Fire destroys century-old Saskatoon family homestead used as wedding venue
Agar's Corner, built in 1916, was booked for weddings for 2 years
Three generations of the Agar family watched as their family's homestead — built more than 100 years ago — was reduced to rubble by a raging fire that sent smoke billowing over Highway 16 early Tuesday morning.
Fire crews were called to Agar's Corner, a homestead-turned wedding venue on Floral Road, at about 4:40 a.m. CST. The location is about 10 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.
Owner Don Agar watched as the flames engulfed the home his great-grandparents built more than 100 years ago.
"It means everything to us right now, our business. I'm fifth generation here on the yard so the house has been here for 112 years. Big loss today," said Agar, whose father, Jim, was also watching the fire.
Agar, who lives on the property, said he was alerted to the fire by an alarm but the basement was already up in flames by the time he got there.
At least five fire crews responded but were unable to extinguish the flames, which soared as high as the trees.
The Saskatoon Fire Department said its initial attempts to enter the building were hampered by very hot temperatures coming from the basement.
When the main floor became soft due to deterioration from below, all fire crews were pulled from the building. They then fought the fire from the outside.
The building was used by the family as a restaurant and wedding venue, which was booked for the next two years.
With about 24 weddings booked to take place at the property in the next two years, Agar expects there will be some concerned couples hearing the news about the fire on Tuesday.
Agar now lives in a separate house on the same farm, as do his parents, who were farmers until they started running the wedding venue and catering business.
They did so for about 20 years, until Agar and his wife, Carmen, took over 12 years ago
"It's kind of surreal; it hasn't even sunk in yet," said Agar.
"Everybody's safe and sound. It sounds terrible to say but it's just stuff — material."
Agar hopes to rebuild and continue to run the wedding business.
"The next step is just to sit down and take a breath here," he said.
It is not yet clear what caused the blaze. A fire investigator was at the scene Tuesday morning.