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Town, pop 648, located 50 km E of Regina just off Hwy 1 on Hwy 35. The Hudson’s Bay Company had a trading post a short distance southwest of Qu’Appelle from 1854 to 1864; however, it was with the coming of the railway in 1881–82, that the community began to develop. The first post office established in 1882 was known as Troy, but the name was changed to Qu’Appelle Station in 1884. Qu’Appelle Station became the base for the telegraph line running north through Humboldt to Fort Battleford and Edmonton, as well as a major jumping off point for settlers. An immigration agent was stationed in the young community, and passengers and mail were carried by stagecoaches to Fort Qu’Appelle, Prince Albert, Fort Battleford and Edmonton. Freight was also transported northward by cart and wagon to the Saskatoon, Duck Lake, and Prince Albert areas. The community’s prominence as a disembarkation and distribution centre led General Middleton in 1885 to establish an initial staging point at Qu’Appelle, before heading north for his rendezvous with history. The years of the 1880s were boom times for the community and a number of structures dating to the era still stand in the town. Knox Presbyterian Church (United in 1925) was built in 1884 and, in 1885 St. Peter’s Anglican Church was constructed, becoming the pro-Cathedral church of the Diocese of Qu’Appelle for sixty years. The stone rectory next door, built in 1894, is now a private residence. Another of the town’s landmarks, the Queen’s Hotel, which officially opened in 1884, was lost in an early morning blaze on April 16, 2003. The completion of the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake, and Saskatchewan Railway in 1890, linking Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert, dealt a great blow to the town’s economic fortunes, as Regina, and not Qu’Appelle, now delivered settlers and supplies to northern territories. Yet businessmen continued to attempt to establish industries in the community—a flour mill, a creamery, a felt and boot factory—and the great influx of settlers into the District of Assiniboia in the early 1900s meant continued growth. The population of the community was 434 in 1901, but by the end of the first decade of the 20th century, it was near 1,000. In 1911, the Grand Trunk Pacific line was completed from Melville to Regina, and trade was again diverted from Qu’Appelle. Diminished somewhat in stature, the town, however, continued in its role as a service and supply centre for the surrounding agricultural district for many decades. By the 1960s, though, Qu’Appelle was entering a period of general decline. The newly-constructed Trans-Canada Hwy was completed in the late 1950s; long-time businesspeople were also retiring, and fewer and fewer people were stepping in to fill the voids. Many businesses closed for good. In 1966–67, Highway 10, the direct link from Balgonie to Fort Qu’Appelle was built, greatly reducing the traffic on Hwy 35 through Qu’Appelle to the valley. The hospital was closed and the CPR station was torn down by the end of the decade. However, over the course of the 1970s, the community’s fortunes would begin to turn around as city-dwellers, young couples with families seeking affordable housing and lower taxes, and retired farmers moved into the town. Jobs in Regina became the major source of employment and commuting became a part of townspeople’s routines. Today, about 80% to 90% of the town’s workforce drive to and from the city each day. At present, only a small core of businesses remains in the community, including three rather unusual businesses for a small community. A print shop has operated for many years, and a tattoo parlour, which also accommodates those interested in body piercing, is thriving. Microbiologist Sheila Blachford and chemist John Blachford have operated an analytical laboratory in Qu’Appelle for close to 15 years and, accredited in both Canada and the United States, the company’s services include microbial, toxin, biochemical, and chemical testing. Heritage properties in Qu’Appelle include the 1906 town hall/opera house and the former Royal Bank building (originally the Northern Bank) built the same year.

David McLennan

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