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Town, pop 884, located approximately 65 km S of Prince Albert at the junction of Hwys 2, 41, and 312. Beginning in the 1880s a few people took up ranching in the area; significant settlement, however, began in the late 1890s. The Wakaw district would come to be settled by people of Ukrainian, Hungarian, French, and German origins. In 1903, a Presbyterian mission was founded on a point at the west end of Wakaw Lake, followed in 1906 by the construction of a small hospital. The Wakaw post office was established at the location in 1905 and stores and a gristmill were also built at the site. Thus, Wakaw had its beginnings on the lakeshore. When the rail line was surveyed, a new townsite was established somewhat less than a kilometre west of the lake. Wakaw is the Cree word for “crooked” and refers to the shape of the lake. After the trains were running through the young community, Wakaw quickly developed into a sizable service and shopping centre for the surrounding agricultural district. In 1919, a young lawyer who had just been called to the Saskatchewan Bar came to the village looking to establish his first practice. Over the next five years, John George Diefenbaker honed skills that would take him far in life. By the 1930s, Wakaw had several hundred residents and, on August 1, 1953, the community attained town status. Today, Wakaw has a wide range of businesses and services. Wakaw Lake has one of the province’s busiest regional parks, as well as a number of resort communities. There are approximately 1,000 cottages in the area. A resident doctor, Dr. Fred Cenaiko, has been practicing in Wakaw for 41 years.

David McLennan

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