The Happy Nun, Forget SK

The Happy Nun, Forget SK

by Rebecca Windjack

February 11, 2014 in Industry Profile

After running the Ananda Arthouse for seven years, owners Don and Shannon Shakotko invested in their strong belief in the future of rural Saskatchewan and opened The Happy Nun Café & Music which can be found tucked away in the southeast corner of the province, just off Highway 13 in Forget. Following a dream (literally) of a place aside from work and home, Don and Shannon found the opportunity to expand their successful house concert series and summer arts festival in the form of a run-down building on Main Street.

“The building in the dream, named the Happy Nun Cafe, was a place full of people laughing, clearly enjoying the food and wine. It seemed like a delightful place to be, the decor, the food, the conversations - all were animated and joy-filled. And that was that,” says the couple. A town story that goes much further back, however, can be slightly more complicated depending on whom you ask. Seven (Catholic) Sisters originally came to Forget from France in the middle of a prairie winter at the turn of the last century, and they or the students who sat under their tutelage might use terms alternative to “happy”.

“When we put in our vegetable garden, we were told that the nuns had their garden in the same spot, and that a Sister Augusta was the chief cook and gardener. We haven’t heard anything else about her, but we’re pretty sure she was the happiest among them all.”

The Happy Nun team is committed to preparing and serving fresh meals with locally-grown ingredients, and embracing and supporting a broad spectrum of arts including visual, performance, literary and culinary. They are also devoted to carrying on the legacy of the building, which formerly served the original town granary, then was transformed into the parish hall, and then the community hall where various celebrations were hosted. Now housing concerts, open mics, spoken word, art showings, the Deep Winter Blues Revival, Big Lebowski Night, cooking classes, music lessons, and even weddings, Don and Shannon have revived what could have remained an old abandoned building, into a lively and ever-growing rural venue.

“I think Sister Augusta would have been happy to know that we are here still gardening, cooking, and feeding souls as well as bodies,” they conclude.

For more information on The Happy Nun Café and Music, please visit

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The Happy Nun, Forget SK