Dog River! I mean, Rouleau, Saskatchewan, is the little town that did and wishes it still could, but can’t because of strict copyright regulations. For those of you non-Canadians, the TV show Corner Gas was filmed here, won multiple awards, and is kind of a big deal. *cough…particularly if you were born before 1965.

I can relate to these people!

The premise of the series is that the show’s director, producer and star actor Brent Butt (yes, real name) was speculating about what his life would have been like if he’d stayed living on the prairies instead of pursuing the glamorous and lucrative career of becoming a full-time comedian.

Thank you, you’ve been a wonderful audience.

His answer was naturally that he’d be pumping gas in the middle of nowhere. The show seemed to have the perfect combination of quirky yet sensible humour and “Hey! That’s in Canada!” for its Canadian audiences. The show aired for six seasons, tying with another Canadian hit TV series filmed in Saskatchewan called Little Mosque on the Prairie, but neither show made it quite as far as The Beachcomber‘s 19 seasons. And I fully realize how much those TV show titles must sound like boring nonsense to the uninitiated.

Anyway, the make-believe town that was home to Corner Gas has now reverted back to the very real town of Rouleau, albeit with historic plaques designating such Canadiana as The Howler newspaper office,

the Dog River Hotel and Bar,

Still the busiest joint in town!

the Dog River police station,

Where Karen was practicing her footbag moves!

and the combination Liquor Store and Insurance office.

Which is totally real and actually exists.

Sadly, the Foo Mar T (grocery store) burnt down in 2014. Perhaps more sadly, I actually drove right past the site of Corner gas itself! Perhaps you can see why.

Then again, there was a giant grain elevator with the words “Dog River” on it right across the street.

The set was demolished down in 2016 and from what I understand from this photo by Shawn Martens, most of it probably ended up a dumpster.

This looks like pretty conclusive evidence.

Now to the copyright issue. According to locals, the folks at CBC can only license so much when it comes to promotional items so unfortunately you cannot purchase, as I had hoped, a replica of the Corner gas station attendant shirt.

So sexy!

There is ONE postcard they offer which can be stamped at the local post office so that it says it was mailed from Dog River instead of Rouleau, which is a fun novelty, but like other visitors before me I was expecting a few more options available in the townsite itself. I don’t know the full story and I’m sure there are important reasons behind it but it’s just a little unfortunate in the town that literally got put on the map because of the show. So in case the CBC is indeed making the decisions about the lack of Corner Gas merch in Rouleau and in case someone from the CBC is reading this (HA) here is a puppy looking sad because he can’t wear a Corner Gas doggy jacket.

My human won’t even look at me anymore.