I was born and grew up in an area of East Regina known as the "Garlic Flats", named in honour of the mix of Eastern European families who lived there. There were Romanians, Bulgarians, Serbs, Hungarians, a few Germans, some Ukrainians and Russians, and a Metis family.
They were working class people who lived by the sweat of their labours. Necessity and exhuberant inventiveness taught them how to adapt to a new country and culture. They had a passion for life, and for good food, bread and wine. They ate lots of onions and garlic, and made good sauerkraut. They were poor, but made big fires in small ovens.
Much of what I experienced in Garlic Flats was beautiful and inspiring. And some of what I saw was pretty ugly. The Old Working Class is a narrative series of collages of that time and place and the characters I encountered as a young boy. Installed in 1978, it hangs in the main floor of the Sturdy-Stone Centre in Saskatoon.