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Fleming

Town, pop 95, located 6 km W of the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border on Hwy 1. Moosomin, 14 km northwest, is the nearest major centre. The spring of 1882 brought the arrival of both the CPR main line and settlers to the district. The first settlers were primarily from Ontario and Great Britain; later, a number of Mennonites would also settle the Fleming area. In 1884, the Fleming post office opened, its name honouring Sir Sandford Fleming (1827–1915), the country’s distinguished engineer, surveyor, and inventor of standard time. The main thoroughfare in the young community was named Sandford Street. Fleming developed into a service centre for the surrounding mixed Farming district, and Saskatchewan’s oldest surviving grain elevator was built there in 1895. In 1916, Fleming reached its peak population of 310. In 1954, a view of the town appeared on the back of the Canadian $1 bill-a quintessential vista of a small prairie town that would be familiar to Canadians for years. As the decades passed, Fleming was increasingly overshadowed by Moosomin. In June 1975, after almost 90 years, Fleming’s school was closed for good. Today, most Fleming residents in the work force are employed in Moosomin, while a smaller percentage engage in farming. Clarence Campbell, president of the National Hockey League from 1946–77, was born in Fleming in 1905. The town has also been the home of two heroes. In 1958, 8-year-old John Wiebe rescued a younger boy who was badly burned by a live wire at a high voltage transformer, and was subsequently awarded a medal for his courage in dangerous circumstances. And in 1995, volunteer Fire Chief Doug Van De Kerckhove risked his life attempting to rescue another man, who had been overcome by noxious fumes and had fallen down a well; after spending weeks in intensive care recovering from hydrogen sulphide gas poisoning, he received the Governor General of Canada’s Medal for Bravery in 1996.

David McLennan

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