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Imperial

Town, pop 339, located approximately 37 km S of Watrous, off Hwy 2. The north end of Last Mountain Lake and the Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area lie about 10 km to the east. Homesteaders began taking up land in the district in 1903; for a number of years, before the railway was built through the area, much of the Transportation of people and freight into the region was by water. The Wm. Pearson Company established on the lake a “port of call” for its barges and steamer, the SS Qu’Appelle —to the east of present-day Imperial, at a location known as Watertown. In 1910, as the railway approached, businesses from Watertown and other areas moved to the rail line, and the first structures began to appear on the Imperial townsite. The rail line was constructed several kilometres west of the lake in order to maximize the amount of agricultural land on either side. The name of Imperial fits the pattern of names given to other communities established along the line—such as Holdfast, Stalwart, and Liberty—and reflects the traits and glory associated with the British Empire. Many of Imperial’s tree-lined streets further the theme with names such as King, Queen, Prince, and Princess. The area economy is based on agriculture, and Imperial is home to a major manufacturer of agricultural machinery as well as to a crop processing plant. For a number of years, the community has hosted successful dinner theatres and has sponsored an ice-fishing derby on Last Mountain Lake.

David McLennan

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