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Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw
City of Moose Jaw
City Hall
City Hall
Nickname(s): "The Jaw", "Band City", "Little Chicago"[1][2][3]
Moose Jaw is located in Saskatchewan
Moose Jaw
Location of Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan
Country Canada
Province Saskatchewan
 • City Mayor Deb Higgins
 • Governing body Moose Jaw City Council
 • MP Tom Lukiwski (Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, CPC)
 • MLA Greg Lawrence (Moose Jaw Wakamow, SKP)
Warren Michelson (Moose Jaw North, SKP)
 • Total 46.82 km2 (18.08 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 33,274
 • Density 710.7/km2 (1,841/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Moose Javian
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
Postal code span S6H to S6K
Area code(s) 306

Moose Jaw (Assiniboine: tácehubana)[4] is a city in south-central Saskatchewan, Canada, on the Moose Jaw River. It is situated on the Trans-Canada Highway, 77 km (48 mi) west of Regina. Residents of Moose Jaw are known as Moose Javians. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Moose Jaw No. 161.

Moose Jaw is an industrial centre and important railway junction for the area's agricultural produce. It is known for its giant historical murals on the exterior walls of buildings in its business district . CFB Moose Jaw is a NATO flight training school, and is home to the Snowbirds, Canada's military aerobatic air show flight demonstration team. Moose Jaw also has a casino and geothermal spa.


  • History 1
    • CFB Moose Jaw 1.1
  • Royal presence 2
  • Climate 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Economy 5
  • Arts and culture 6
    • Museums 6.1
  • Attractions 7
    • Tunnels of Moose Jaw 7.1
  • Sports and recreation 8
  • Education 9
  • Infrastructure 10
    • Transportation 10.1
    • Health care 10.2
    • Security 10.3
  • Media 11
  • Notable residents 12
  • In popular culture 13
  • See also 14
  • References 15
  • Further reading 16
  • External links 17


Cree and Assiniboine people used the Moose Jaw area as a winter encampment. The Missouri Coteau sheltered the valley and gave it warm breezes. The narrow river crossing and abundance of water and game made it a good location for settlement. Traditional native fur traders and Métis buffalo hunters created the first permanent settlement at a place called "the turn", at present-day Kingways Park.

The intersection of the Moose Jaw River and Thunder Creek was chosen and registered in 1881 as a site for a division point for the Canadian Pacific Railway, whose construction was significant in Confederation of Canada. The water supply there was significant for steam locomotives. Settlement began there in 1882 and the city was incorporated in 1903.[5] The railways played an important role in the early development of Moose Jaw, with the city having both a Canadian Pacific Railway Station and a Canadian National Railway Station. A dam was built on the river in 1883 to create a year-round water supply.

Marked on a map as Moose Jaw Bone Creek in an 1857 survey by surveyor John Palliser,[6] two theories exist as to how the city got its name. The first is it comes from the Plains Cree name moscâstani-sîpiy meaning "a warm place by the river", indicative of the protection from the weather the Coteau range provides to the river valley containing the city[7] and also the Plains Cree word moose gaw, meaning warm breezes. The other is on the map of the city, the Moose Jaw River is shaped like a moose's jaw.

CFB Moose Jaw

The area surrounding Moose Jaw has a high number of cloudless days, making it a good site for training pilots. The Royal Canadian Air Force under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan established RCAF Station Moose Jaw in 1940. Following the war, the RCAF remained in the community and used the facility for training pilots through the Cold War. The facility changed its name to CFB Moose Jaw in 1968 and it is currently Canada's primary military flight training centre and the home of 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron (aka the "Snowbirds").

CFB Moose Jaw's primary lodger unit is "15 Wing". In the Canadian Forces Air Command, the lodger unit is frequently referred to as 15 Wing Moose Jaw. The base usually holds an Armed Forces Day each year.

Royal presence

Moose Jaw has had many members of the Canadian Royal Family visit the city. Queen Elizabeth (later known as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) visited during the Royal tour in 1939. Queen Elizabeth II first visited in 1959, and has come to the city a few times since.

The Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward) became Colonel-in-Chief of the Saskatchewan Dragoons of Moose Jaw on visiting Saskatchewan in 2003, when he congratulated the regiment on its "contribution to Canada's proud tradition of citizen-soldiers in the community." Involved in peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, the Golan Heights, Bosnia and Croatia, the regiment has also provided aid during floods and forest fires in the prairies. The Prince returned to visit his regiment in 2006.

The Earl of Wessex also inaugurated the Queen's Jubilee Rose Garden in Moose Jaw on his visit in 2003. Other royal connections to the city include King George School and Prince Arthur Community School, both named for members of the royal family. Before it shut down and became the separate Cornerstone Christian School, the South Hill school was formerly named King Edward Elementary School.


Moose Jaw's climate is transitional between semiarid and humid continental (Köppen BSk and Dfb, respectively) Moose Jaw's winters are long, cold and dry, while its summers are short, but very warm and relatively wet. The coldest month is January, with a mean temperature of -12.3 °C, while the warmest is July, with a mean temperature of 19.3 °C. The driest month is February, in which an average of 11.1 mm of precipitation falls, while the wettest month is July, which brings an average of 63 mm. Annual average precipitation is 365 mm.


Moose Jaw's population grew to 32,132 according to the 2006 census, which showed virtually no increase from 2001.[9]

Population by ethnic origin, 2011
Ethnic group[13] !! Population !! Percent
European 26,100 80.7%
Other North American 9,200 28.4%
Asian 1,150 3.6%
Métis 905 2.8%
First Nations 825 2.6%
African 420 1.3%
Latin, Central and South American 140 0.4%
Oceania 105 0.3%
Caribbean 90 0.3%
Total respondent population 32345 100%


Hammond Building (1912)
Mac the Moose, a fiberglass moose statue in Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw is a city of 33,000 at the intersection of the Trans Canada Highway and Highway 2.[14] A Snowbird aerobatic jet and Mac the Moose are large roadside attractions of Moose Jaw on the #1 highway at the tourist info center.[15] Moose Jaw Trolley Company (1912) is still offering trolley tours of Moose Jaw. Temple Garden's Mineral Spa,[16] Tunnels of Moose Jaw,[17] and History of Transportation Western Development Museum.[18] are major sites of interest of this city.[19] The juncture of Moose Jaw and Thunder Creek produced the best source of water for steam engines, and Moose Jaw became the CPR divisional point.[20] Large capacity concrete grain terminals are replacing the smaller grain elevators which were numerous along the highway, sentinels of most communities along the route. Improved technology for harvest, transport and road construction have made the large inland terminals more viable economically.[21] The rural governing body around Moose Jaw is Moose Jaw No. 161 which serves 1,228 residents (2006 census) which includes the Moose Jaw, Canadian Forces Base. Meat-processing plants, salt, potash, urea fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia and ethanol producers abound in this area with easy transport access to the Trans–Canada Highway.[14][22]

The Town 'N' Country Mall is the only indoor shopping centre located in Moose Jaw.

Many retailers and grocery stores operate in Moose Jaw. These include Federated Co-operatives, Safeway Inc., Giant Tiger, Canadian Tire, Real Canadian Superstore, Walmart Canada, Staples (Canada), The Brick, MKarr's Furniture, Peavey Mart, Shoppers Drug Mart, PartSource, Mark's Work Warehouse, Liquidation World, Your Dollar Store With More, Dollar Giant, Home Hardware, Castle Building Centres Group and Westrum Lumber. The fourth Army & Navy Stores store in Canada operated on Main Street from 1933 to 2000. Beaver Lumber had a location on High Street until the company was bought by Home Hardware and the store was converted to Castle Building Centre.

In 1917, a group of local residents banded together and purchased enough automobile parts to build 25 cars. These were to be manufactured under the name Moose Jaw Standard. Each member of the group was able to receive a car, but no further buyers were found, and production did not continue.[23]

Arts and culture

Avro Anson bomber trainer in the SWDM museum


Moose Jaw is home to one of four Saskatchewan Western Development Museums. The Moose Jaw SWDM museum specializes in the history of transportation and has a Snowbirds gallery.[24]

The Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum is located south of Moose Jaw on Sk Hwy 2. The car club at Moose Jaw agreed to the restoration of Tom Sukanen's ship at their museum site. Tom Sukanen was a Finnish homesteader who settled near Birsay and hoped to travel home again on his ship he assembled near the South Saskatchewan River. The Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum features a typical village replete with pioneer artifacts and tractors, cars and trucks restored by the Moose Jaw car club, and is run by volunteers.[25]


The mineral spa in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Tourist attractions include the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, The Moose Jaw Trolley, the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort, Captain Jacks River Boat Tour, The Western Development Museum, Casino Moose Jaw and the Murals of Moose Jaw. Every July the Saskatchewan Festival of Words takes place over a four-day period showcasing top Canadian writers in a wide variety of genres. The Snowbirds flight demonstration team is based at CFB Moose Jaw, south of Moose Jaw in Bushell Park, where the now defunct airshow was performed from every summer.

There are many parks in Moose Jaw. Crescent Park is located downtown and features a creek, picnic tables, library, art museum, playground, outdoor swimming pool, water park, gymnasium, tennis court, lawn bowling field and an amphitheatre. Casino Moose Jaw and Temple Gardens Mineral Spa are located across Fairford St. E. and 1st Ave. NE. from Crescent Park. "Wakamow Park" follows the Moose Jaw River and features both natural and maintained areas. There are many trails throughout the park for hiking and cycling as well as picnic tables, barbecues, a burger restaurant and two playgrounds. There is also an RV park, known as River Park Campground, which was founded in 1927 and is the longest running campground in North America. Canoe and kayak rentals are available across the road from the campground.

Old Wives Lake, a saline lake is located 30 km southwest of the city on Highway 363. Buffalo Pound Lake a eutrophic prairie lake is located 28 km north on Highway 2 and is the city's water supply. Buffalo Pound Provincial Park is on the south shore and can be accessed by Highway 202 and Highway 301.

Tunnels of Moose Jaw

A network of underground tunnels connecting buildings in downtown Moose Jaw was constructed beginning around 1908. They were originally built as an underground steam system that was abandoned. The tunnels were used to hide Chinese railway workers escaping persecution during the Yellow Peril or unable to pay the government-imposed head tax. Entire families lived in the tunnels and worked at above-ground businesses in exchange for food and supplies. The tunnels became a hub of renewed activity in the 1920s for rum-running during Prohibition in the United States. They were reported to have warehoused illegal alcohol that was then shipped to the U.S. via the Soo Line Railroad. The tunnels were also used for gambling and prostitution, all without interference from the corrupt police chief.[26] There has long been anecdotal evidence that American mobster Al Capone had visited Moose Jaw or at least had interests in the bootlegging operations. Although no written or photographic proof exists of Capone's presence, several firsthand accounts from people in Moose Jaw who claim to have met him have been documented.[27] Capone's grandniece also confirmed that he had been in Moose Jaw prior to his 1931 conviction for tax evasion.[28] In the 21st century, the city capitalized on this notoriety to restore the tunnel network into the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, a tourist attraction that opened in June 2000.[29]

Sports and recreation

Like most Canadian cities, hockey has played a large part of Moose Jaw's sporting culture, yet baseball has also been an important part of Moose Jaw since its first days as the city won territorial championships in 1895. Most recently, the 2004 Junior All-Star team (age 13/14) won the Canadian Championship and became the first team from Saskatchewan to win a game at the Little League World Series.

Notable sports teams of Moose Jaw include:

Defunct sports teams


Local institutions include 5 high schools and 15 elementary schools. The schools are in the Prairie South School Division and the Holy Trinity Catholic Schools.

École Ducharme offers preschool to grade 12 and is the only Francophone school in Moose Jaw. École fransaskoise de Moose Jaw offers French Immersion from preschool to grade 9.

Moose Jaw is also home to the Moose Jaw Campus of the Saskatchewan Polytechnic.



CT-114 Tutor jet trainer and the old Moose Jaw control tower in the spring of 1982

Moose Jaw Municipal Airport is located 7 nautical miles (13 km; 8.1 mi) east northeast of Moose Jaw. CFB Moose Jaw's airfield is also used by civilian aircraft, with civilian operations at the base referring to the facility as Moose Jaw/Air Vice Marshal C.M. McEwen Airport.

Moose Jaw Transit provides local bus service.

Health care

Moose Jaw Union Hospital, part of the Five Hills Health Region, is the main health care provider for the city.


The Moose Jaw Fire Department is a fifty-seven member fire brigade which provides fire suppression to the city and CFB Moose Jaw. The Moose Jaw Police Service provide policing for the city and hold both municipal and provincial jurisdiction, and is in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.




Television The only television station local to Moose Jaw is CKMJ-TV channel 7, an analogue repeater of CTV station CKCK-DT Regina. Moose Jaw was previously served by CHAB-TV, a television station that existed from 1959 to 1969.

Notable residents

In popular culture

In the fictional Harry Potter universe, Moose Jaw is the hometown of the professional Quidditch team the Moose Jaw Meteorites, which are considered one of the most accomplished Quidditch teams in the world. However, in the 1970s they were threatened with disbandment due to trailing fiery sparks from the end of their brooms during victory flights. Today, their games are considered a popular wizard tourist attraction.

In the 1977 movie Slap Shot, Guido Tenesi's character Billy Charlebois comes from Moose Jaw.

In the 1980 movie Atlantic City, Susan Sarandon's character Sally says her late husband's family is "in Moose Jaw, near Medicine Hat."[56]

See also


  1. ^ "Saskatchewan slang". (Postmedia Network Inc.). November 7, 2007. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ [2] From the number of marching bands in Moose Jaw.
  3. ^ Trans Canada Highway
  4. ^ "AISRI Dictionary Database Search--prototype version. Assiniboine.". Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  5. ^ "Early History". City of Moose Jaw. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  6. ^ Larsen, John; Maurice Richard Libby (2001). Moose Jaw: people, places, history. Coteau Books. p. 10.  
  7. ^ "Our Early History". Retrieved 18 January 2010.  Moose Jaw City Gov't website
  8. ^ "Moose Jaw A". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  9. ^ Saskatoon Star Phoenix (ed.). Saskatoon sees 2.8% hike; Regina rises by 0.6%. Saskatoon Star Phoenix newspaper Wednesday 14 March 2007. pp. B1. 
  10. ^ "2011 Community Profiles".  
  11. ^ "2006 Community Profiles".  
  12. ^ "2001 Community Profiles".  
  13. ^ "NHS Profile, Moose Jaw, CY, Saskatchewan, 2011 (The sum of the ancestries in this table is greater than the total population estimate because a person may report more than one ancestry (ethnic origin) in the National Household Survey.)". 2011. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  14. ^ a b "2006 Community Profiles". Statistics Canada. Government of Canada. 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2007. 
  15. ^ Solonyka, Ed (1998–2006). "Large Roadside Attractions". Retrieved 29 December 2007. 
  16. ^ "Temple Gardens Mineral Spa". Retrieved 15 April 2008. 
  17. ^ "Tunnels of Moose Jaw Home Page". Retrieved 15 April 2008. 
  18. ^ "Moose Jaw WDM". Retrieved 15 April 2008. 
  19. ^ Government of Saskatchewan. "Sask Biz Moose Jaw". Retrieved 12 August 2007. 
  20. ^ Government of Saskatchewan. "Sask Biz Moose Jaw (No.161)". Retrieved 12 August 2007. 
  21. ^ "Inland Container Terminal Analysis, Final Report - December 12, 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 15 April 2008. 
  22. ^ Government of Saskatchewan. "Sask Biz Pense No. 16". Retrieved 12 August 2007. 
  23. ^ David Burgess Wise, The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Automobiles
  24. ^ "Moose Jaw Western Development Museum". Retrieved 9 September 2009. 
  25. ^ "Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum". Retrieved 9 September 2009. 
  26. ^ Beuckert, Dennis (2000-01-12). "Moose Jaw tunnels reveal dark tales of Canada's past".  
  27. ^ Yanko, Dave. "Engaging History". Virtual Saskatchewan. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  28. ^ Cowan, Pamela (2013-08-19). "Finding Al Capone's Sask. connection".  
  29. ^ "Attraction History". Tunnels of Moose Jaw. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  30. ^ Rock Eyez: Randy Black Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  31. ^ Legends of Hockey: Mike Blaisdell Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  32. ^ Canadian Parliament: Ray Boughen Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  33. ^ NDP Caucus: Lorne Calvert Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  34. ^ Reggie Cleveland Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  35. ^ Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan: Bill Davies Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  36. ^ Phyllis Dewar Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  37. ^ Legends of Hockey: Ken Doraty Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  38. ^ Legends of Hockey: Emile Francis Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  39. ^ Lisa Franks Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  40. ^ Legends of Hockey: Clark Gillies Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  41. ^ Act Up In Saskatchewan: John Kern Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  42. ^ Canadian Encyclopedia: Joy Kogawa Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  43. ^ IMDB: Art Linkletter Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  44. ^ Legends of Hockey: Reed Low Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  45. ^ University of Calgary: Bud McCaig Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  46. ^ Swimming Canada: Mike Mintenko Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  47. ^ Philadelphia Wings: David Mitchell Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  48. ^ Ken Mitchell
  49. ^ Canadian Encyclopedia: Ken Mitchell Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  50. ^ Internet Hockey Database: Scott Munroe Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  51. ^ IMDB Fergie Olver Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  52. ^ Mopupduty: Toronto Blue Jays Broadcasters Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  53. ^ Boxrec: Jack Reddick Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  54. ^ Harper Collins: Arthur Slade Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  55. ^ Legends of Hockey: Doug Smail Retrieved on 6 March 2009
  56. ^ "Atlantic City (1980)". IMDb. 

Further reading

  • Earl of Wessex Visits Saskatchewan Regiment (2003)
  • Racist and other organized criminal organizations in Moose Jaw

External links

  • Official website

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