Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier
Long gone are the days when any Prime Ministerís visit would generate the celebrations of the magnitude seen on July 20th, 1910 in the town of Yorkton. These were the heady times of early colonization which in spite of the hardships was a period filled with hope. Also, for many of the colonists—the man they were welcoming was the Liberal Prime Minister who had invited them to immigrate some years before, Sir Wilfrid Laurier. According to newspaper reports, Yorkton organized the biggest celebration ever held in northeastern Saskatchewan. Weeks before the scheduled visit the Board of Trade, the Town Council, Liberal Party members and Conservatives cooperated to create an outstanding welcome. Large arches were constructed, the main one at the head of Second Avenue, facing the Canadian Pacific Railway station, was decorated with sheaves of oats, flags, streamers and a "Welcome" sign. Another, on Fifth Avenue featured green boughs. On Third Avenue the firemen had erected an archway of decorated ladders. The main thoroughfares, business establishments and residences displayed flags and streamers. To bring people to town from along the line between Shoal Lake, Manitoba, and Kandahar to the west, the C. P. R. offered special cheap fares.
On the evening of July 19th, the Prime Ministerís Canadian Pacific Special drew into town from southern Manitoba. The next morning, a cavalcade of cars brought the Prime Minister to the countryside where he waded waist deep in fields of ripening wheat, oats and barley. Later, at the revamped curling rink the ceremonies opened with addresses by Mayor Joseph M. Clark, Board of Trade President, J.A.M. Patrick, and Saskatchewan Liberal Premier, Walter Scott. When Laurier was introduced, the crowd of 2000 greeted him with a rousing ovation. The TORONTO GLOBE one of the leading newspapers accompanying the party, had this to say: "Sir Wilfrid Laurier addressed the most cosmopolitan gathering of his tour. In addition to a flood of Canadians and settlers of British and American origins, there were Scandinavians, Germans, French, Italians, Poles, Austrians, Armenians, Jews, Doukhobors and Galicians." The Prime Minister, an exceptional bilingual orator, congratulated the pioneers for the remarkable growth of the community, which only had village status at the time of his first visit during the 1896 election campaign.
Laurierís motto was "The 2Oth century belongs to Canada." Among his accomplishments during his 15 year mandate: large scale immigration from Europe; growth of world trade with demand for Canadian wheat; more railway lines, and two new provinces; Saskatchewan and Alberta created in 1905.
One of Yorkton oldest streets is named in honour of this Prime Minister.