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Fans say goodbye as popular sitcom 'Corner Gas' airs final episode

Saskatchewan fans said so long Monday night to "Corner Gas," the popular TV sitcom that brought their quirky prairie lives to the rest of the world.

SASKATOON - Saskatchewan fans said so long Monday night to "Corner Gas," the popular TV sitcom that brought their quirky prairie lives to the rest of the world.

"I'm really sad that it's over," Shelley Schafer of Saskatoon said as credits of the show's final episode rolled on a large flat screen TV. Schafer and her two children were among 40 fans gathered at The Granary restaurant for a farewell party hosted by a local radio station.

"Corner Gas," wrapping after six seasons, is widely regarded as the most popular Canadian TV show ever. It chronicles the goings-on in the fictional town of Dog River, Sask.

"It's very Saskatchewan humour and very much part of the fabric of Saskatchewan," said Theresa Kirkpatrick. "This has been part of my Monday nights for a long time."

Across the street at the Saskatchewan Made store, manager Karen Parenteau said "Corner Gas" T-shirts, caps and air fresheners have been selling fast.

"People are getting a last grab at the stuff," said Parenteau, a fan of the show herself.

"It's going to leave a big hole in the Monday night programming."

"Corner Gas" was shot on location in the tiny town of Rouleau, southwest of Regina, where tens of thousands of fans have flocked since its debut in 2004.

Mayor Allen Kuhlmann said dozens more fans were walking around town Monday snapping photos of the non-functioning gas station and adjoining Ruby Cafe, scenic mainstays of the show.

"It is bittersweet," he said."We knew that it had to end someday. I just guess we wished it hadn't stopped quite this quick."

The show has injected about $1 million into the economy of the town, population 400.

Kuhlmann said a regular town council meeting prevented him from catching the last episode, but he plans to buy the final season on DVD to add to his collection.

"That was one of the things that we really liked about the show - it was good clean fun and you could laugh out loud several times in a half an hour. It's not everyday you can find a program like that to watch," he said.

Celebrities and politicians, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, have made cameos on the show.

"Corner Gas has kept Canadian families, including my own, laughing for the last six seasons," Harper said in a news release.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who also made a guest appearance, said the show managed to capture the spirit of the province.

Broadcast in over two dozen countries, "Corner Gas" has been as popular with city slickers as rural folks.

A public autograph session with the show's stars in downtown Toronto drew about two hundred fans on Monday afternoon.

"It reminds me of where I live, too," said Tony Savoia of Thorold, Ont., clutching a DVD set of the first season signed by cast members.

"Everyone can relate to the show, I think. Whether you live in Toronto or whether you live in a tiny town."

His friend, Nicole Burr, said they had a routine of rehashing each episode every Tuesday morning.

"We call each other up. 'Did you see 'Corner Gas' last night? Wasn't it so funny when this happened?"' she said.

"We won't be able to do that anymore."

-With files from Cassandra Szklarski in Toronto

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