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kenaston

Kenaston from the west (along Hwy 15).
David McLennan

Village, pop 259 (2006c), 282 (2001c), is situated approximately 70 km south of Saskatoon at the junction of Hwy 11 and Hwy 15. The Qu’Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railway reached the site of the present community from Regina in 1889 (the track was completed through to Prince Albert the next year), but there was not any permanent settlement in the area until after 1902. In this year, at the urging of the Canadian Government, the Saskatchewan Valley Land Company was formed. Colonel Andrew Duncan Davidson (for whom the town of Davidson is named) was the president, and F.E. Kenaston was the vice-president, and they began aggressive campaigns to promote immigration to the area. By 1903, waves of homesteaders were pouring into the region. Among those who first came to the area around Kenaston, which was originally known as Bonnington Springs, were Croatians, Czechs and Slovaks, and Scandinavians, mainly Norwegians. The first store on the townsite was built in 1903; the next year a hotel was constructed. The Bonnington Post Office was established in 1904 (the name was changed to Kenaston at the beginning of 1906); in 1905 the Kenaston School District was formed. The first grain elevator was erected in 1906, and the first telephone was installed in the community in 1909. Kenaston became an incorporated village on July 18, 1910. By 1926 the population was 243 and it remained at close to that level until after WWII. From the mid-1950s through to the beginning of the 1970s, Kenaston’s numbers mushroomed: the community had a peak population of 466 in 1966. Today, Kenaston has a good array of businesses and services, and an active Chamber of Commerce; Saskatoon, a 45-minute drive away, affords village residents easy access to all the amenities of a city. Kenaston has three churches and a Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Kingdom Hall, a number of volunteer organizations, sports teams, and other community groups. Kenaston Place auditorium and community centre has a theatre-style performance stage, and with a capacity to accommodate 500 people can facilitate functions such as trade shows, graduations, and conferences. Kenaston has ball Diamonds, a seasonal indoor Swimming pool, a social centre for seniors, and a Hockey arena – home to the Kenaston Blizzards senior hockey team. The Bonnington Springs campground has hot shower facilities and walking trails. The village has a volunteer fire department; the nearest hospital is in Davidson; the closest RCMP detachment is in Hanley. Kenaston School is a K-12 facility, which had 125 students enrolled in the fall of 2006. The village’s CN water tower remains standing, as do three of Kenaston’s five Grain Elevators, including the first all-steel elevator in western Canada, built in 1960. The elevators are now independently owned by farmers who have developed them into private business ventures. Kenaston serves as the administrative centre of the RM of McCraney No. 282.

David McLennan

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Further Reading

McLennan, David. 2008. Our Towns: Saskatchewan Communities from Abbey to Zenon Park. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center.

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