SAM’s pub in Rowley is perhaps the most interesting, quirky pub in all of Alberta. And likely one of the least known locations. Here is a place where literally every square inch of the walls is covered in something that will make you laugh, the drinks are cheap, the bartender a friendly volunteer full of stories, and your bar mate one of the local Hutterites.
In this town you can camp completely for free, next to historic grain elevator and farming equipment. Where locals have spent thousands of dollars and even more hours fixing up parts of the original homes and business to their original state, as a ‘museum’ to pioneer days gone by. Where daily tours of the buildings are run by volunteers or students committed to keeping the town alive. Yet today it has ghost town status, with many buildings left abandoned and disrepair. The dichotomy makes it a haven for photographers.
In the 1920’s Rowley had a busy population of over 500 people, but was depleted to a small dying town by the 1970’s. With rows of empty houses and business and only a few hardy souls left, it was fast on its way to true ghost town status. It was thanks to the efforts of these local volunteers that the town has survived with a heritage status. Through the 1980’s when the train still ran through here, it emerged as a tourist destination, and was even the set for movies, including the Canadian flick, “Bye Bye Blues”. However the trains have stopped coming here and now the town relies on word of mouth to keep the tourists coming. With a population of only 8, this is a big ask, but Jason considers the place to be a great find. SAM’s itself can be rented for events, the people are friendly, and there are a tonne of hidden secrets to discover in the quiet streets of the town. Well worth a visit. Did we mention the camping is free?