<%@include file="menu.html" %>

Welcome to the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. For assistance in exploring this site, please click here.

If you have feedback regarding this entry please fill out our feedback form.

Fort San

Resort village, pop 215, is located northwest of Fort Qu’Appelle along several kilometres of the north and east shore of Echo Lake. The community is served by Hwy 56, and a scenic walking path, a part of the Trans Canada Trail, runs the length of the village. Fort San derives its name from the Fort Qu’Appelle Sanatorium which operated to treat Saskatchewan tuberculosis patients from 1917 to 1972. Area cottage development began in the early 1900s, particularly after the completion of the Grand Trunk Pacific rail line through Fort Qu’Appelle in 1911. The most significant development, however, has taken place since the 1960s. The resort community today is comprised of both the homes of permanent residents and the cabins of city dwellers and residents of other communities in the province. Construction of the Sanatorium, situated on 230 acres, began in 1912, but due to the exigencies of World War I the facility was not opened until 1917. Due to the highly contagious nature of the disease tuberculosis, the centre was developed to be almost completely self-sufficient: it had its own powerhouse, stables, poultry ranch, pigs, and a five acre garden. World War I veterans established an extensive library, and patients – almost 360 at one time – engaged in activities and pursuits that included a jazz band, a drama club, and an internal radio program. Over the decades, thousands of patients spent months, even years, at “Fort San,” and a post office by that name was opened at the institution in 1926. By the 1960s, tuberculosis was ceasing to be a public health problem, and with the support of the Thatcher Liberal government Fort San was extensively renovated for use as a summer arts school run by the Saskatchewan Arts Board. The provincial government terminated funding for this program in 1991. The facility was then revamped for use as a conference centre run by the Saskatchewan Property Management Corporation (SPMC), to be used by government departments, private businesses, unions, and special interest groups. Additionally, in a partnership with the Department of National Defence, the institution also became a summer home for sea Cadets in training. In 2004, after years of absorbing losses, the SPMC announced the centre’s closure and 43 part-time and eight full-time personnel were issued pink slips. The Resort Village of Fort San lost a major tax contributor (the centre had provided almost 10 per cent of the community’s revenue), and local officials estimated a loss of approximately $3 million to the local economy. Today, the future of the sprawling historic institution is in doubt: the property is up for sale and there are some who believe that all of the buildings on the property, which includes close to 1,900 feet of lakefront, should be levelled to make room for an up-scale resort subdivision. The Resort Village of Fort San is situated in the RM of North Qu’Appelle No. 187.

David McLennan

Print Entry
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
Ce site Web a été conçu grâce à l'aide financière de
Diversification de l'économie de l'Ouest Canada et le gouvernement de la Saskatchewan.