Friday, 24 May 2013

Fire at Lafleche

CBC Saskatchewan News. Photo by Evelyn L'Heureux

On May 21, 2013, the 100-year-old Flying Goose Inn was destroyed by fire at Lafleche, Saskatchewan.  The fire, which likely started on the smoker's deck outside the bar, was discovered at 9:00 p.m.  Evelyn L'Heureux, who owned the hotel with her husband Larry, said it didn't take long for the three-storey hotel to burn. "The Lafleche fire department was there, and then as it progressed, Larry decided that we should call in the Kincaid fire department and Gravelbourg," she said.  "I turned around half an hour later and all the farmers came in from the field and had their water tanks loaded on the backs of their trucks. There they all were, lined up like a convoy, waiting to help.” Source  Click for video


Hubert and Marie Brooks
The 30-room hotel, originally named the Hotel Metropole, was built in 1913 - the same year that the village of Lafleche was incorporated.  It's original owners were Frank X. Brunelle and Hubert Brooks.  Hubert Brooks and his wife Marie moved their family to Lafleche from St. John, North Dakota, in June of 1913 to operate the Hotel Metropole.  Hubert, age 50, had been a general store merchant in St. John.  When his store burned down, he decided to make a change, attracted perhaps by advertisements offering homestead land in the Canadian West.  Brooks and his sons did try their hand at farming near Lafleche, however they soon gave up due to rough and stoney land. Source

Hubert Brooks' son Aime helped run the hotel (named on cash register). Source

100 Years Later

Larry and Evelyn L'Heureux bought the hotel, now called the Flying Goose Inn, in 1996.  The couple added an eight-room motel in 2003, and the old hotel building was used only for the bar and restaurant. "We have tried to keep the decor of both the bar and the restaurant in connection with the wildlife theme and many visitors have taken the time to enjoy the artwork displayed," the hotel web site stated. "The Flying Goose Inn also showcases the local talent that we have in our area including a championship boxer as well as some local rodeo talent." Source  In 2010, the L'Heureux put the hotel up for sale, asking $465,000. Source

Flying Goose Inn, c. 2010.  Google street view

Reflecting on the loss of the hotel in May of 2013, Evelyn said, "It's devastating because it was a vital part of the community. People had been going there for many, many years before we even owned it. We did many things there too - weddings, funerals, graduations - and that's the sad part of it, that the community has lost a vital part of their town," Source

Click here  for video of CTV Regina's tour of Lafleche in 2009.

© Joan Champ, 2013

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