The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan


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Town, pop 1,581, located in the Qu’Appelle Valley, 25 km NW of Regina at the junction of Hwys 11 and 20. The first settlers arrived in 1881 and the area came to be colloquially known as Happy Hollow. In 1889, the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake, and Saskatchewan Railway came through the site of today’s community en route to Saskatoon and Prince Albert, and the name Happy Hollow was changed to honour Hugh Lumsden, a senior engineer with the railroad. Thomas Hill opened a general store and had a post office at Lumsden in 1892, and a blacksmith shop and an implement agency were soon established. Other businesses followed. Grain elevators were erected—the first run by horsepower—and, in 1897, Lumsden had its first doctor. The first newspaper began publishing in 1900 and, in 1904, a flour mill was opened, which did a thriving business until it burned down in the 1920s. Lumsden attained town status on March 15, 1905. After the boom period prior to World War I, Lumsden’s population settled at around 500 and the community functioned primarily as a thriving farm service centre until the mid-1960s. With the construction of the four-lane divided highway through the valley early in the decade, people who worked in Regina began to establish homes in the community. Artists were attracted to Lumsden’s quiet country lifestyle and picturesque setting, and city dwellers came to frequent the area’s developing market gardens. The community, however, was beset regularly by floodwaters (major floods occurred in 1892, 1904, 1916, 1948, and 1969) and, in 1974, the highest water levels in the town’s history were recorded. Schoolchildren from Regina came to help with the sandbagging. The town subsequently undertook the development of a major flood protection project, straightening the river’s channel and building substantial dikes. This marked the beginning of a period of major population growth. Today, although town businesses, schools, administrative positions, and health care facilities provide a base of local employment, Lumsden is increasingly becoming a bedroom community for commuters to Regina.

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.