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Village, pop 341 (2006c), 343 (2001c), is located 32 km north of Spiritwood on Hwy 24. The community lies within the northernmost reaches of the province’s agricultural lands; a short distance north of Leoville, farms give way to forest, innumerable lakes and streams. Northeast of the village rise the Leoville Hills. The first settlers came to the Leoville district when it was heard that the CPR was going to build a railway through the area – a line surveyed to run from Debden to Meadow Lake. The first settler credited with homesteading in the area of Leoville was Leo Charpentier (Carpenter) who arrived in 1927, and it was in his honour that the community was named. Over the following few years more people began arriving in the district and, through the 1930s, many came from the southern regions of the province, driven north by the Drought. A large percentage of the original settlers at Leoville were French speakers who came from the Willow Bunch district. In 1930, as the railway was under construction, the area of the townsite was cleared of brush, and area Pioneers began building shacks at Leoville even before it was surveyed into lots. On April 1, 1930, the Leoville Post Office was officially established, although it was in a home a couple of kilometres out of the hamlet until 1931, the year the rail line through to Meadow Lake was opened. No longer were the long trips to Debden, later Rabbit Lake or Medstead, the nearest railway points, necessary to deliver grain or to obtain supplies. With the arrival of the railway, Leoville grew rapidly. Elevators were erected and numerous businesses were soon established. In 1932, both the school and a Roman Catholic Church opened their doors. Initially, the area economy was largely based in Forestry: sawmills, pulpwood producers, and firewood cutters were major employers until farming came to the fore as more and more land in the district was cleared. After the railway arrived, many thousands of railway ties were produced in and shipped out of the Leoville district. During the winter months, many early area settlers also engaged in commercial fishing, or trapping (primarily of muskrats, foxes, and minks), which brought in enough money to help carry them through the summer while they worked clearing and breaking their lands. The Village of Leoville was incorporated on June 26, 1944. Today, the economy is primarily based on agriculture – mixed Farming, grain and cattle production – with forestry a smaller contributing factor. A number of district residents also travel to work in the oil and gas fields of Alberta and west-central Saskatchewan. Leoville has a small core of local businesses which includes a grocery store, a restaurant, a convenience store, gas stations, the post office, an insurance broker, and a credit union. The village also has a library, a seniors’ drop-in centre, a fire hall, and a health centre with an attached special care home. The nearest RCMP detachment is located in the town of Spiritwood. Leoville Central School is a K-12 facility, which had 166 students enrolled in the fall of 2006. Community recreational facilities include skating and Curling rinks, ball Diamonds, and a town hall where functions such as weddings and dances are held. Additionally, Chitek Lake, a short distance to the northwest, is a popular year-round resort and recreation destination. Leoville has a number of service clubs, sports teams, and other community-based organizations. A key annual event in the village is the Leoville Trail Riders Rodeo, an amateur rodeo that features events such as steer riding, team roping, calf roping, chicken racing, mutton busting for Children, ladies calf throwing, and two nights with outdoor dances. Leoville is situated in the RM of Spiritwood No. 496.

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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