|The original Temperance Colony Survey, July 1883
|(Courtesy University of Saskatchewan Libraries)
Saskatoons founders dreamed of creating a temperance colony in
the great North-West. John A. Macdonalds government, in a hurry
to develop the country, was offering large locks of land to colonization
companies. Many in Torontos Methodist community saw this as a golden
opportunity to escape the evils of the liquor traffic. They formed the
Temperance Colonization Society (TCS) in 1881 and signed up 3,100 would-be
colonists for more than two million acres. By June 1882 John Lake, a Methodist
minister turned entrepreneur, was looking for a colony site on the banks
of the South Saskatchewan River.
The government grant to the TCS was actually 313,000 acres. It ran from
Clarks Crossing (now Clarkboro) on the South Saskatchewan, about
20 km downstream from todays Saskatoon, to the Moose Woods Reserve,
about 45 km upstream. On the advice of Moose Woods Chief White Cap, Lake
chose a place in the middle of the TCS grant, called Minnetonka, where
a ferry could cross the river. In 1883 the first streets of Saskatoon
were surveyed on the east bank of the river, just above Minnetonka. In
spite of this hopeful start, Saskatoon grew slowly. The river was too
shallow and too full of shifting sandbars for easy navigation. As well,
fear of native hostility caused by reports of the North-West Rebellion
in 1885 discouraged settlement.
|John N. Lake, first commissioner of the Temperance
Colonization Society. Photo about 1925.
|(Courtesy of Saskatoon Public Library - Local
In 1890 the QuAppelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railway Company
bridged the river at Saskatoon and built a line to Prince Albert. A new
settlement soon developed on the west side of the river around the railway
station. In 1901 when this tiny settlement incorporated as a village,
it kept the name of Saskatoon. The name of the original settlement on
the east side changed to Nutana. A third settlement, Riversdale, developed
west of the railway tracks. In 1906 with the promise of a traffic bridge
and other civic improvements, the three settlements amalgamated to form
a city. The trickle of immigrants was becoming a flood and Saskatoon became
the fastest growing city in Canada.
Saskatoon became the central city of central Saskatchewan because a small
group of pioneer businessmen tirelessly lobbied to make sure the railways
came to their town. By 1908 three railway bridges and a traffic bridge
crossed the South Saskatchewan and Saskatoon was the hub of a transportation
network. Today five of the citys seven bridges are motor vehicle
bridges and only two carry rail traffic. But Saskatoon remains the place
where many trails cross.
All images are copyrighted and may not be copied, duplicated,
or downloaded for any purpose without the written permission of the respective
- Ruth and everyone at the Local History Room, Saskatoon
Public Library, for all of their hard work in finding the majority
of these images
- Glen and everyone at the Meewasin
Valley Authority for donating the text for these pages.
- Jeff and everyone at Gibson's Photo for donating pictures for this
These pages are based on the "Walking Tour" pamphlets made
by the Meewasin Valley Authority. You can find these guides at the office
in Saskatoon to experience the tour "live".
Click on the logo to visit their site.
Also check out these other sites for more on the history of Saskatoon:
Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee
Saskatoon Heritage Society