Ryan Dale first arrived in Weyburn 3 years ago unaware of the incredible community that he would become a part of. Originating from Ontario, Dale found port in Saskatchewan through an opportunity to work with the South East District of Sport, Culture and Recreation by serving on the Board of Directors. There in Whitewood is where he learned of another small community that was about to see the completion of a massive amenities project. Weyburn was building the Credit Union Spark Centre, and they needed someone just like Ryan to help make it a success. 

Seizing the opportunity, he pursued his dream of running such a facility and became the community's Leisure Services Manager. Ryan described his time in Weyburn as a life altering experience full of personal growth and valued connections. He quickly found himself integrated into the community thanks to his many personal involvements with local organizations and events and his trademark positive attitude and upbeat energy always at the ready.

Ryan and his fiancée Janine are now embarking on the next leg of their journey, heading back East to Ontario. Ryan looks forward to expanding his skillsets even further in the field of sales and marketing while also enjoying the chance to work much closer to family. Before hitting the road, Ryan joined Discover Weyburn to share his thoughts while reflecting on what made his experience in Weyburn so special, and what makes this town a unique place to live. 


Out of all the small communities in Saskatchewan, what drew you to Weyburn?

"So, Weyburn kind of came to my attention with the building of the Spark Centre. That was a big pull for me because while growing up I was always a part of community centers in Niagara Falls. I was always going to them, participating there as a kid, coaching at them later in my life and then also working at one when I was in college. It was a dream I've always had to run a facility like that and become a part of the community through a facility like that. So when that job came up, it was a huge opportunity, like, let's go. Let's do this. Also, it's easy to look up a community and see what they're all about these days, and I really liked what I saw. It was clear there was a lot of community spirit and I just felt like it was a great fit for me."

How has your perspective of life on the prairies changed from your arrival to now?

"To be completely honest, the most I knew about the prairies would have been through that show 'Letterkenny', which actually isn't even in Saskatchewan. It's filmed in Ontario, I guess. So I found that out when I got out here. 'Corner Gas', I guess would be another one. That's literally all I knew. So coming out here, I learned there's a lot of hard working people, really, really good people, too. I think the communities are small enough where everyone knows everything about you and they know each other and there's a lot of ties to that, which makes a really healthy community. And I think the prairies, they say they're flat. They're not. I've seen a lot of hills and valleys, especially when I was in Whitewood, the Chapel valley, all that. So a lot of great parks. The golf, too. I'm a big golfer, so I love all of the hidden gems around here. And then the athletes that come out of here, that's something crazy too. I learned that a lot of hockey players and a lot of other professional athletes come out of Saskatchewan."

What was your experience like with integrating into the community? Was there anything you did that made it easier to find your place here?

"You know, being the leisure services manager at the city, I think in that role you need to be a part of the community to humanize yourself. It's like, 'hey, we know Ryan professionally, we know Ryan personally too', and I think connecting with that and also getting to know all the groups by being a part of them and getting on that level was a huge thing. I'm a part of the Weyburn Young Fellows. I've been part of the KidSport Board, the South East District, obviously working for the Sparks Center, helping out with Heritage Village and the Sioux Line as well. It's been an absolute pleasure to be a part of this community through that involvement. I like how welcoming this community is to new people as well. I didn't know anyone when I when I got here, I feel like I'm leaving a family behind now that I'm leaving, which is awesome in my opinion. I think Weyburn is a community that if you come here willing to try things and go be part of things, everyone will welcome you with open arms."

Is there anything that Weyburn is doing right, that other communities just can't replicate?

"Yeah, I think it has a lot to do with our grassroot groups, to be honest with you. Right from our minor sport groups to our arts and culture clubs, our centers, all the nonprofits in this community, we have an insane amount of community involvement. We have I think like 12,000 people that live here. We have every type of service I think there is for nonprofits or smaller groups like, there's every single sport you can do plus arts and culture here. I think that's what separates us from Estevan or even Regina. You have that small town feel with the city services here. And I think our grassroot organizations are top of the line, the people involved in them are are incredible."

If you could go back and prepare your past self for his arrival in Weyburn, what would you say?

"I don't really know the answer to that one. I think I wouldn't change a thing because I think a lot of the experiences I've had have made me a better person. They've also taught me some lessons along the way. When I came here I didn't know anyone, and now it's like the hardest thing to leave only three years later. It's crazy. So the fact that I can come in here from from Ontario and just stepped into a community and became a part of it like that really shows a lot about Weyburn. I would highly recommend any young professionals or or families that are looking to try somewhere new to look into Weyburn. It's incredible for the services, the lifestyle, it's an awesome place to to come and raise a family."

What seeds have you planted in your time here that you're hoping will grow?

"I hope I added to the culture with my positivity and that it left a lasting impression on people. I hope some of the things we implemented at my former job with the city will continue to grow and provide better services to the community. Our online system that we launched is something I'm very proud of and I know it's going to make it easier for people to utilize our programming within the city. I also hope the Big Brothers and Big Sisters partnership with the Spark Centre grows into something great as well. And really, I hope when people remember Ryan they remember all the good stuff. I always did my best!"

Is there anyone you'd like to thank for making your time in Weyburn special?

You know, I can't thank individuals because I'd be here all day. I'll speak on behalf of myself and my fiancée who has lived here too, for the last three years. We just want to thank the community for welcoming in two strangers. For letting us be a part of your teams, your clubs, your conversations, your dinner tables... It's been awesome. We're happy we came to Weyburn and we know we're better for it, so we hope we were able to give to Weyburn what Weyburn gave to us."