Yorkton's Early Story

Yearly Summary

 Pre-Settlement

 1882-1889

 1890-1899

 1900-1909

 1910-1919

 1920-1929

 1930-1939

 1940-1949

 1950-1959

 1960-1969

 1970-1979

 1980-1989

 1990-1999

 2000-2009

 2010-Present

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Yorkton's 125th Anniversary

Gallagher Centre Renovations

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Water Plant Expansion

Water Pollution Control Plants

2010 State of Emergency

History and Folklore Summary
1900 - 1909

1900

- Yorkton was officially incorporated as a TOWN, with a population of 600.  It was then larger than Saskatoon, which did not obtain "Town" status until 1903.

- The "Travellers’ Aid Society "was organized under the auspices of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. These volunteers provided assistance to travelling women and children arriving in the town.

- On April 13th, a meeting was held at Meredith Hall to discuss cricket, baseball and football.

- On June 8th, Town Council enacted its very first by-law which was for the appointment of a Liquor License Inspector. (Source: Copy of Bylaw No. 1 --Jackson Collection)

1901

- By Law # 28 was enacted exempting from taxation Levi Beck’s Flour Mill enterprise for one year. It was signed by W. Hopkins, Mayor and R. H. Lock, Secretary-Treasurer.

- The Queen Victoria Cottage Hospital was erected at a construction cost of $5,380.00, $100.00 for the land and furnishings: $3,131.11.

- The record of the first organized hockey was January 10th with a game played by two Senior Teams, the "Reds" and the "Blues."

- The population of Yorkton was 1,486.

1902

- THE YORKTON ENTERPRISE of July 18th reports that the 17th Annual Exhibition was a successful one. Native people from the Little Bone Reserve and other Reserves in the region arrived early to camp, and soon the town took on the appearance of an old frontier post. They participated in pony races and pow-wows.

- Levi Beck erected a mansion on Smith Street and 2nd Avenue North --site of present day fire hall.

- The Yorkton Hotel was built this year. Over the 103 years of its existence, the Yorkton Hotel had a number of successful owners/managers. It was only during Prohibition in Saskatchewan (1915-1923), when bars were closed that the Yorkton Hotel fell in the hands of creditors. Famous owners were Harry and Sam Bronfman of Montreal from July 18, 1927 to November 28, 1945, when Frank Brunner purchased it. The Bronfmans were never the operators of the Hotel, but had a lease agreement for both the Yorkton and the Balmoral Hotel with their friend, Frank Brunner. The hotel has been closed since 2001. (Written Feb. 9, 2005.)

1903

- Bylaw #40 (now obsolete) stated:" It shall be the duty of the Town Constable, at least once in every year, to enter the premises of any baker or vendor of bread, within the said town and weigh the bread found therein."

- The Scandinavian Canadian Land Company began operation in Yorkton under the management of John D. Lageson, a graduate of Agriculture from Minnesota. The Company established an office in Canora as well, and helped settlement of mostly Scandinavians in Sturgis, Preeceville, Ketchen and North Prairie districts.

- Citizens of Yorkton were able to talk to each other via telephone for the first time.

- A faction of the Doukhobor sect marched from their communities in the Good Sprit Lake area to stage a nude parade near Yorkton to protest homestead policies.

1904

- "A windmill was erected on Front Street in Yorkton to pump water from a hand dug shallow well."

- "It was early in the year that agitation began for a public library, skating rink, curling rink and electric light plant for Yorkton." ( THE YORKTON ENTERPRISE –Jan. 15, 1914.)

- January 21st, The Yorkton Enterprise reported that a telephone was to be installed in the office of the Town Clerk, Robert Lock.

- In January, the Yorkton Public School was closed for 3 weeks so it could be disinfected. There had been cases of scarlet fever and dypheria.

- On March 22, Council decided that the night constable should be supplied with a belt and revolver, also a baton and handcuffs.  Cost of the revolver and baton was $9.00.

- In an article entitled "Armed to the Teeth" in the March 31 issue of THE YORKTON ENTERPRISE we learn that assistant Constable Fox, who patrols the streets of Yorkton while the citizens sleep, carries a gun in the shape of a 32-calibre revolver which the Town Council purchased for him. He will also be supplied with a policeman's baton and a pair of darbies (handcuffs.)

- For more than a week in February, Madame Neidle, the palmist was busy reading the hands of Yorktonites at her Balmoral Hotel apartments.

- Levi Beck, Yorkton's "Merchant Prince" sold a section of land adjoining Yorkton to Messrs. Robert Rousay, Peter Rousay and Robert Sinclair for the price of $18,400.00. (April 17 issue of THE YORKTON ENTERPRISE.)

- Detachments of the Royal North West Mounted Police were circulating a warning to newly arrived American settlers that the practice of carrying revolvers was prohibited in Canada. (THE YORKTON ENTERPRISE May 19, 1904.)

- The Roman Catholic Redemptorist Fathers broke the first sod on Third Avenue North to erect a monastery, the first in the North West. The work will be under supervision of Rev. Father Gerard. (THE YORKTON ENTERPRISE July 7th, 1904.)

1905

- L.J.C. Bull, was manager of the Vermillion, Assiniboia & Saskatchewan Land Co., with headquarters at Yorkton. The land held by the company was north of Yorkton, in the Canora area. In the winter of this year, they had disposed of 9,000 acres--almost all homesteads in the district had been taken largely by Americans, many who were ex-Canadians. (The Yorkton Enterprise January 4, 1905.)

- In January, the Balmoral Hotel had installed an acetylene light-making machine--the building then illuminated by gas instead of coal oil.

- THE SASKATCHEWAN ACT AND THE ALBERTA ACT both came into force on the first day of September, 1905. Alberta's inaugural ceremonies took place on September 1st, 1905 in Edmonton. Saskatchewan's inaugural celebrations took place in Regina on Monday, September 4, 1905. No special celebrations took place in Yorkton on either of those dates.

- A resolution was passed by Council to send a telegram to the Superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Winnipeg, stating that "Yorkton is blocked with grain elevators all full."

- On August 4th this year, Abe Bronfman and Harry Bronfman became owners of the Balmoral Hotel.

- On Tuesday, September 5th Mr. and Mrs. James L. Magrath were the host and hostess at a garden party attended by about 50 guests. "Time was spent in dancing, promenading and playing cards. A sumptuous repast was held at 11:30 and guests dispersed at 1:00 A.M." (The Yorkton Enterprise Wednesday Sept. 6th, 1905.)

1906

- The new town hall was opened without fanfare on January 9th with the second Council meeting of the year.

- Thomas Veitch Simpson, veterinarian travelled to Chicago, and returned with a "Jolsman"—Yorkton’s first automobile.

- About this time, Jewish settlers of the Yorkton area founded the congregation, Shaarey Shomayim, and made plans to erect a Synagogue.

- The Horticultural Society made its debut with an exhibition in the town hall on September 7th.

- An addition was made to the Town Hall which served as a fire hall, and housed two fire trucks, offices and repair rooms on the main floor and quarters for the firemen on the second floor. A volunteer fireman and barrister by profession, Harold Brown started living in the quarters in 1924 and was still there in 1961. (Article in THE YORKTON ENTERPRISE by Ruth Shaw dated June 9, 1961.)

1907

- In the YORKTON ENTERPRISE VOL.11 NO.5 OF JANUARY 31ST: "Doukhobours were warned by means of a circular printed in both Russian and English by the Dominion Government, that they can hold land only by obeying regulations and becoming British subjects. They can occupy and cultivate their lands individually as other citizens do. It assured them of protection of religious beliefs. Warned them that entries on lands not properly held will be cancelled, but the Doukhobours will be given an opportunity to make re-entries so as to hold lands properly."

- The land abandoned by the Doukhobors was opened for homesteading by the Dominion Government, causing the largest land rush in the region.

- Yorkton was established as a judicial district exercising the powers of the Court of Queen’s Bench.

- Prairie Schooners from Nebraska were photographed on Broadway Street in front of Collacott's Hardware store. Settlers were looking for land in the region. At time of settlement, a study of the differences in farming between some north-central states such as Nebraska and the Canadian West had shown that from the middle of June to the middle of July there were over 2 hours more daylight in every 24 hours than in Nebraska. The longer period of sunshine was one reason why Western Canadian wheat grew to such perfection.

- Two brick yards were in operation; one by Carl T. Erichsen and the other by the Doukhobor Brickyard Society.

1908

- The Post Office building was erected at 29 Third Avenue North. It also housed the Lands and Customs Office, and the upper story provided a residence for the R. N. W. M. Police.

- The Fire Brigade consisted of a chemical truck, a fire engine, two hose reels, and the ladder truck; all horse-drawn and maned by volunteers.

- Harry Bronfman became sole owner of the Balmoral Hotel on June 8th.

- The Ladies Auxiliary were planning a Shakespearian tea at the home of Mrs. Christopherson in the afternoon of Tuesday, November 10. Admission was .25 cents.

- THE YORKTON TIMES announced that "sign boards indicating names of streets were put up by the town fathers. The new boards are made of enamel and fill a long felt want besides adding greatly to the appearance of the town." (Dec. 24, 1908 issue.)

- Yorkton's Chimney Sweep was a fellow by the name of G. Watson.

- The newspaper THE YORKTON TIMES announced in their November 5th issue that it would feature a "Ladies Column" on a weekly basis. Church activities, social and philantropic news would be topics of interest.

1909

- The Canadian Bank of Commerce opened a branch in Yorkton.

- The City purchased the property west of the Hospital for a town gravel pit. Cost: $1,500.00.

- THE YORKTON TIMES newspaper was established by supporters of the Liberal party to oppose the Conservative monopoly of THE ENTERPRISE.

- William Simpson, Clerk of the Surrogate Court and his wife Margaret built a large house at #51 Smith Street East, which still stands today.

- This year the directors of the Yorkton Agricultural Society concluded that the work involved with the annual fair had increased to the extent that a more formal organization was necessary. In December, the Yorkton Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition Association, Limited, was incorporated.

- St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (St. Andrew’s United Church) was opened this year.

- The first cement sidewalks were built by C. Deverill of Winnipeg, starting on North Front Street. After the fair was over, the workmen did Broadway. "From the favorable remarks heard on every hand it is safe to predict that few wooden sidewalks will ever again be asked for in this growing burgh." (THE YORKTON TIMES, June 17, 1909.)

- The Yorkton Enterprise Editor, Sam Wynn stated that " Incoming settlers do not speak the English language and most are not familiar with the glorious history and heritage of Canadians. It's beholding that we Canadians do our best to acquaint them of Canada's history and instill a spirit of patriotism to their new adopted land." He further stated that in Eastern Canada, Dominion Day on July 1st is patriotically celebrated, while in the West it is merely a day of vacation. (June 30, 1909 Issue)

- On December 16, the Yorkton Fire Brigade held their fourth annual banquet at the Balmoral Hotel. (Source: THE YORKTON ENTERPRISE Dec. 23, 1909.)

- On May 15, at 10:15 PM., Yorkton residents felt the tremors of an earthquake, especially experienced by those who were indoors. Some at first thought that a box car of dynamite had blown up in Melville, and that the vibration felt in Yorkton was an aftermath. However, it was soon learned that the earthquake was felt all over the Southern part of the Prairie Provinces.