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Biggar

This photograph was taken to promote the theatrical production “New York is Big, but this is Biggar–The Musical,” which ran at the Biggar Majestic Theatre from July 27 to August 11, 2000, as a part of the community’s Millennium celebrations. In front of the town’s famous logo are Angie Tysseland of Saskatoon, who composed the original music for the production, and Tom Bentley-Fisher, a playwright and director born in Swift Current, who now divides his time between Canada and San Francisco. Bentley-Fisher wrote and directed the performance.
Kevin Brautigam (Biggar Museum and Gallery) With the permission of the Canadian Actors' Equity Association

Town, pop 2,243, located 93 km W of Saskatoon at the junction of Hwys 4, 14, and 51. The town is famous for its slogan “New York is Big, But This is Biggar”; local legend has it that an early survey crew had too much to drink one night and wrote the famous phrase on the town’s sign as a prank. Evidently, the townspeople liked the slogan and adopted it. The railway has played a major role in Biggar’s prosperity. In 1910, the GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC RAILWAY (GTP) decided to establish Biggar as a divisional point on its line, sparking both a construction boom and population growth. A roundhouse was built and Biggar’s station was, reportedly, one of the largest in the Canadian west, boasting an all-night restaurant. By the mid-1920s, the population exceeded 2,000 and remained fairly stable for several decades. The 1950s saw renewed growth. While the railroad is still a significant employer today, Biggar’s economy is more reliant now on agriculture and other industries. In total, Biggar has over 100 commercial enterprises, among them the community’s weekly newspaper, the Biggar Independent (in business since 1909), Saskatchewan’s largest greenhouse, the province’s second-largest turkey producer, a Sodium Sulphate plant, a transport company with a fleet of over fifty trucks, a manufacturer of environmentally safe containment tanks for petroleum, chemicals, and other hazardous materials, and a producer of malt which exports to markets around the world. Community attractions include the Biggar Museum and Gallery, Roger Martin’s Homestead Museum, and Sandra Schmirler Olympic Gold Park, established in honour of the Canadian and Olympic Curling champion who was born and raised in the town.

David McLennan

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This web site was produced with financial assistance
provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan.
University of Regina Government of Canada Government of Saskatchewan Canadian Plains Research Center
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Diversification de l'économie de l'Ouest Canada et le gouvernement de la Saskatchewan.