Trivia on Saskatchewan

* Regina is in the Guinness Book Of Records.. It has the longest bridge (Albert Street Bridge) over the shortest body of water (Wascana Lake).

* The railway track from Regina to Stoughton used to be the longest stretch of perfectly straight track in the world, at 85 miles.
* Battleford was the capital of the Northwest Territories before Saskatchewan became a province. But lost out to Regina when the province was formed. The original government House looked over the 

former battle grounds of the rebellion until it burned to the ground a few years ago.

* The very first Dairy Queen was started in Melville in 1953. The original owner was Donald M. Patrick.

* In Saskatchewan there are over 100,000 lakes, rivers, and bogs. The Province has three major river systems all of which empty into Hudson Bay; the Assiniboine, the North & South Saskatchewan and the Churchill. 

*The Frenchman River, sourced in the Cypress Hills, empties into The Gulf of Mexico. 
*The South west corner of the province was a part of the Louisiana Purchase.
* Over one-half of the province, or approximately 3,450,000 square km, is covered by forests. Of the total forest area, 2,165,000 square km are classified as commercially productive forest land and 

contain both hardwood and softwood species.

* Famed theorist/physicist Albert Einstein played goal for the
Canwood (SK) Canucks one winter while sojourning north to Canada to ‘find peace and silence’ for his work on the Theory of Relativity. He had played hockey in his younger years in Germany.

* Dr. Ballard of dog food fame was a veterinarian in Wolsely
which, incidentally, was also the home of the very first Beaver Lumber.

* Dad’s Cookies were once made at the former roller skating rink in White City.

* Brett Hull lived in a little log house a few miles out of Whitewood.

* Gordie Howe was born near Saskatoon.

* Moose Jaw – The former Joyner department store was the western distributor of Levis jeans. The stock would sometimes exceed one million dollars. It had been reopened as a Gift/Craft/Souvenir store. Tragically, this store and several nearby historical buildings recently burned down. This store also owned the largest Cash Cable Car system (over 1000 feet in length) that was still operational. The only other one in working order is in Europe or China and is between 600 and 700 feet.. Disney had offered the
Joyner family $600,000 for the system so they could put it into their Euro-Disney complex, but the family honoured the wishes of the original store owner that the system remain in Moose Jaw.

* In the 20’s Moose Jaw’s (AKA ‘Little Chicago’) River Street was the home of gambling, prostitutes and the bootleg center of booze running into the States. The tunnels under the streets there connected the various businesses and were used by various gangsters, and rumour has it, including Al Capone. The tunnels were believed to have been dug years earlier by Chinese immigrants as a way to escape. (Canada had Chinese concentration camps although no one ever brags about that!)

* W.O. Mitchell, who wrote Who Has Seen the Wind, and Jake and the Kid (both of which are regularly read in classrooms across Canada), grew up in Weyburn. In 1976 the town of Arcola was the site of the filming of Who Has Seen the Wind

* Estevan is the sunshine capital of Canada.

* Saskatchewan has the largest kimberlite field, (diamond-bearing rock) in the world, located near Prince Albert, where DeBeers & other companies are working now.

* Wilkie is home to the world’s largest Grasshopper – which
everyone hates because it’s a farming community. Apparently you can fit eight people and three cases of beer comfortably on his back.

* A small town called Saltcoats, (16 miles S/E of Yorkton PTH 16) has been titled the salamander capital of Canada .. The town is nestled on the side of Anderson Lake which is where thousands and thousands (varies from year to year) of salamanders also call home. On rainy nights they can be seen making their trek from the water to land. It is a crazy sight to see so many lizards running across the roads.. I will not tell you what it sounds like as the cars drive by.
* Every tree growing in Regina was planted or reseeded by the trees planted.
* Manitou Lake is not in fact the 3rd ‘saltiest’ body of water –
The others are The Dead Sea and The Great Salt Lake in Utah. There are many bodies of water in Saskatchewan that are saltier, but none have the mineral content of Manitou. No one knows for sure where Manitou gets the minerals from. In fact, in 1946, there was a team of doctors commissioned by the Province to do a medical study on Manitou (‘the lake of the healing waters’). The doctors didn’t complete their study however, because at the time, they felt the lake may dry up.
* Danceland – at Lake Manitou near Watrous – world’s only horse hair padded dance floor.* John Diefenbaker, former Prime Minister, lived in Wakaw and Prince Albert. Interestingly, Sir Wilfred Laurier, Mackenzie King and John Diefenbaker were all elected to the House of Commons from the Prince Albert constituency. Laurier had actually run in two seats–he ran in Prince Albert as it was a ‘safe’ Liberal seat, but gave that seat up and represented his seat won in Quebec; King represented Prince Albert from 1925 to 1944 (not a well known fact). Dief’s story is well known. This marvellous bit of trivia
is added by Rod Thomson in PA—only because it was conspicuous by its absence.


* Tom Sukanen, a Finnish immigrant, built an ocean-going boat near Macrorie during the middle of the dust-bowl years. He was 15 miles from the South Saskatchewan River. He intended to take a load of wheat back to Finland. He hand made every part, including boiler and steam engine. He died before completion. The assembled ship can now been seen on Highway 2 south of Moose Jaw.

* Wynyard is the chicken capital of Canada because they export the highest amount of chicken per capita. Every summer during the carnival days they host the ‘chicken chariot race’ where chickens are hooked up to a homemade chariot and they are raced down lanes to see which one is the fastest.

Now you know!


Excerpt from Brandon Sun,
“Sound Off” column, July 2018
In regards to the railway vehicle and pedestrian collisions. It reminded me of
some wisdom my uncle a railway Engineer (Hogger) told me years ago. First,
“it’s OK to race a train to a crossing as long as you win or lose, but don’t end
in a tie.”……Also, “it takes the average train five minutes to go through a
crossing whether you’re on it or not.”….Anonymous.

What happened October 21, 1880

October 21, 1880, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company sign a contract
For the construction of a cross-Canada railway. The line would become completed to the West Coast with the
Ceremony of the Last Spike on November 7, 1885.

For all of us who still love Railroads…. remembering and admiring in amazement..



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About the Pocket Watch, a very interesting story

f you were in the market for a watch in 1880, would you know where to get one? You would go to a store, right? Well, of course you could do that, but if you wanted one that was cheaper and a bit better than most of the store watches, you went to the train station!
Sound a bit funny? Well, for about 500 towns across the northern United States , that’s where the best watches were found.

Why were the best watches found at the train station? The railroad company wasn’t selling the watches, not at all. The telegraph operator was. Most of the time the telegraph operator was located in the railroad station because the telegraph lines followed the railroad tracks from town to town. It was usually the shortest distance and the right-of-way had already been secured for the rail line.

Most of the station agents were also skilled telegraph operators and it was the primary way they communicated with the railroad. They would know when trains left the previous station and when they were due at their next station. And it was the telegraph operator who had the watches. As a matter of fact, they sold more of them than almost all the stores combined for a period of about 9 years.
This was all arranged by “Richard”, who was a telegraph operator himself. He was on duty in the North Redwood, Minnesota train station one day when a load of watches arrived from the East. It was a huge crate of pocket watches. No one ever came to claim them. So Richard sent a telegram to the manufacturer and asked them what they wanted to do with the watches. The manufacturer didn’t want to pay the freight back, so they wired Richard to see if he could sell them. So Richard did. He sent a wire to every agent in the system asking them if they wanted a cheap, but good, pocket watch. He sold the entire case in less than two days and at a handsome profit. That started it all.
He ordered more watches from the watch company and encouraged the telegraph operators to set up a display case in the station offering high quality watches for a cheap price to all the travelers. It worked! It didn’t take long for the word to spread and, before long, people other than travelers came to the train station to buy watches. Richard became so busy that he had to hire a professional watchmaker to help him with the orders. That was “Alvah”.  And the rest is history as they say. The business took off and soon expanded to many other lines of dry goods. Richard and Alvah left the train station and moved their company to Chicago — and it’s still there..

YES, IT’S A LITTLE KNOWN FACT that for a while in the 1880’s, the biggest watch retailer in the country was at the train station. It all started with a telegraph operator:
Richard Sears and partner Alvah Roebuck!
Bet You Didn’t Know That!
OK, maybe you did;  I didn’t!
Now that’s History.