"Once you lose something in a small town, you never get it back.”

In rural areas across Canada, a way of life is vanishing. Populations are aging, businesses are closing for good, homes are empty, children are nowhere to be seen. Canada’s identity is woven out of small-town life, from the ice rink to the farm to the local coffee shop, but dozens of towns across the country are hanging by threads. This fall, when buses stop running in Western Canada, it will only get worse. Can we do anything to save these communities? If we can, should we? And if nothing is done, what will we lose? Aaron Hutchins of Maclean's takes us on a long ride across the prairies to find the friendliest people you’ll meet, who stay planted in their community even as it vanishes around them.

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