Credit Union, Beaumont Credit Union and on and on. None of these small guys have been forced to lose their regional positioning in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience yet.
- I like that more than half of the population of Saskatchewan are credit union members. Way to go Saskatchewan!
- I like that so many people have snowmobiles or ATVs on a platform on the back of their enormous trucks.
- I like that the weather is so unpredictable. We where in Saskatoon one day with sunshine and 20 degrees (Celsius) and then the next day in Red Deer with -2 degrees and a 30-centimeter snowfall warning!
- I like the hospitality and huge meal portions served by prairie relatives. Although I am now officially on a diet!
- I like my own bed. It's good to be back home!