Personally, no, but I’ve head about it second hand. The little town I come from is close enough to Saskatoon that that sort of thing isn’t happening. But why does this shock you so? Small town with a population of say 50, agricultural community surrounding it is going tits up from drought and BSE, not within commuting range of any non-ag jobs, a couple people decide to move to the city and get a job that actually pays - who’s going to buy their houses? Rural population is dropping rapidly, hence housing supply is greatly outstripping demand, and any house that’s old and in poor shape is worth less than the property taxes. So who in their right mind would take it, even if it was given to them? Now, if the house is in good enough shape that it can be moved, possibly out to a cottage lot on a lake, or maybe it contains good salvageable building materials, or whatever, it might be worth a small amount.
Are YOU going to take a house that’s unsellable, contains nothing of value, and costs money to own?