Homesteading and pioneer farming were not the only developments in the early years of Saskatchewan. Along with agricultural growth, there was the development of government at all levels. Cities, towns, and villages and a system of road and road transportation had to be built to service the farming areas and the industrial development that took place. Educational, medical, recreational, and cultural facilities were established to meet the needs of a society growing in population and complexity. The first government of the North-West Territories consisted of a Lieutenant-Governor and an appointed council. By 1888, the council been replaced by an elected assembly but the Lieutenant-Governor-retained exclusive control over the expenditure of the annual Parliamentary grant to the North-West Territories. Between 1888 and 1897, the territorial assembly won control over finances and achieved responsible government, but the territorial government did not possess any of the rights and powers of a provincial government. In 1905, Provincial rights were obtained by the creation of the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Left, Sir F. W. G. Haultain (1857-1942),
a leader in the struggle for responsible government
and Premier of the North-West Territories, 1897-1905
Right, Walter Scott (1867-1938),
Premier of the Province of Saskatchewan.
Inauguration Day Decorations, South Railroad Street, Regina
Inauguration ceremonies for the Province of Saskatchewan,
Regina, 4 and 5 September 1905.
Seated left to right: Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Mrs. J.H. Mclllree, Lady Grey, Earl Grey, Lady Laurier, Lieutenant-Governor Forget, remainder not identified.
The great, the long expected and much - prepared for day has come and gone, and amidst much pomp and ceremonial and boundless popular enthusiasm Saskatchewan has taken her place in the confederation of Provinces that constitute the Dominion of Canada.
6 Sept. 1905
Legislative Building, Regina, about 1910.
Legislative Library, Legislative Building,
John Hawkes, legislative librarian; Robert W. Shannon, legislative counsel and law clerk; James P. Runciman, assistant to the legislative librarian; Mrs. H.B. Young, library assistant; Mr. W.H. Munro, assistant librarian; remainder unidentified.
The long vistas of the graceful rooms is not interfered with as the shelving is along the walls; the floor space is very little encroached upon; the lighting is equally good for all the stacks, and all the books are equally accessible as the upper tiers are reached by light steel staircases leading to a gallery, with marble floor and brass hand railing, running the entire length.
Public Service Report, 1913
Canadian Pacific Railway track layer at work,
Even more important to the provincial government than the establishment of libraries and other cultural amenities was the provision of railway branch lines.
While the building of the main - line transcontinental railway had been essential to the opening of the West for settlement, branch lines were extremely important to the success of the individual pioneer. Pressure from both the settlers and the railway companies was placed on the provincial government to help in the construction of branch lines. Since the Dominion government had retained control over the public lands, the Provincial Government could not provide land grants to help in the construction of branch lines, nor could it afford to grant subsidies. Instead, in 1909, legislation was passed to permit the government to guarantee the bonds of railway companies for the building of approved branch lines. While this helped to get the lines built, it did not entirely resolve the government's problem, for the Legislature was often caught between the demands for branch lines and the railway companies unwillingness or inability to build them.
Here came the track laying gang. First a car of ties and then a car of rails. Each man grabbed a tie and laid it on the grade and then a gang of men on each side of the train picked up a rail. They carried it up front and laid it on the ties and 2 men bolted on the plates connecting them to the last one laid. The engineer went ahead with the width gauge and the gang drove in a spike every 10 feet or so. The engine said toot and moved the cars up one length. The other gang came behind and drove in the rest of the spikes, and the Transcontinental had moved another length on its way to the Pacific. Track laying in a nutshell.
The first train into Prince Albert, 5 September 1890.
This railway was built with a federal land grant of
6,400 acres per mile and a subsidy totalling $1,000,000..
Regina railway station,
Standing midway between Winnipeg and Calgary and in the centre of the richest portion of the great North American wheat belt, Regina, with railways already radiating from it to the four points of the compass, occupies a position of exceptional commercial strength. . . with the rapid settlement of the new provinces the necessity arose for a centre less remote than Winnipeg to serve as a base of supplies, and Regina was marked out by geographical conditions and the railway engineer to fill that position
The city's commercial future as the chief distributing point for Saskatchewan was assured in 1902, in which year the C.P.R. first granted the shippers of the city a local freight tariff. From that year the city as a wholesale centre has never for one instant looked back, and every year, every month indeed, sees new wholesale firms locating in the city and making it the distributing point for their western trade.
Regina Morning Leader,
27 April 1907
Canadian Pacific Railway station, Caron, about 1900
Railway station interior,
The country is greatly in need of more railway accommodation, and the evil will soon be much worse. For the first ten and a half months of 1902, 719 homestead entries have been made at the Saskatoon land office alone by bona fide settlers, besides all that have been made at other points along the line. Yet they are coming, and will all winter, in the greatest rush we have ever seen. Very greatly increased railway accommodation is absolutely and urgently required in more main lines, branches and rolling stock or our country and its fair prospects and opportunities will bleed at every pore.
21 November 1902
The growth of towns: Railway Avenue,
The coming of the railroad changed the pattern of living for the settlers south of the Pipestone Creek. For with the coming of the trains followed by the railway stations, station agents, section men, and section men's houses, a nucleus for a town was created encouraging general stores, hardware stores, blacksmith shops, lumber yards, and other commodity outlets and services to establish themselves at the rail stops, which were located at approximately eight mile intervals.
Hammers could be heard day and night, all along Main Street as the freshly arrived merchants, hotel men, livery stable operators and the like worked furiously to get their premises ready for the harvests that were to come.
Albert's Cafe, Saskatoon,
This cafe was founded by Albert Hughes and S. B. Dale, and later owned by Dale. There were, at one time, two or three Albert's Cafes or Restaurants in Saskatoon. These popularly priced restaurants served short orders and full meals, and sold ice cream, cigars, candies, and fruits.
McKinley and Mitchell Hardware Store, Biggar, about 1916;
Walter Mitchell behind the counter.
The Store Clerk's Day:
He is expected to present himself at his post at about half past seven in the morning. From that hour until mid - day he is employed variously, in serving customers, in carrying about parcels, bags, boxes, bales, etc. He sweeps out the store, dusts the goods and does anything and everything which his employer deems necessary. . . . At mid-day he is released, dirty an dusty, without any opportunity to enjoy a good breath of fresh air, before he goes to his dinner. Dinner over, a brief lapse of time remains for any rest or recreation ere the short hour is gone. Once more, the weary hours drag on until six o'clock finds the footsore clerk trudging out to his supper. . . . At seven o'clock he is still confronted with two and a half hours or more of drudgery. . . .
2 December 1904
Bank in Duval, 1913.
During the period 1908 - 11, banks proliferated throughout the Province opening up in all sorts of places, even in tents. In 1911, I opened a branch of the Bank in Holdfast using a side room in the hotel as the Banking office. The safe sent out from Winnipeg was considered, to be too heavy for the floor so for the Winter of 1911 - 12 it stood outside on the platform.
Northern Electric and Manufacturing Company Limited
advertisement, 7 August 1912.
In 1911, a neighbour Tom Awde and myself, organized the Heward Rural Telephone Company, consisting of fourteen farmer subscribers, we were all on the one line in the country but not in the village. I was president and Tom was the secretary, it was wonderful to be able to talk with thirteen other farmers, especially on urgent matters which did occur sometimes. Our line was merged with other rural lines and later with the main line when extended from Regina with [sic] Heward Village. We had an exchange at the office office of J. M. Adams in the village. They had three fine girls who handled it with the assistance of Ruby Reilly occasionally, daughter of Mr and Mrs Reilly. A splendid convenience to be able to converse with many in the area with long distance calls anywhere, overcoming the loneliness of early days of homesteading. The natural progress of live settlers.
G. A. Harris,
Maple Creek News office,
Left to right: Les Proud, A. T. White, W. J. Redmond. The Saskatchewan Herald, which began publication at Battleford in 1878, was the first newspaper published in what is now Saskatchewan. The importance of a local news media to settlers was indicated by the rapid increase in the number of newspapers published in the newly established towns and villages.
City officials watching the laying of mains,
Fairford Street West, Moose Jaw, 1904.
There were no great speeches or flare of trumpets, but the most important work ever undertaken by the city was inaugurated with a quiet determination to carry it to a successful conclusion.
Moose Jaw Times,
7 July 1904
Regina cyclone, 30 June 1912: view of the damage
caused to residences on Smith Street.
Fires, floods, cyclones, and other disasters have been a part of the history of Saskatchewan. Sometimes lives were lost and property damage was high. To growing communities and pioneers struggling to make a living, these events have been catastrophic. One of the most spectacular and devastating disasters to strike Saskatchewan was the Regina cyclone of 1912.
I'll never forget Sunday, June 30, 1912 - the Day of the Cyclone!.. It was before five when we got back to Mark's home. . . . The atmosphere was very oppressive and the sky filled with black, ominous clouds. . . . Before dinner was far advanced, it started to rain. . . . The rain came down in sheets when suddenly the lights went out and we were unable to see enough to go on with the dinner. . . .
The storm passed quickly, the room became light again and we finished our dinner and then went out onto the verandah. To our surprise, we saw people running along the street. Some appeared to be injured. I heard a woman calling to some neighbours that all the buildings in the park were down. The house we were in had its chimney blown off but received no other serious damage. Myron and I started off to see what had happened but did not have to go far to see some of the effects of the storm . . . only a block or two further . . . [were] rows of buildings lying on the ground completely destroyed and others with lesser damage. . . . we reached Victoria Park . . . buildings around and near the park were hit hard. Three churches had been in the path of the storm: the Baptist, Metropolitan Methodist, and Knox Presbyterian. Each received serious damage but the Metropolitan was a complete wreck. . . . Scores of private houses and other buildings were completely destroyed and 28 people lost their lives. Some of these I knew. . . .
It took Regina a long time to recover from the cyclone. The real estate boom was given a death blow and business fell away seriously. When war broke out in 1914, the effects were still noticeable.
W. T Moore,
Road construction: W. Lovell road gang near Tisdale,
Road construction crew south of
The influx of settlers, whether to the towns or the farms, naturally encouraged the development of industries. For the most part, these were based on resource exploitation or were related to agriculture. There were also a few interesting undertakings which deviated from the expected pattern.
Unloading logs, Ladder Lake Company,
Camp Seven Landing, about 1920.
Very often the load would be four feet above the stakes so the load would be practically twelve feet high. With the stakes spreading at the top the load might be 17 feet wide at the top. This was equivalent to one heavy flat car load. There were four horses as a rule for one sleigh, but on a longer haul we would use six horses and haul a trailer. So those six horses on a heavy load could really haul two flat car loads of logs at once and make two trips a day on a six mile road. . . . The horses would be sharp shod for hauling on the ice road.
Coal miners, Estevan,
Crescent Collieries, Limited,
Estevan has been named by some the 'Pittsburgh of Saskatchewan' and it is certainly going along the right lines if it does not quite deserve it yet.... That the Estevan coal is good for steam purposes as well as domestic use there is no gainsaying, as for several years thousands of tons have been shipped to one of the largest manufacturing concerns in Winnipeg, as well as to many smaller manufacturers in other towns in Western Canada.
16 December 1911
Drilling a gas well near Maple Creek, about 1908.
The Maple Creek Gas, Oil and Coal Company Limited
was incorporated in 1907.
Leslie and Wilson Flour Mill, Saskatoon, 1903.
Brick plant in the Moose Jaw
district before 1914.
Automobile built about 1913 by the Canadian Standard Automobile and Tractor Company, Moose Jaw, with John Robson, who assembled the car, and his family, sitting on the running board. The cars were built with parts acquired from the Fort Wayne Engine Company. Very few cars were ever built.
These cars were huge affairs with a wheel base of 132 inches and beautifully built six-cylinder engines with four speed and reverse gear boxes. The bodies had been built for Cadillac and were equally fine. When the first car was finished, it was rolled out and taken up to the race track at the Exhibition Grounds to be tuned up and tested. After some adjustments, the car ran 16 miles on a gallon of gasoline at 45 m.p.h., which was considered fairly good performance. The engine was so smooth and free from vibration that a four-inch lead pencil would stand upright on the radiator cap. Try that with your modern car.
Moose Jaw Times Herald,
5 May 1956
Plan for one - room school,
Saskatchewan Department of Public Works,
Education was often one of the settler's major concerns. The first school district in the North - West Territories was organized in 1884, after the passing of the School Ordinance in the same year. By 1905, there were 1,190 school districts in Saskatchewan. The recently established Department of Education was in charge of matters pertaining to schools and school districts, although the administration of the district school was the concern of the local ratepayers under a Board of Trustees. Schools, often of log or frame, were constructed by the ratepayers. To aid the local school districts, construction plans outlining proper lighting, heat, and ventilation were supplied by the Department of Education.
Coldridge School District No. 242
near Oxbow, about 1905.
This one - room school does not appear to have been built according to the accompanying plan, but it is an example of the many schools built in Saskatchewan in the early days.
Eagle Creek School District No. 741,
The school house, one room, was built on a acre of land with a barn and two out - houses. There was a coal and wood heater for the winter. The janitor would bank the fire at night; that is put large chunks of coal in the heater and close all the drafts. In the morning he would open the drafts and have the room a little warm for school. There was a pail of drinking water with a large enamel dipper that everyone drank from. Often in the winter the water was frozen and it had to be 'unthawed' before we could have a drink. . . . When recess came she [the teacher] would play ball with us. Other games were Fox and Geese, Pick up Sticks, Nigger Baby, Canny Can, London Bridge and Farmer in the Dell. In summer it was mostly baseball (no soft balls then) and in winter, marbles. What I liked best were the nature hikes. We had many teachers, some good and some not so good.
Josie Olsen Ouellette,
School field day, Wroxton,
25 June 1914.
While most successful in point of attendance, in the interest shown and in the enjoyment of those competing in the many events comprising the program, the real significance of the first union field day of the public schools of the Wroxton district was in the fact that this, the greatest gathering ever held in this ambitious village, was a gathering of school children of foreign-born parents.
There were upwards of 400 pupils present, every one of them a promising young Canadian. Although their parents were of various nationalities and had come principally from continental Europe, the children gaily waved miniature Union Jacks - the emblem of the freedom their parents have secured for them in their new Canadian home.
25 June 1914
Chief Justice F. W. G. Haultain laying the cornerstone
for the Regina Normal School, 30 May 1913.
There is one thing lacking in this country . . . I would like to see some way to make the teaching profession a real profession - a profession that a man or a woman can spend his or her life at - giving sufficient returns for the labour and brains demanded, and the time and money spent in preparation for it - carrying with it the honor that attaches to other professions, not the mere unwritten honour of work well done, but something tangible and recognized. I believe that time will come. . . .
Chief Justice Haultain,
Regina Leader, 31 May 1913
Sir Wilfrid Laurier laying the corner stone of the
College of Agriculture Building, now the
University of Saskatchewan, 29 July 1910.
An act to establish the University of Saskatchewan was passed by the Legislative Assembly in 1907. Walter C. Murray was appointed as the first president, and in April 1909 Saskatoon, was chosen as the site of the university. The first classes in arts and science were offered in the fall of 1909 with an enrollment of seventy students.
Weyburn General Hospital,
Hospitals, located in many of the larger settlements, provided much needed medical services. In 1898,Victoria Hospital was built in Regina. Others followed at Prince Albert, Lloydminster, Battleford, Yorkton, and Moosomin. Many of the hospitals, like the first St. Paul's Hospital in Saskatoon, were private homes converted to serve the public. Provincial health authorities recommended that hospitals be designed to provide sunny, well - ventilated, and fireproof facilities, with room for future expansion.
Queen Victoria Cottage Hospital,
Yorkton, about 1902.
[The Queen Victoria] hospital was opened for patients on the 21st of October, 1902. . . . Its inception was stimulated by, if it was not largely owing to, a contribution of $3,000.00 from the Lady Minto Cottage Hospital Fund, and the hospital is being administered in connection with the Victorian Order by a board of five directors, who are elected by the subscribers. It is maintained by voluntary contributions, by fees from patients and by the Government grants. . . . The building itself is a very substantial and attractive one, standing in its own grounds of three acres on an eminence to the southwest of the town. It is on a stone foundation, is built partly of brick and partly of wood, has two stories and a basement, and at present accommodates sixteen patients - public and private. The back half of the second storey is unfinished, and when completed will increase the accommodation to twenty. It has a very good operating room which, for one in use so short a time, is exceedingly well equipped.
Building St. Peter's Cathedral,
By 1909, the church was becoming too small to accommodate the parishioners and Messrs. August Wassermann and Theodore Fleskes, two carpenters of the parish, were engaged to erect a new church, 561/2 x 120 ft. with two 60 foot towers and a seating capacity of 480. The stone foundation was built by the Bonas Brothers. With many people giving their assistance, it was possible to have the official opening on July 10, 1910. . . .
Berthold Imhoff, a German artist who had opened a studio near St. Walburg, Sask., visited Abbot Bruno and offered to decorate the sancturary of the church with eighty full size figures, gratis. For the body of the church the fee would be $3,000. . . . on May 12, 1919 he began his work. To commemorate the first Mass on Ascension Day, May 21, 1903, the artist painted a beautiful picture of the Lord's Ascension on the ceiling of the church. He persuaded Abbot Bruno to sit for the portrait.
Outdoor curling at Prince Albert,
about 1900, 1905.
A great revival in the game of curling is in evidence this winter. Several new men, who have until recently withstood the persuasive attractions of the roaring game are now to be seen on the ice, besom in hand, yelling "soop 'er up," etc. and enjoying themselves to the limit.
Prince Albert Advocate,
24 January 1899
The Fort Qu'Appelle Cycling Club in front of the
Hudson's Bay Company Store, Fort Qu'Appelle, 1898;
Presentation of club colours to the members.
A. McDonald, patron of the bicycle club, has presented each member thereof with a handsome set of colors, blue and white, for, which he was accorded a hearty vote of thanks. Mr. Robinson took a group photo of the club on Monday p.m., with the H. B. Co's store as a background. The club then formed in line and had their first run to Dr. Seymour's and back, after which Mrs. Smith, vice, president, served them with ice cream and cake.
15 June 1898
A baseball game in the Qu'Appelle Valley, probably near Lumsden, date unknown.
Walter Scott, later premier of Saskatchewan,
is believed to be the pitcher..
The large numbers who came from Moose Jaw, Qu'Appelle, Balgonie, Pense, McLean and the settlements of the north found Regina gay and smiling in her holiday dress of bunting, flags and avenues of trees new from the woods, but, looking as if our streets had always been their natural home. . . .
The day's programme commenced with the GREAT BASEBALL GAME, between Regina and Moose Jaw in the contest for the Hamilton - Tait cup. The play was splendid and both sides were on their mettle. The following was the score, with Regina an inning to spare . . . [Regina 47, Moose Jaw 24]
3 July 1881
"Hard Time Dance,"
Rosetown, 4 April 1913.
The dances usually were very jolly. They were held in a barn. Whole families arrived in sleighs. Babies and small children were made warm and comfortable along one side against the wall, and they slept soundly. Warmth came from a huge stove at one end. Close to it stood the Fiddler and the Caller. The dance always started with a rollicking square dance, the Callers [sic] voice ringing out "Take yer partner, swing her round, over and under, away yer go", and so on. They ended with a waltz to the tune of "Home Sweet Home". Some were danced to a song, thus relieving the Caller. The favourites were "By the Banks of the Saskatchewan" and "The Moon Shines Bright on Red Wing Sighing".
Mrs. W. T. Bibbings,
Condie Anglican Church Choir, conducted by Thomas Ward,
at the First Provincial Music Festival,
Regina, May 1909.
One thing is very apparent and that is that Saskatchewan possesses musical ability of no mean order and among our cosmopolitan population are many with musical training and ability that would not pass unnoticed in even larger centres and the musical associations are being amply rewarded for their labours in endeavoring to bring this latent talent to the front.... It would almost seem that the keen bracing air of our northern climate must have a beneficial effect on the voices of the rising generation, at least judging by the sweet notes of the youthful singers from Condie who simply brought down the house every time they appeared.
Regina Morning Leader,
15 May 1909
Melfort Band at the Tisdale sports day, 1910.
The band was led by J. M. Taylor.
The members acquired their uniforms in 1909.
Music at home, Maple Creek district, 1903.
Standing, left to right: Howard Parker, Charlie W. Stearns;
seated, left to right: Charlie E. Stearns, Jean Stearns, Jack Stearns.