Milestone ‘feels like a home’ to new and established residents alike

It’s a quiet Monday morning on the Main Street of Milestone. But it’s not long until cars pull up to the auto-body shop and the Harvard Western Insurance. The doors at the newly renovated Co-op grocery store are also open and ready for customers.

Community members stop to chat with one another and ask about their morning.

“Whether I’m going to the grocery store, to the post office or just going for a walk, everyone’s always saying, ‘Hi, hello, how are you?’ ” said Jana Whalen, a town resident and substitute teacher at Milestone School.

“That’s my favourite part of living here.”

Whalen, 25, and her husband Travis, 26, who is also a teacher, bought a home and moved to Milestone in 2021. They both came from small towns and met in Regina while completing their studies.

Regina was far too big. They didn’t like not knowing their neighbour, so they tried Weyburn. That was still too big. Travis suggested Milestone as he was already working there at the time.

It was the perfect fit.

“Milestone offers a sense of belonging,” said Travis.

“Right from the get-go, it felt like we just belonged here. It feels like a home.”

They take pride in being highly involved with community activities. The couple has no plans of ever leaving Milestone.

“We’re excited to have a family here one day that gets to see all these amazing things that we started when we were younger,” said Jana.

Milestone provides the essentials for any family.

Milestone has a bank, post office, grocery store, K-12 school, fire hall, a few restaurants and more. Its centralized location between Regina and Weyburn also has its benefits for a commuting job.

All these features are reasons why Bev Siebert, all of her children and eight of nine grandchildren still live in Milestone.

“I’m so blessed because of it,” said Siebert. “Every morning I watch six of my grandchildren walk to and from school, it’s just the nicest thing.”

Bev Siebert was born and raised in Milestone, only leaving the town to complete her education at the University of Regina.

She resides at Carrington Court, the assisted living centre.

Bev and her family have a long history in Milestone. Her grandfather was one of the first farmers to bring Herefords (a British breed of beef cattle) to Canada. He was also one of the founders of the Co-op.

She credits that long history to her activity in the community, even into her old age.

One of her many roles in the community is providing piano lessons. Her teachings have crossed generations.

“The kids that I’m teaching, I taught their fathers, I taught their mothers,” said Siebert.

“So, you’re very close to these people. And it’s like one great big family.”

Siebert is proud of her community. She says that the town is quick to come together and help anyone in need.

She describes how a young family lost their home to a house fire in September. And through Facebook, a member of the community made a list of all the items the family needed.

Within days, that list was completed.

“Things like that made us all feel so proud of Milestone and the people,” she said.

“It was really heartfelt. That’s the kind of thing that all small towns do.”

Bev Siebert and her daughter’s eight-month-old pup Rosie at her home in Carrington Court.

Families from all over the world even decide to make Milestone home.

Joshua Cherian’s family moved from Kerala, India to Canada in the early 2000s. They lived in various cities and towns all over Canada, but something was calling them to Milestone.

His father found a pastoral position there and after thinking about it for some time, the family made the move.

They now have a church in Milestone called “The Lighthouse”.

“My favourite part about living in Milestone would be the relationships and friendships that I developed over this time living here,” said Cherian.

The family also runs after-school programs and summer camps through their church.

Cherian said that living in Milestone provided him with a unique perspective and appreciation for Saskatchewan.

“Living in a small town gives you the perspective of a farming community,” he said. “You can really know the roots of the province.”

According to Statistics Canada, the population of Milestone in 2021 was 682.

The population in 2016 was 699. There was a decrease of 2.4 per cent.

Stephen Schury, an administrator for the Town of Milestone, thinks the town has a current population of over 700. He said the town has experienced growth in the last 10 years.

Living in a small town isn’t for everyone. But for some, it’s everything they want and more.

“I’ve been around to other small towns before,” said Travis Whalen.

“This one just feels different. It’s a good one.”

Feature photo – Jana and Travis Whalen in front of the Milestone grain elevator (photo submitted by Jana Whalen).

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