The decade of the twenties, coming as it does between the First World War and the Great Depression, is often overlooked, but much happened in Saskatchewan during that period. While the provincial Liberal party retained power for most of the twenties, it was a time of considerable political uncertainty and change, as attempts were made to resolve western problems. Farms became more mechanized, and farmers organized co-operatives to help market their grain and other products. Towns and cities grew and became more attractive with electricity, running water, radios, motion picture theatres, and other social and cultural amenities. The increasing use of the automobile and truck created a need for better roads and bridges. Aeroplanes, although still somewhat a novelty, began to appear in Saskatchewan's sky. The boundary of development was extended northward, and there was a renewal of immigration. The diverse ethnic composition of the population gave rise to religious and racial prejudices which reached their most widespread expression when the Ku Klux Klan operated in Saskatchewan. In the 1929, provincial election, the Liberal party was defeated for the first time since 1905 and replaced by a Co-operative Government made up of Conservatives, Progressives, and Independents. As the decade ended Saskatchewan began to feel the effects of the growing, worldwide depression.
The entrance of the Progressives into federal and provincial politics during the 1920s was the result of disenchantment with the "old-line" parties and caused a breakdown of the two-party system which had previously existed in Saskatchewan. These were years of political change and confusion during which independent candidates, under a variety of names and supporting a variety of platforms, were nominated in many provincial constituencies to oppose not only Liberal and Conservative candidates but also one another.
Progressives on the road to victory, Moose Jaw, 1923.
E. N. Hopkins, sitting in the buggy, was elected member of Parliament
for Moose Jaw in the by-election of 10 April, 1923.
Progressives on the road to victory, Moose Jaw, 1923.
E. N. Hopkins, sitting in the buggy, was elected member of Parliament
for Moose Jaw in the by - election of 10 April, 1923.
The importance of agricultural production had been underlined during the war and in the years that followed, bringing a challenge of improvement to the grain frontier. Farming meant more than the application of labour to land. Research aimed at the improvement of seed grains and agricultural methods, and the use of more sophisticated machinery began to change Saskatchewan agriculture. Farm production and the marketing and transporting of agricultural produce underwent significant changes as the twenties progressed.
From the Grain Growers' Guide, 12 January 1921. A more orderly system for the marketing of grain, under which farmers would not be at the mercy of fluctuating prices on the grain exchange and the vagaries of the railway system had always been a goal of the organized farmers. When the operation of the Canadian Wheat Board, established as a war measure, was terminated in 1920, farmers' organizations requested that it be reinstated. When this was not done, they turned to wheat pools to solve their problems.
Aaron Sapiro, 1927
The Saskatchewan Grain Growers Association and the Farmers' Union of Canada invited Aaron Sapiro, an expert in co-operative marketing from California, to Saskatchewan. In August 1923, he addressed large meetings in Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, and Swift Current on the idea of a contract wheat pool. By June 1924, a Saskatchewan Wheat Pool was an accomplished fact. Sapiro not only raised the farmers enthusiasm for a wheat pool but stressed the need for a unification of the two farm organizations. This was achieved in 1926 when the United Farmers of Canada (Saskatchewan Section) was formed as a result of the merger. Sapiro frequently returned to Saskatchewan to publicize the advantages of co - operative marketing.
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool information tent,
Weyburn fair, 1927
Entrance to the Sherwood Building,
Regina, about 1926.
"The entrance doors to the Sherwood Building, Regina are very remarkable," states Mr. W. Waldron, Saskatchewan Markets Commissioner. "The various names emblazoned thereon in gold letters indicate that here the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, the Saskatchewan Poultry Pool, The Saskatchewan Live Stock Pool and The Saskatchewan Dairy Pool have their headquarters as well as the Saskatchewan Pool Elevators and the Saskatchewan Grain Growers' Association . . This doorway might well be termed the 'Escutcheon of the Pools' representing as it does agricultural co - operative development in the province. No fewer than 75,000 farmers have a joint interest in the business carried on behind these doors, and millions of dollars are mailed from these offices in the course of a year by way of payment to members for the farm produce marketed for them by their own organisations.
Public Service report,
Seager Wheeler, came to Canada in 1885 and in 1887 bought a farm near Rosthern. A breeder of hard spring wheat he developed Kitchener and Red Bobs, and, from the latter, Early Triumph and Supreme. Between 1911 and 1918 he won five world wheat championships and many awards for other field crops.
To Mr. Wheeler belongs the distinction of being the world's champion wheat breeder, gaining that title by capturing the thousand - dollar prize at the recent New York exhibition . . . . the competition was keenly contested by all the most prominent grain growers of North America and the winning of it by a Saskatchewan farmer is one of the biggest advertisements of our soil for wheat - growing purposes that the province could possibly have.
22 November 1911
Better Farming Train,
In June and July of 1915 to 1918, the College of Agriculture participated in a unique and colourful means of carrying agricultural information to farming communities throughout the province. This was the Better Farming Train. In 1915, it consisted of eighteen cars and coaches including a well - appointed diner and sleeping coach. One coach was equipped for the care of young children while their parents visited the train. Three coaches were converted to lecture cars, one of which was devoted to lectures and demonstrations in household science. The other flat cars and coaches carried exhibits of livestock, field crops, farm machinery, poultry and dairying. For six weeks the train made three stops each day forenoon, afternoon and evening. Thousands of men, women and children visited the train, many coming long distances by buggy and wagon, sometimes forty or fifty miles.
Lawrence E. Kirk,
College of Agriculture history
Field Day at the farm of Charles Marks,
Midale, 4 July 1922
A new feature was tried out this year, viz. that of holding a picnic or field day at the home of a farmer who had made good in some one or more lines of endeavor, such as crop or live stock production. One was held on the farm of Charles Marks at Midale. Mr. Marks has the only silo in his district and a herd of good Holstein cows, quite a large acreage of corn, sunflowers and sweet clover. What Mr. Marks had done was used by the speakers present from the College and the Department to show others what might be done to improve agriculture. An automobile tour was arranged in the Snipe Lake district and a number of good farms were visited to the end that suggestions might be found that would lead to improvement in farm practice.
Dean of Agriculture,
report for 1922
Professor R.D. Ramsay, Department of Extension, University of Saskatchewan,
demonstrating sheep judging, Melfort Farm Boy's Camp,
Melfort Fair, 1928.
Farm Boy's Camps were conducted by the agricultural societies with financial assistance provided by the provincial and federal governments. The Department of Extension, University of Saskatchewan provided staff for the program.
Farm Girl's Week at the University of Saskatchewan,
The instructor at the extreme right of the picture is Miss Edith C. Rowles, Assistant, Department of Household Science. The courses were organized by the Department of Extension, University of Saskatchewan.
Thirty - two eager, interested girls from 18 to 23 years of age gathered at the University of Saskatchewan, June 25 to 28, for a course in community leadership embracing domestic and leisure time activities . . . . the girls took part in home canning demonstrations, in amateur dramatics and in handicraft diversions. The artistic effects and the pleasure to be obtained from such work as rug - making, petit point, etc. proved to the girls that these arts are truly cultural and not merely methods of combatting hard times. . . .
Sealers, spoons and wash boilers took on a new significance when Farm Girls gathered at the domestic science laboratory . . . where they undertook a short course in home canning under the able direction of Miss Edith Rowles . . . . some of the girls prepared and canned tomatoes. . . . Others canned strawberries or spinach, turning out a delightful assortment of sealers. . . .
11 July 1933
Nova Scotia stookers, Maxwell farm, 1924.
The development of educational extension programs was neither the only nor the most significant innovation to affect agriculture during the twenties. Advances in farm machinery gradually changed the nature of farm operations, though for many years the old way co - existed with the new.
Harvesters are pouring into the west at the rate of 500 or 600 a day. Special trains are bringing them to distributing points, such as Regina and Moose Jaw, and from these points, the harvesters are shifting for themselves. . . .
A special C.N.R. train carrying 550 left Winnipeg last night and will arrive in Regina today. . . .
A C.P.R. special train carrying about 600 arrived in the city last night bound for Moose Jaw, where the train will be broken up, and the harvesters distributed to the south, west and north.
Regina Morning Leader,
21 August 1924
Harvesting on the farm of Joseph Embree,
St. Boswells, 1929.
One of the oustanding benefits of the combine method of harvesting is the amount of help in harvest time. On my farm here, consisting of a section and a half, three men harvested the 1928 crop. Myself on the combine, one man on the tractor and one on the grain truck. This was our harvest crew, compared with from four to seven men when threshing with a separator. The biggest problem in my estimation, . . . is the ripening of the grain. . . . Nevertheless, the combine and truck method is so far ahead of binder, stooking and threshing, that if the cost was the same for both methods I would prefer the combine by far, with its efficiency and small handling crew.
27 June 1929
Hauling grain to the elevator at Norquay,
Hauling bales with an International truck, date unknown.
Last fall I started drawing grain with a truck and had a man drawing with one team . . As a general rule I had [the] fifth load unloaded and got home ahead of him after his second load .
This, of course, is not the only work I do with my truck. It would be impossible to make a list of all the trips I have made and what I went after, but they range all the way from going to town for a few groceries to [sic] about three thousand pounds of live hogs . . . . The closest truck to me is pretty close to twelve miles away in one direction and I don't know how far you have to go in the other three directions to find trucks . . . .
Fishermen leaving Big River for Peter Pond Lake
with their winter outfit, 1927.
Commercial fishing has been carried on for about 10 years in spite of the serious handicap of the long transportation to the railways and usually a long railway shipment to the market. Fish from this district are sent as far east as Chicago and Montreal and south to St. Paul and neighboring points. It has only been possible to carry on the industry during the winter when they could be handled from the lakes to the railway in a frozen condition. . . .
The output here . . . during the winter of 1919 reached a total of three and half million pounds, shipped through Big River. . . . The lakes fished in during that winter were Dore Lake, which supplied over half, McBeth channel and Churchill Lake, of next importance, and the smaller lakes such as Keely, Delaronde and la Plonge. The fish shipped by way of the Great Waterways railway were caught in Peter Pond lake. It can be seen therefore that some of the most important lakes were scarcely touched.
Setting a muskrat trap, 1908.
If the water is steady, not fluctuating in height, I'd come along on my raft, and just make a little hollow in the bank, big enough to hold my trap, set my trap there in about an inch or two of water and stick a piece of any kind of vegetable on a little stick and put it back into the hole. That worked good the muskrats would see that, or, smell it.
Lumberjacks at Frederick's Camp,
Mistatim, about the 1920s.
Steam hauler, the Pas Lumber Company Limited,
Carrot River, about the 1920s.
Construction of the Island Falls Power Development on
the Churchill River, July 1929.
The Island Falls power plant on the Churchill river commenced operating about a month ago, and marks the first commercial development of water power in Saskatchewan. The initial installation consists of three 14,000 h.p. units, and provision has been made for three additional units, on completion of which the station will have a capacity of 86,500 h.p.
. . . It was constructed by the Churchill River Power Company, a wholly - owned subsidiary of the Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Company, principally for the purpose of providing power for the operation of the Flin Flon mine and smelter. . . . Under an agreement with the government of Saskatchewan, one sixth of the power developed is reserved for the use of the province.
"Saskatchewan's First Hydro Plant,"
Harvesting anhydrous cake at the sodium sulphate deposit,
Alsask, September 1929.
Though the production and refining of sodium sulphate is one of the newest 'mining' industries in Saskatchewan, it has attained an enviable position, ranking second only to coal in importance, notwithstanding that market demands have been quite irregular. . . . More than two hundred alkali deposits have been found in Saskatchewan. . . The present operating dehydration plants are at Dunkirk, Ormiston, Alsask, Fusilier, and White Shore Lake.
Assembling graders, Richardson Road Machinery
A sash-and-door factory,
North Battleford, no date.
Urban development Leask
during the 1920s.
Hotel Saskatchewan, a Canadian Pacific hotel
under construction, Regina.
An army of 1,000 workmen, representing almost 40 trades and separate phases of work, took part in the construction of the Hotel Saskatchewan from the first start on the removal of buildings from the site until the hotel was ready to receive the public. . . . Every morning for almost a month this army arrived at the half - built building and worked with energy until nightfall. Then started the nightshift, carrying on until dawn.
During the last few weeks many women were employed in preparing the rooms, making beds and putting the finishing touches to the dressers and dusting the rooms and furniture.
23 May 1927
A busy scene on Saskatoon's Second Avenue,
probably late 1920s.
Owing to the advantages derived from its central location and railway facilities, Saskatoon has already become the second largest distributing point in Western Canada. . . . It serves an area of over 45,000 square miles, having more than 200 thriving towns and villages on 1686 miles of operating lines. . . . The business portion of the city is built of brick, stone and concrete. Excellent building stone is quarried within a short distance.
Fort Qu'Appelle Sanatorium built by the Saskatchewan
Anti-Tuberculosis League, 1918.
By 1922, the "insidious and deadly menace" of tuberculosis was so serious that in co - operation with the Saskatchewan Anti - Tuberculosis League the provincial government undertook to build two new sanatoriums to provide the necessary treatment centres.
Small T.B. Associations were formed throughout the Province for the purpose of educating the people on the subject and to raise funds for the building of a sanatorium. This was followed in 1911 by the formation of a Provincial Anti - TB. League with Peter McAra of Regina as President. This was a voluntary organization which raised $97,000.00 by public subscription as a start for the building of the first San at Fort Qu'Appelle. This unit was opened in October, 1917, and accommodated sixty patients. Fortunately, the first superintendent was Dr. George Ferguson, who, over the years, became a world renowned figure and became one of the world's leaders in the treatment of tuberculosis. At the outset, the Provincial Government took no part in financing this building, but, did allow the standard hospital grant of 50 cents a day. . . . This Anti - T. B. League did a wonderful job.
Laying the cornerstone for the Weyburn Mental Hospital,
19 May 1921.
The building of the Weyburn Mental Hospital was a part of the development of medical services in Saskatchewan. The hospital, constructed to accommodate 400 patients, had special quarters for tubercular patients. It was built at a cost of $2 million.
Saskatchewan Provincial Police officers,
Moose Jaw detachment, 1926.
Left to right: A. Band, R. Pyne, S. Kistruck, A. Cassidy. Social change in urban and rural Saskatchewan increased the need for law enforcement. In 1917, the Saskatchewan Provincial Police Force was organized to take over the provincial duties of the Royal Canadian North - West Mounted Police. The Provincial Police continued to police the province until May 1928, when they were disbanded.
Left - Saskatchewan Provincial Police patrol boat, Nipawin, 1921,
Right - Regina's first motorcycle policeman, Dalton W. Fisher,
with his Harley-Davidson, about 1930.
Constable Martin McDonald, Saskatoon City Policeman
with an early police vehicle, late 1920s
Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Carlyle detachment, with a still
seized in the Moose Mountains north of Arcola, 1938;
Corporal R. S. Pyne (left) and Corporal M. F. Lindsay.
Aerial Service Company Limited,
Regina has the honor of having the first airplane registered in Canada, the first commercial pilot's license and the first air engineer's license and the first registered air harbor, or airdrome, in Canada.
Regina Morning Leader,
21 April 1920
Royal Canadian Air Force base at Ladder Lake
near Big River, August 1929.
The aircraft in the picture include Vedettes, Vikings, and Vancouver flying boats built by Canadian Vickers. Forest - fire suppression flights were made from this base from 1925 to about 1935.
The most important single development in forest fire protection in late years has been in the use of aircraft for the detection and suppression of incipient forest fires, constituting a measure of prevention rather than a cure. Where lakes are numerous flying boats can be used both for detection and for the transportation of fire - fighters and their equipment to fires in remote areas. Where safe landing places are few, land [based] machines are used for the detection and inspection of fires only. The aircraft are equipped with wireless and can report the exact location of a fire as soon as it has been detected. These aircraft can be used incidentally for exploring remote areas and mapping them by means of aerial photography.
The Batoche Ferry, 1923.
For many years ferries were the chief means of crossing rivers in Saskatchewan. In 1920, there were forty - three ferries in operation but their numbers have declined as many have been replaced by bridges. Since 1912, ferries have been free except for a night toll fee.
The Nipawin Bridge, about the 1940s.
An arrangement was entered into with the Canadian Pacific Company to obtain a highway crossing on the bridge they are constructing over the Saskatchewan River at Nipawin. Plans call for a double decked bridge with highway floor beneath the railway.
The work is being carried out by the railway company, the department [of highways] paying a percentage of the cost based on the extra amount of labour and material required for the combined bridge. The work started in the summer of 1928, and good progress has been made, and it is expected the bridge will be in commission by the spring of 1930.
Department of Highways
annual report, 1929
David Bare, Imperial Oil agent, Moose Jaw, 1921.
With the growing use of the automobile and truck, the ubiquitous service station became a feature of streets and highways.
Dragging a Prince Albert street,
Maintenance is something that we have with us always, and few of us realize its importance. . . . Keeping the ditches and culverts clean, cutting weeds and brush from the right - of - way and keeping the surface, of the road free from ruts or other irregularities are the most apparent features of maintenance. . . . The frequent use of a road drag tends to produce undulations in the road surface, and it is now generally recognized that a small blade grader is a much more efficient tool for maintenance work.
Maintenance is the key to the earth road situation.
R. H. MacKenzie,
Main street of Blaine Lake, about the 1930s.
Motorists returning to the city from all directions reported the roads to be in terrible condition . . . a great many car owners were leaving their cars wherever they happened to be and were returning to the city by train. . . . A farmer at one place on the road was pulling out cars so fast as they came along . . . a few places between Hague and Saskatoon were reported to be 'not so good' but with chains it was possible to get through.
3 July 1928
Clearing snow from the rail line
near Victoria Plains, 1947.
Keeping the rail lines open in the winter time has often proved to be a problem in Saskatchewan and has made winter travel, even by railway, somewhat uncertain.
From the cupola I obtained a good view of the advance engine at work. It was marvellous to see her rush at full speed into a drift, disappear in the cloud of flying snow, and re - appear on the other side, leaving a clear tunnel behind. On one of these occasions she did not re - appear and when the snow settled she was in the centre of the drift and black smoke was issuing from her smokestack. Our train moved forward to the edge of the drift and the shovellers, thirty - one in number, swarmed into the cut and the work of digging her out commenced.
Moose Jaw Times,
28 April 1893
Prince Albert Exhibition, 1917.
If the twenties began to put a new face on Saskatchewan's physical and commercial development, they also brought some new ideas about ways of having fun. At the same time, people made the most of entertainments which had been devised in earlier years. The twenties, after all, are often remembered as a decade of gaiety and good times.
A big ferris wheel is numbered among the attractions, and while riding I it, one may secure an excellent view. Something entirely new is provided however, in the Frolic, a riding device which was only given to the American public this year. It is certainly the very latest and the motion duplicates the waves of the sea.
Prince Albert Daily Herald,
10 August 1917.
Children advertising a Chautauqua
in Prince Albert, date unknown.
Chautauqua, a travelling cultural show, brightened local life in Saskatchewan. Its entertainment and educational program, which continued for several days, often included music, drama, and lectures. People of all ages looked forward to this annual event. The depression and the development of entertainment media in the 1930s brought an end to Chautauqua tours.
A view of the Chautauqua held at Manitou Lake, 1922.
Thursday 22 [June, 1922]
. .. Chautauqua in afternoon. Lecture "The Homing of the People," Lethe Coleman. Evening "Other Peoples [sic] Money." Home at 12.
.... At Chautauqua afternoon and evening concert . . . Lecture "Why or the Problem of Life," Matheson Wilbur Chase.
. . . At Chautauqua in evening. Lecture "The Wonders of Electricity." A masterly exposition. Sunday 25
. . . At service in the Chautauqua tent. Rev. Archibald Recker, Preacher. "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse."
Fire curtain in the Biggar theater.
The scene was painted by a local artist, and the advertisements were paid for by local merchants.
Local drama group, Biggar,
Shellbrook movie theater.
Theater, vaudeville, silent films, and talkies found their place in the lighter side of Saskatchewan life. Safety standards for the buildings and movie projectors were as much a public concern as was the moral influence of the entertainment.
Poolroom, Wakaw, 1921.
At present there are no provincial regulations for poolrooms, billiard rooms, bowling alleys etc. . and these places run at their own sweet will as to hours of closing, and as to youths frequenting them..
As I go through the Province I hear many complaints about the evil influences of some of the poolrooms, both as resorts for late gambling, and as unwholesome resorts for youth. . . .
Rev. W. P. Reekie,
A family picnic, 1924.
Kathleen Flannigan in the South Saskatchewan River,
Today if a girl or a woman wishes to experience the thrill of a high dive and a long swim, there is no mock modesty sponsored by restricting conventions that compels her to risk her life in a cumbersome bathing costume, such as the American woman of earlier generations were forced to wear.
Instead, she steps forward on the spring board clad in a comfortable highly practical, close fitting suit of knitted jersey that permits the bodily freedom necessary if one is to be a good strong swimmer. . . .
Prince Albert Daily Herald,
16 June 1923
Swimming in the White Mud River
near Eastend, 1921.
Grey Owl, meeting a party of tourists at Beaver Lodge, Ajawaan Lake,
Prince Albert National Park, 1932.
The park was officially opened on 10 August 1928.
He worked for the protection of the forests and a means of educating people in order to prevent the damage of forests by fires. He wished to devise ways and means of capturing fur-bearing animals without unnecessary cruelty. He fought against the cruelty of blood sports so that animals should have a fair chance for their life. . . . In all these objectives Grey Owl had done a great work. . . .
Regina Leader - Post,
25 April 1938
Motor campground, Waskesiu Lake,
Prince Albert National Park, 1937.
Frank and Jim Bentley listening to a five-tube
Westinghouse radio, 1926.
. . . in the fall [of 1927] we got our first radio, it was a Westinghouse, a huge thing that took two c batteries, 3 B's and a wet cell battery, like a car's. The B's and C's were big, so we had to buy a library table to put the radio on, and put a shelf underneath to put the batteries on. We already had the phone in the house by 1922, so we figured we were living in the lap of luxury when we got the car and a radio, which were almost the first in the district. The radios in those days were very temperamental, sometimes all you would get was squeals. Ours though, was usually good. . . .
Travelling library at a farm house,
In eleven years the number of travelling libraries in the province has increased from the original Box No. 1 sent out in 1914, to more than eleven hundred libraries, and yearly circulation of the books has gradually increased from a few hundred to considerably over half a million. . . . It is quite impossible to meet all the requests . . . but no legitimate appeal for books ever goes unheeded, and if a library cannot be sent at the time bundles of old books are sent. Bundles of old books are also sent to small isolated communities of three or four families, who are anxious for books, but haven't enough people in the district to justify the sending of a library and occasionally the men in a construction, or, a lumber camp, get a lot of pleasure out of a huge box of worn travelling library books.
Public Service report,
Rudolph Fester family, St. Walburg, 1929.
These German immigrants arrived from Poland
in June 1929.
Libraries and other community services which developed during the twenties were generally intended for use by everyone, regardless of religious or national background. Still, the people of Saskatchewan remained conscious of ethnic differences throughout the twenties.
Pioneer celebration at Hryhoriw, 3 October 1937. The Hryhoriw school district was located near Buchanan.
Pioneer celebration at Hryhoriw, 3 October 1937.
The Hryhoriw school district was
located near Buchanan.
. . . Immigrants came to Canada from many countries. Their coming in many cases was not due to encouragement offered by the department [of immigration]. From war-torn Europe numbers came to escape the poverty, wretchedness and national unrest that followed the Great War. The pressure of conditions at home, coupled with the persuasion of relatives or friends in Canada, are the underlying causes of not a small part of the present - day movement towards Canada from several countries of Europe.
Canada, Sessional Papers,
A Russian family on a farm near Lorenzo,
northwest Blaine Lake, 1922.
An Indian family at the mouth of the
Foster River, 1926.
Invitation to a meeting of the Invisible Empire Knights
of the Ku Klux Klan, 1928.
The Klan was an important factor in the highly emotional provincial election campaign of 1929.
Courval School District, No. 2710,
no date, an indication of the religious prejudice
which was in evidence during the 1920s.