Welcome to Boomtown

BY KARI OLFERT, THINKSASKATOON

I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of moving to Saskatoon, before we became this huge hubbub of business activity. I’m referring to the turn of the century, the 20th one to be specific. During our first boom. The Western Development Museum can walk you through that.

When you think Saskatoon surely you think Commerce, right? Me either, but there was a a time when we were pitched to expand larger than Chicago and Winnipeg. I would actually like to repeat that for emphasis, NOT because I need to but because we are talking Chicago and Winnipeg. I have never been to Chicago but it is WAY bigger than Saskatoon. ALL because we had a sweet Railway set up and copious amounts of land.

Let’s go back in time just a little more.Chief Whitecap got pretty excited about Saskatoon and when he met John Lake he told him how GREAT it was here. You know the land and the river that runs RIGHT beside the land. We’re talking pre-railroad days, anyways Chief was like you NEED to move here, its the best! And John was like, “hmm let me think about it”. Of course this conversation didn’t happen at -32 with windy snow whipping their faces and forcing them to build huts out of grass chunks. NO this happened during nice peaceful, pretty fall. John also wanted to find a place where people were not drinking copious amounts of alcohol. This could be why today, Saskatoon STILL does not have strippers. Or we did but you couldn’t look at them AND drink or you could drink but couldn’t breath while you were walking or something like that. I am not against the idea of naked dancers or do I feel we need naked dancers BUT I am pretty sure we can blame John Lake and his high ideals for that.

Back to Boomtown. So John, tricked went home and told everyone how amazing Saskatoon was and that they needed to sell everything they had and come see for themselves. You may be asking WHY you need this history lesson. You actually don’t. For me though, every time winter arrives I cannot help but think about the settlers and their first winter here. Their homemade shed houses, scrounging around for food and warmth and then thinking to themselves that they made the right decision. Most of these pioneers originated from Ontario which at that time, consisted of more than chunks of land with little sod homes and insane blizzards. They didn’t have the internet to see the weather patterns.

Then I think about the trains and transporting MORE people here and then those people thinking this was a good idea. Maybe we were mostly built by people who were running from something. I read something about religious prosecution. THAT makes sense to me. ANYONE could hide on a chunk of large land and be ANYONE, especially at a time before photo ID. So to conclude I wonder if we are all fugitives from way back, because why else would your relatives and mine move and stay here after their first winter.

Welcome to Boomtown! Where you can escape ANYTHING that is bothering you and we will give you some land at a pretty reasonable price, never mind the blizzards because you will meet the nicest people here that will convince help you to see that it’s not that bad and you will grow to love it here because Saskatonians are awesome! 😉