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Historic Perspective

The Battlefords, in the Heart of Canada’s Old Northwest, is a distinctive community, with a very rich history that has created a unique and exciting destination.

The Battlefords is the gateway to Northwest Saskatchewan's land of outdoor adventure. When you look at a map, you will see that in the Battlefords two rivers converge, the Battle River which flows from the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and the mighty North Saskatchewan River which rises in the midst of the Rockies near Jasper, Alberta. Before the advent of white man, the Battle River was known as the "FIGHTING RIVER" which marked the boundary between Blackfoot and Cree Territory.

For thousands of years a strong aboriginal presence has shaped the Battlefords and area.  Notable figures like Chief Poundmaker and Big Bear, advocates of aboriginal rights and negotiators of government treaties, Allen Sapp, world renowned Cree painter, and Gordon Tootoosis, internationally acclaimed actor, are among some that have left an indelible stamp and enduring legacy of aboriginal culture in the Battlefords.  With seven surrounding reserves aboriginal pride is very much alive and prominent in the Battlefords today in a number of forms including the Allen Sapp Gallery, Poundmaker Historical Centre or the Gold Eagle Casino’s annual Sakicawasihk Pow wow. For additional insight into the aboriginal perspective visit the Saskatchewan Indian Culture Centre webpage at www.sicc.sk.ca.

Recorded history reveals that the first fur trading post was established here in 1785, a telegraph line in 1874, a North West Mounted Police headquarters in 1876, the Capital of the North West Territories in 1877, and the first newspaper west of Winnipeg in 1878.

In 1905, North Battleford came into being when the CNR built a railroad on the north side of the North Saskatchewan River. This was the fastest growing centre in the west, incorporated as a village in 1906, a town in 1907 and a city in 1913.

The Battlefords is the crossroads for the Yellowhead Highway Route with four other highways, No. 4, 26, 29 and 40. The Battlefords are diverse communities ranging from professional services to wholesale distribution, manufacturing industries to local businesses. This area extends into the far Northwestern part of the province, west to the Alberta border, south into the very heart of the grain belt and a 60-70 mile radius to the east.

The Battlefords has a long history and many things that fit into the category of "Its True."

  1. The bridge that spans the North Saskatchewan River between Battleford and North Battleford is the longest bridge of its type in Saskatchewan.
  2. The Post Office in the Town of Battleford is one of the five oldest continuously used post offices in Canada.
  3. The Queen’s Hotel is the oldest hotel in the province.
  4. The Court House in Battleford is believed to be the oldest existing court house in Saskatchewan. It is still used today.
  5. World renowned Cree artist, Allen Sapp, makes his residence in the City of North Battleford which is also home to the Allen Sapp Gallery.

The Battlefords are a four season destination. History comes alive through Fort Battleford National Historic Site and the Western Development Museum. Cultural enthusiasts show their stuff in the Saskatchewan Handcraft Festival, Kinsmen Indoor Rodeo, Northwest Territorial Days, and Those Were The Days. For those who love the outdoors, the Battlefords has golf courses, swimming pools, lakes, tennis courts, plus other outdoor activities in the summer and winter.

The Battlefords offer a blend of sophistication, service, and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere to ensure the enjoyment of your entire visit. The community boasts an abundance of meeting facilities, exciting attractions, and a variety of restaurants and shops.Friendly attentive service, unobtrusive efficiency, and a little extra courtesy and consideration are the hallmarks of genuine prairie hospitality.

A wise man once said that we can only understand our future by understanding our history. The Battlefords' history has had more news written about it than most communities in Western Canada. This history has not been lost but has been carefully preserved to assure a firm foundation for its future. The Battlefords has truly become a "Destination Point" for business and tourism.


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