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Town, pop 436, located to the NE of the N end of Last Mountain Lake on Hwys 15 and 20. The first homesteads were established in the Nokomis area around 1904, and the community developed a few years later at the junction of two competing railways as they came through the area. The north-south CPR line reached Nokomis in 1907, followed shortly thereafter by the east-west Grand Trunk Pacific (now CN). Nokomis developed rapidly at the intersection of the tracks, and was incorporated as a village on March 5, 1908. Five months later, on August 15, the community attained town status. The name Nokomis (Hiawatha’s grandmother in Longfellow’s epic poem) had been chosen in 1906 by Florence Mary Halstead for a post office she started southeast of the present townsite. By 1916, the town had a population of 508 and had developed into a substantial service centre for the surrounding agricultural district. Agriculture remains the basis of the area’s economy today. Canadian author Max Braithwaite was born in Nokomis in 1911. The town has a museum that features the community’s former CN train station, as well as a re-creation of a 1907 business district and wild life dioramas. The community’s Bank of Commerce building, built in 1907–08, has been designated a heritage property and now houses a bed and breakfast. Area attractions include the Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area; established in 1887, it was the first federal bird sanctuary in North America and is regarded as a wetland of international importance.

David McLennan

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