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History of Saskatoon

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Title: History of Saskatoon  
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Subject: History of Canada, History of Saskatoon, Central Industrial, Saskatoon, Core Neighbourhoods SDA, Saskatoon, Next of Kin Memorial Avenue
Collection: History of Saskatoon
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History of Saskatoon

Saskatoon Population
Land Annexation by Decade

The history of Saskatoon began with the first permanent settlement of temperance movement. The settlers, led by John Neilson Lake, arrived on the site of what is now Saskatoon by traveling by railway from Ontario to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and then completing the final leg via horse-drawn cart (the railway had yet to be completed to Saskatoon). The plan for the Temperance Colony soon failed as the group was unable to obtain a large block of land within the community. Nonetheless, John Lake is commonly identified as the founder of Saskatoon; a public school, a park and two streets are named after him (Lake Crescent, which was developed in the 1960s, and Eastlake Avenue, originally Lake Avenue (as testified on the first map of Saskatoon from 1883), but later changed for reasons unknown).

Saskatoon Heritage Society Protected Buildings Irvine House Nutana
Saskatoon Heritage Society Protected Buildings Bell House Nutana

In 1885, several houses on 11th Street East were used as military hospitals during the North-West Rebellion. One house, the Marr Residence, is currently a heritage site run by the Meewasin Valley Authority. The first school, Victoria School, opened for classes at the corner of 11th Street and Broadway Avenue in 1888. This small school, now called the "Little Stone Schoolhouse", now sits on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan.

Heritage Site: Marr Residence Nutana
Rate of Population Change[1]
Census Year Population Population
1901 311
1906 3,011 2,700 868%
1911 12,004 8,993 299%
1916 21,054 9,050 75%
1921 25,739 4,685 22%
1926 31,234 5,495 21%
1931 43,291 12,057 39%
1936 41,734 (1,557) -4%
1941 43,027 1,293 3%
1946 46,028 3,001 7%
1951 53,268 7,240 16%
1956 72,858 19,590 37%
1961 95,526 22,668 31%
1966 115,247 19,721 21%
1971 126,450 11,203 10%
1976 133,750 7,300 6%
1981 154,210 20,460 15%
1986 177,641 23,431 15%
1991 186,058 8,417 4.74%
1996 193,647 7,589 4%
2001 196,811 3,164 2%
2006* 206,500 9,689 5%
*The 2006 population number and five-year population

change numbers are estimates based on Census data.


  • Hub city and agricultural boom 1
  • Post-War years 2
  • Sask-a-boom 3
  • Location in relation to neighbouring communities 4
  • Legal land locations 5
  • Location relative to other historic communities in Saskatchewan 6
  • Footnotes 7
  • External links 8

Hub city and agricultural boom

The Qu'Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railway reached Saskatoon in 1890 and crossed the South Saskatchewan River where the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge now stands, causing a boom in development on the west side of the river. In 1901, Saskatoon's population hit 113. A third settlement, Riversdale, also began just southwest of Saskatoon.

1903 saw an economic boom for Saskatoon with the encampment of Barr colonists on their way to the Brittania colony. A town charter for the west side of the river was obtained in 1903; Nutana became a village in the same year.

Barr colonists 1903
Saskatoon Heritage Society Protected Buildings Board of Trade Office, Varsity View

April 1904 saw the collapse of the rail bridge due to spring melt and ice on the South Saskatchewan River.[2] The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway system survey proposed Hanley as its northern terminal between Regina and Prince Albert.[3] Saskatoon's Board of Trade sent delegates from Saskatoon to Ottawa to discuss the river crossing and proposed city bridges. Their mission resulted in the selection of Saskatoon as the divisional centre for both the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway; both of these built bridges near the town by 1907.[2] The QLL&SR bridge was rebuilt in 1905, and again after a train fell through it in March 1914; it was demolished in 1965 to make way for the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge and the Idylwyld Freeway.[4]

In 1906 Saskatoon became a city with a population of 4,500, which included the communities of Saskatoon, Riversdale, and Nutana.

Following the formation of the Province of Saskatchewan September 1, 1905, premier Hon. Walter Scott focused on the creation of a provincial university and agricultural college. Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina, Qu'Appelle, Indian Head and Battleford were all under consideration for this location. President Walter Murray and the Board of University Governors voted in favour of Saskatoon on April 7, 1907.[5]

College Building U of S 90 Years of Excellence 1907–1997 Plaque

1907 saw the completion of the Traffic Bridge, as well as the CPR Bridge and Grand Trunk Pacific GTP Railway Bridge.[6] The geographical barrier: South Saskatchewan River between Nutana and West Saskatoon was overcome with the building of the Traffic Bridge, which opened in 1907. The physical barrier of the CNR rail yards isolated Riversdale and Saskatoon. Road underpasses below the rail line were built at 19th and 23rd Streets, and a wooden pedestrian overpass at 20th Street.[7]

From the end of the Louis Riel Rebellion to 1913, Saskatoon was celebrating boom years.[8] The main contributing factors of the exponential growth were:

  • Temperance colony settlement of the late 19th century.
  • Economic surge created by the Barr colonists 1903.
  • Saskatoon becoming western Canada's railway network hub.
  • Acquisition of the University of Saskatchewan.

Post-War years

After World War I, the Dirty Thirties and Depression years saw migration away from bankrupt farms and towards a hope of employment in the cities. The socio-economic changes brought about by World War II and the industrial revolution saw a shift from rural life to urban living. Saskatoon was not only a centre for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the 1940s, but also became a major regional distribution and service centre. Saskatoon experienced a severe shortage of residential dwellings between 1945 and 1960.[6]

During the 1960s, the CNR rail yards were relocated to Chappell Drive, making room for the Idylwyld Freeway and Midtown Plaza in the first Saskatoon Downtown revitalisation project.

In 1906, the boundaries of Saskatoon were Clarence Avenue to the east, Taylor Street to the south, Avenue P to the west, and 33rd Street East to the north. This area is roughly the same as the core neighborhood suburban development area. These boundaries remained basically the same for approximately 40 years until Saskatoon reached financial stability during World War II.[9][10] The following suburban development areas saw neighborhoods developed between 1940 and 1980: Nutana SDA on the east side; on the west side Confederation SDA and Lawson SDA. In 1955, Montgomery Place and in 1956 the neighboring town of Sutherland were annexed by the quickly growing City of Saskatoon[11] This growth continued until the mid-1980s.


, educational and cultural amenities have also expanded to meet the increased demand in this growing city.

Annexation of Saskatoon Neighbourhoods by year, 1911–2005.[1]
1911 Adelaide
Grosvenor Park
Mount Royal
East North Park
Nutana Park
Pleasant Hill
Varsity View
1955–59 Brevoort Park
College Park
Forest Grove
Greystone Heights
Hudson Bay Industrial
Meadow Green
Montgomery Place
Mount Royal West
Richmond Heights

River Heights 1
South West Industrial
U of S

1960–64 C.N. Industrial 1

Massey Place

Confederation Suburban Ctr.



1965–69 Airport Industrial C.N. Industrial 2 South Nutana Park
1970–74 Airport

East College Park


Pacific Heights
River Heights 2

1975–79 Briarwood

Hampton Village

Hudson Bay Ind.


Lawson Heights

Marquis Industrial
Silverwood Heights
University Heights S.C.

1980–84 Agriplace

Arbor Creek


Marquis Industrial
Montgomery Extension


Lakewood SDA

1985–89 Stonebridge
1990–94 Marquis Industrial
2000–04 Hampton Village Willows University Heights SDA
2005 Blairmore Marquis Industrial (Akzo)


Saskatoon's first growth spurt gained Saskatoon the nickname Hub City, whereas the latest growth phenomenon has been termed Sask-a-boom. The 10-year capital deficiency discussion paper for 2007–2016 has recently been updated for 2007. The new priority for the civic government are infrastructure needs and proposed new capital projects for the population increases and for the physical geographical growth. The phenomenal retail sector increase, new neighborhoods and communities place a demand upon the city to provide additional firehalls, transit buses, police headquarters, libraries, water plants, electrical power plants, bridges, interchanges and roadways. Brookside, Rosewood, Stonebridge, The Willows, Willowgrove, University Heights Suburban Centre, Hampton Village, Hudson Bay Industrial, Marquis Industrial, Blairmore Suburban Centre, and another 10 unnamed proposed neighborhoods are being developed or are currently under construction. [12]

A further annexation of extensive areas to the north, northeast and east of the city took place in July 2010.[13]

On August 24, 2010, the Traffic Bridge, which symbolized the uniting of Saskatoon, Nutana and Riversdale into one city, was closed indefinitely due to structural integrity concerns were raised.[14] In 2011 city council decided to replace the iconic bridge, but to date this has yet to occur.

Location in relation to neighbouring communities

Saskatoon became a city with the amalgamation with the above three communities, however the current size of Saskatoon has meant that the geographical presence of Saskatoon has encompassed several other early communities.

  • North Saskatoon is now known as North Park.[15]
  • West Saskatoon was a post office from 1900, which changed its name to Saskatoon in 1902. This area is currently referred to as the Central Business District.[16]
  • Chappell was a CNR station west of Saskatoon, located near the present-day location of Montgomery Place.
  • There was also a community known as Brownell near North Saskatoon; it was located near present-day 51st Street and Miners Avenue, in the present-day neighborhood of Hudson Bay Industrial.[17]
  • McNab Park was built 1967 as a Royal Canadian Air Force station and is located in the Airport Business Area. It has been used as a low-income housing development for many years.[18] The community was decommissioned and dismantled in 2011–2012 and is being redeveloped as a business park.
  • The "Magic City" of Factoria is now the neighborhood of Silverwood Heights. Billy Silverwood, a horse breeder and spring water bottler, owned land 2 miles (3 km) north of the 1912 Saskatoon city limits. The enterprises of horse breeding and bottling water, where an uncontaminated water supply was needed, were not a good combination. R.E. Glass, a Chicago entrepreneur, had a vision of an industrial community and purchased the Silverwood Bottling Company. He foresaw extending the rail line to service factories, breweries, flour mills, and expanded bottling works. The rail line came in 1913, and the beginnings of businesses lined the track, however World War I and the coming of electricity in 1918 made the venture unsuccessful.[19]
  • Caswell Hill was a hill located in the homestead of Robert Caswell; it was developed as Saskatoon's first suburb and is prominent in early photographs of the west side of Saskatoon.
  • Crescent Heights was a proposed subdivision from 1912. It would have been located five miles (8 km) from the Saskatoon city limits, at the location of Battleford Trail Road, which remains outside the city limits to this day.[20]
  • West of Saskatoon were a number of CNR and CPR stations closely spaced together along their parallel tracks. The closest was Yorath, on the CNR line just west of the river, near Yorath Island and approximately where the landfill is located today. Garfield was the closest CPR station, approximately where the present-day neighbourhoods of Fairhaven, Saskatoon and Parkridge, Saskatoon are located. About three miles (5 km) farther out were Cory (CPR), Farley (CNR), and Eaton (CNR branch line toward Vanscoy), in approximately a north-south line; Eaton was renamed Hawker, as the post office was confused with Eatonia, and is now the location of the Saskatchewan Railway Museum. Eaton was also used briefly as an Ukrainian Canadian internment during World War I.

[21][22][22][23] [24]

  • Smithville Cemetery is just west of Saskatoon on Highway 14 just west of the city, although it is now within the city limits.
  • East of Saskatoon, Newcross (north of Grasswood, earlier called South Saskatoon) and Duro were CNR stations between Saskatoon and Clavet, while Engen and Floral were east of Saskatoon on the CPR line.[15][25][26][27]
  • In 1904, the Grand Trunk Railway GTR built a station named Earl 3 three miles (5 km) south of the boundaries of Saskatoon at that time. This is presently the CN Industrial area.[2]

Legal land locations

Location name Section Township Range west of Third Meridian Notes
Haultain 36 34 5 1916 post office[28]
Smithville NE 28 36 6
Garfield 38 7
Diova S.D. 36 7
Diova P.O. 24 36 8
Grandora S.D. 36 8
Grandora P.O. 19 36 8
Brownell SE 16 37 5
West Saskatoon 28 36 5
Sutherland 35 36 5
Nutana 28 36 5
Beckett 25 37 7
Hawoods 20 36 8
Dunfermline 35 36 8
Little Stone S.D. 33 35 5
Nutana S.D. 37 5
Montgomery Place S.D. 36 6
Gardenvilla S.D. NE 13 37 5

Currently Saskatoon is considered to be located encompassing townships 36 and 37, range 5 and township 36, range 6, west of the Third Meridian. (See also Dominion Land Survey – Each township is a 6-mile (10 km) square.)[29][31]

Location relative to other historic communities in Saskatchewan

Garfield McNab Park
North: Martensville
Clark's Crossing
North Saskatoon
Robert Caswell's homestead
CPR Bridge
Gardenvilla S.D. 963
West: Dr. J.H.C. Willoughby's homestead Riversdale
Saskatoon Qu'Appelle, Long Lake & Saskatchewan RR
or CNR Bridge
East: Nutana


South: Yorath Island
Maple Grove/Leisureland

Grand Trunk Pacific
or C.N.R. Bridge

South Saskatoon


  1. ^ a b Populace Spring 2006 accessed March 31, 2007
  2. ^ a b c Saskatoon Gen Web Project Narratives of Saskatoon accessed March 30, 2007
  3. ^ Theatre Research in Canada SASKATCHEWAN'S LAST OPERA HOUSE: HANLEY 1912–1982 accessed March 30, 2007
  4. ^ Local History Room Quirky Facts (Saskatoon Public Library)The day a train fell into the river accessed March 30, 2007
  5. ^ Murray, Jean E. Saskatchewan History Vol XII No. 1, Winter 1959, ed. The contest for the University of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Archives Board. p. 1. 
  6. ^ a b Youngberg, Gail A. Atlas of Saskatchewan Millennium Edition, ed. Development of the City of Saskatoon. University of Saskatchewan. p. 283. 
  7. ^ Saskatchewan Vintage Post Cards accessed March 26, 2007
  8. ^ Sarjeant, A. margaret, and William A.S. The Canadian Encyclopedia, ed. Saskatoon – Development. Hurtig Publisher Inc. p. 1643. 
  9. ^ S. Raby, and T. Richards. Atlas of Saskatchewan 1969, ed. Residential Areas in Regina and Saskatoon. University of Saskatchewan. p. 181. 
  10. ^ Saskatoon 100 accessed March 26, 2007
  11. ^ The Sentinel January 2006, This Month in History accessed February 2, 2007
  12. ^ Bernhardt, Darren. Saskatoon Star Phoenix, ed. City Scrambling Over Funding Crunch Forecast. Saskatoon Star Phoenix newspaper Sat February 24, 2007. pp. A1. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Traffic Bridge Closed Immediately Until Further Notice". City of Saskatoon. August 24, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  15. ^ a b Saskatchewan, Canada, Rand McNally 1924 Indexed Pocket Map Tourists' and Shippers' Guide accessed January 19, 2007
  16. ^ Post Offices and Postmasters – ArchiviaNet – Library and Archives Canada accessed January 19, 2007
  17. ^ Brownell School District #904 Saskatchewan One room school house project accessed March 25, 2007
  18. ^ National Archives Archivia Net Post Offices and Postmasters accessed March 25, 2007
  19. ^ A History of Saskatoon To 1914 accessed January 19, 2007
  20. ^ City of Saskatoon The Saskatoon History Quiz
  21. ^ Welcome to accessed March 25, 2007
  22. ^ a b 1941 Waghorn's Guide accessed March 25, 2007
  23. ^ Canadian Maps: January 1925 Waghorn's Guide. Post Offices in Man. Sask. Alta. and West Ontario. accessed January 19, 2007
  24. ^ Stovel's Pocket Maps Showing Provincial Electoral Districts Saskatchewan accessed January 19, 2007
  25. ^ 1905 CNR map accessed March 25, 2007
  26. ^ 1948 Waghorn's Guide accessed March 25, 2007
  27. ^ 1922 New World Atlas and Gazetteer accessed March 25, 2007
  28. ^ Item Display – Post Offices and Postmasters ArchiviaNet – Library and Archives Canada accessed April 1, 2007 – Thomas Waters first post master
  29. ^ a b Sask Gen Web Homestead Records Township, Range, Meridian accessed January 19, 2007
  30. ^ Saskatchewan Gen Web One Room Schoolhouse Project accessed April 1, 2007
  31. ^ City of Saskatoon · Quick Facts accessed January 19, 2007

External links

  • Saskatoon Gen Web Project – Saskatoon Dominion Land Grants Original Homesteaders Townships 36, 37. Ranges 5,6. West of the Third Meridian
  • Populace Spring 2006
  • City of Saskatoon – City Planning
  • City of Saskatoon: Departments · Community Services · City Planning · ZAM Maps
  • Saskatoon interactive growth map
  • The Saskatoon Heritage Society old site
  • The Saskatoon Heritage Society new website
  • Saskatoon Heritage Guide* City of Saskatoon – Departments – Community Services · Development MUNICIPALLY DESIGNATED HERITAGE PROPERTIES
  • Saskatoon Gen Web Project – Narratives of Saskatoon 1882–1912
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