The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan
The Story of the Encyclopedia

These are the stories of Saskatchewan, "kisiskatchewan," the land of the swiftly flowing river, so named by its First Peoples. From the earliest evidence of humans in Saskatchewan over 11,000 years ago, hundreds of generations have given of their strength and knowledge in overcoming great adversity to build this great province. It is no less than the natural and cultural legacy of Saskatchewan that we have tried to capture in this encyclopedia.

In celebration of Saskatchewan's centennial, The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan is a gift both for and by the people of Saskatchewan of their knowledge and experience to all who would care to know of the people, places and events that have shaped this province's legacy to Canada and the world.

The clichéd image of Saskatchewan as a "flatland" fails to capture a place of unsurpassed beauty, a people of indomitable strength and compassion, and events that have influenced the world. While very few people have the opportunity to explore the breadth of space and history that Saskatchewan encompasses, our hope is that this book will act as a guide to the wealth of information about this immense and diverse province. Over 650,000 square kilometres in size, about one-half of the province is covered by forest, one-third is prairie and agricultural land and one-eighth is fresh water (two of the ten largest freshwater lakes in North America are in Saskatchewan). Caribou graze the lichen forests of the north at the same time that pronghorn antelope roam the coulees of the prairies. In these pages you can read about North America's first bird sanctuary at Last Mountain Lake or the wetlands that produce one in four ducks in North America. You can explore the lodgepole pine forests of Saskatchewan's Cypress Hills, the highest point of land in Canada between the Rocky Mountains and Labrador, or read about the richest uranium deposits in the world that occur in the northern Athabasca basin, also home to the largest area of active sand dunes north of 58 degrees found in the world. Discover caverns mined from ancient sea-beds in the southern part of the province that yield the world's second-largest production of potash.

Read about the legacy and on-going contributions of Saskatchewan's First Nations and Métis about the leadership of Chiefs Piapot, Poundmaker and Big Bear, or the First Nations University of Canada, an independently administered university-college serving the academic, cultural and spiritual needs of First Nations' students. Read about Louis Riel, the influential Métis leader, and the 1885 Resistance and Gabriel Dumont and the Battle of Batoche.

Read about the province that gave rise to North America's first socialist government, and the second province to grant suffrage in support of women's rights. Learn about the contributions of Violet McNaughton, first president of the Women Grain Growers, in the suffrage movement. Find out about the province's leadership in the development and evolution of co-operative movements. Saskatchewan was the first province to introduce comprehensive medical insurance and the first to establish an Arts Board in North America. It is the home of Canada's longest continuously performing symphony orchestra (the Regina Symphony Orchestra) and second longest continuously running stage production (The Trial of Louis Riel) in Canada.

Learn about Saskatchewan's contributions to the arts and literature through entries on W.O Mitchell (Weyburn, SK), Buffy Sainte-Marie (Piapot Reserve, SK), Guy Vanderhaeghe (Esterhazy, SK) and many others.

Read about the achievements of Saskatchewan sports figures such as Gordie Howe (Floral, SK), Bryan Trottier (Val Marie, SK), the Ernie Richardson, Vera Pezer and Sandra Schmirler curling rinks, Ethel Catherwood, the "Saskatoon Lily," who set the world record in high jump at the 1928 Olympic Games, Catriona Le May Doan (Saskatoon), gold medal winner at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, and the 17-year-old George Genereux (Saskatoon) winning gold at the 1952 Olympics.

Discover a wealth of information about the province's contributions in science and technology such as the Canadian Light Source Project at the University of Saskatchewan, the country's largest scientific project, and the world's largest fibre optics network. In these pages you will read about the province's leadership in conducting the world's most advanced research into carbon dioxide sequestration. You will find out about innovation in Saskatchewan that has led to many technological "firsts": the first automated teller machine (ATM) in Canada, the first in-store direct debit system, the world's first heavy oil upgrader, the world's first zero-effluent pulp mill.

You will also learn about Saskatchewan's significant contributions in meeting Canada and the world's food needs. Not only the leading wheat (spring and durum) producer for Canada, it also leads in the production of lentils, canary seed, mustard, field peas, flax and canola. The majority of Canada's wild rice is grown and harvested in Saskatchewan which is also the country's largest per capita honey producer.

The facts and figures of Saskatchewan's accomplishments are embedded in an array of fascinating stories about people, places and events, for example, the Willow Bunch "Giant," édouard Beaupré, the World Championship of "Bunnock" (Macklin, SK), and the Japanese "balloon bombs" of World War II. Learn about the Regina Cyclone of 1912, the most devastating tornado for loss of life in Canada, or the impact of the tragic 1935 Regina Riot on the country. Follow the discovery of "Scotty" of Eastend, one of the few Tyrannosaurus rex found in the world, or "Big Bert," a rare species of crocodile over 92 million years old from Carrot River. Explore the Wood Mountain, home to Sitting Bull and his followers after their victory at the Battle of Little Big Horn, and learn about Saskatchewan's Big Muddy Badlands. Read about the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, where notorious gangster Al Capone supposedly ran his bootleg operation during Prohibition. Find out about the creation of the North-West Mounted Police, later to become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, whose training academy in Regina serves the nation. You will also read about the many Saskatchewan men and women who made tremendous sacrifices in defense of freedom during World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.

The above provides only a glimpse of what the Encyclopedia documents in terms of Saskatchewan's contributions across many diverse areas including agriculture, arts and culture, business and industry, communities, education, First Nations and Métis, geography, health, history, labour, law and justice, the military, politics and government, philosophy, population, science and technology, religion, social policy, sports, transportation, and women. Many entries celebrate Saskatchewan's contributions, nationally and internationally, and we have provided in-depth essays with detailed information on specific themes. There are also stories of individuals and events that were important in shaping Saskatchewan's communities, and entries that reflect difficult and tragic times in the history of our province.

Our intent in developing the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan is that it serve as an educational resource for students, teachers, researchers and all who care about the people, places and events that have shaped Saskatchewan's legacy to Canada and the world. It is our hope that, as a permanent record of achievements, the Encyclopedia will increase awareness and understanding of the region's rich cultural and natural heritage and serve as a fitting and timely vehicle through which to encourage readers to reflect not only on the province's accomplishments, but on the wealth of opportunities and advantages afforded to Saskatchewan residents.

This encyclopedia, which through many years of labour we came to refer to as ESask, was created by the contributions of hundreds of dedicated individuals. Although the involvement of the Canadian Plains Research Center (CPRC) in ESask began in 1993, the idea of an encyclopedia about the province had been around for much longer. Frank Korvemaker, then with the Heritage Branch, was an early proponent of the need for a compendium of information about the province. He and Dr. John Archer, the first President of the University of Regina, encouraged support from the government of Saskatchewan for the idea. Frank, along with Garth Pugh (Manager, Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation), brought the concept to CPRC because of its role as a scholarly and educational press. Although there was general enthusiasm for the idea, the challenges of developing a provincial encyclopedia were enormous. In the early 1990s there were few examples in Canada of encyclopedias. Mel Hurtig of Hurtig Publishing had released the three-volume Canadian Encyclopedia in 1985. The only provincial encyclopedia that had been published by the early 1990s was the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador originated by former Premier Joseph ("Joey") Smallwood; its five volumes were released between 1981 and 1994. In BC, publisher Howard White and editor Daniel Francis of Harbour Publishing undertook the development over a ten-year period of the Encyclopedia of British Columbia, which was published in 2000. Alberta, through the Heritage Community Foundation, is developing an online encyclopedia as a contribution to that province's 2005 centenary.

It was clear from CPRC's earliest discussions that, while we would benefit from the experiences from other places, the development of a general knowledge encyclopedia of Saskatchewan would require a blend of partnerships that reflected the volunteerism and community involvement that has so characterized the development of the province. In 1996 CPRC sought guidance from representatives of a wide group of government and non-government agencies and organizations who met with us in a workshop at the University of Regina. Mel Hurtig, Robert MacDonald (a multi-media and publishing expert), Avi Bennett (former owner of McClelland and Stewart Publishers) and Jim Marsh (editor from McClelland and Stewart) participated in the discussions. That meeting confirmed the widespread enthusiasm for an encyclopedia that could be created to celebrate Saskatchewan's centenary. It identified initial partners and resulted in the formation of an advisory committee to guide the development of a vision and concept plan for the encyclopedia. The members of that first committee were:

Dr. John Archer (Honorary Chair)
Dr. David Gauthier, Committee Chair, CPRC, University of Regina
Ved Arora, Saskatchewan Provincial Library
Denis Hosford, Saskatchewan Property Management Corporation
Dr. Michael Jackson, Saskatchewan Provincial Secretary
Peter Jonker, University of Saskatchewan
Frank Korvemaker, Heritage Branch, Government of Saskatchewan
Brian Mlazgar, CPRC Publications Coordinator
Russ Moore, Saskatchewan Finance
Garth Pugh, Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation
Gail Saunders, Saskatchewan Education
Neil Sawatzky, Tourism Saskatchewan
Jocelyn Souliere, Saskatchewan Environment
Jane Turnbull-Evans, Saskatchewan Arts Board

The above individuals, in consultation with many others throughout the province, guided the development of the vision for the encyclopedia. A concept plan was produced in 1997 and its collective vision bears repeating:

As Saskatchewan approaches its centenary in the year 2005, there is a growing recognition of the need for a substantial memorial to the people of Saskatchewan that highlights their achievements and provides a comprehensive synthesis of the people, places and events that have helped to shape the province. The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan is proposed as a lasting compendium of knowledge on Saskatchewan and its place in the world. It will celebrate the many significant achievements in the history of our province through the involvement of contributors from all walks of life throughout Saskatchewan and Canada. By reaching out to all people, it will stand as a permanent legacy celebrating our rich heritage that will form a lasting province-wide memorial to future generations.

You, the reader, will be the judge of how well we have held true to that vision. We have strived for fairness, accuracy and balance. For all of the people, places and events deserving of mention that were omitted, I apologize. There were many entries developed by contributors that I regret could not be included because of limitations of time and space. I encourage you to use what you find in these pages to delve more deeply into the rich sources of information about Saskatchewan that are now at your disposal.

The Encyclopedia features approximately 2,300 individual entries covering all aspects of life in Saskatchewan with over 1,000 charts, graphs, maps, tables, and photographs, including dozens of stunning images by world-renowned photographer Courtney Milne, as well as photographs and illustrations from many other sources. The entries are organized alphabetically and suggested readings are provided with many of them. We have highlighted words and phrases within entries that will connect you to other entries containing related information. Also included is an index to allow you to search for subjects of greatest interest. Entries recognize the author(s) who contributed so generously of their knowledge and we have also provided a list of the names of all writers. The entries are supplemented by 21 major theme essays written by noted experts.

Following this preface are acknowledgements of those who contributed to the development of this book as sponsors, writers, editors, research assistants and as administrators. I hope that you will take the time to look at their names and, should you have the opportunity to meet them, to thank them for their commitment and generosity. I stress their generosity because so much of the content of the encyclopedia was contributed by writers and editors who volunteered their time. That this book has become a reality is a testament to their commitment to education, and to their willingness to share their time and knowledge.

While hundreds of people contributed to the Encyclopedia, there are key individuals without whom we could not have maintained our vision and produced the book. It is my great delight after so many years of work to be able to thank them publicly.

First and foremost, I want to express my deepest gratitude to Brian Mlazgar, the Publications Coordinator for CPRC, who worked with me from the start on this project; he laboured countless hours in making the Encyclopedia a reality and its publication is a tribute to his enormous skills. Brian was ably assisted in this by Donna Grant. The layout of the book is due largely to her great talent.

In particular, I thank Dr. Patrick Douaud who so ably chaired our Editorial Board and whose awesome task was to read every entry and essay in the Encyclopedia to insure that standards were maintained. His years of dedication and commitment to the project are most gratefully appreciated, as is the support of the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina in allowing Dr. Douaud the time to participate in this undertaking.

I also want to express my deepest gratitude to all of our Editorial Board members, current and past, whose names are listed on subsequent pages. Within the Government of Saskatchewan, Learning also established an internal committee for the development and review of education entries. The Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan and the Gabriel Dumont Institute undertook the development of entries related to co-operatives and Métis, respectively. All Editorial Board members worked with writers to ensure that entries would meet the quality of content deserving of a lasting legacy of knowledge for the people of Saskatchewan. Theirs was a most challenging task in guiding what entries would best characterize the province, and in working with writers to make certain that the information was accurately and clearly expressed. I thank them for their patience and commend them for their devotion to the highest scholarly standards.

One of our objectives in developing the Encyclopedia was to provide opportunities for students to gain research experience by helping editorial board members and writers in gathering background information. We were able to employ twenty-two student assistants throughout the years, and I thank them all for their significant contributions.

Damian Coneghan, the ESask Project Manager, brought his excellent organizational skills to bear in leading or helping to coordinate so many aspects of the administration of the project. Coordinating the development of over 2,000 entries and of 1,000+ photos and illustrations involving hundreds of writers and contributors would have been much more daunting without his efforts. He was ably assisted by Fiona Stevenson.

The photographs that you see throughout the book were contributed from many sources listed in the acknowledgements. I thank all of them for adding a visual perspective that enhances the information in the entries.

In particular, Courtney Milne, well-known and celebrated Saskatchewan photographer, generously donated from his vast collection of photographs a variety of images that vividly capture the beauty of our province. It is his images that you see in the transitions from letter to letter throughout the book.

David McLennan provided photos and photographic research for many of the Saskatchewan communities. With information collected from many sources, Diane Perrick expertly crafted the maps and charts that add another important form of information content to the book.

Managing the office support for such a long-term and complex publishing project was most ably handled by CPRC's Office Manager, Lorraine Nelson an amazing achievement given the many other research and publishing projects that she served while the Encyclopedia was being developed. I am very appreciative of the support that Bob Ivanochko, our encyclopedia librarian, brought to this project; through the generous support of the Provincial Library and of Learning, Bob was seconded to this project for five years and was instrumental in assisting us through content development and discussions with contributors. We would like as many people as possible to know about the Encyclopedia and Anne Pennylegion, CPRC's Marketing Coordinator, worked hard to communicate information about the Encyclopedia to sponsors, partners and the public. When the work of others is completed, that of Jeffrey Morman begins, ensuring that orders for the Encyclopedia are shipped in a timely fashion.

With all the contributions of our writers, editors and staff, we would still not have been able to bring you this book if it were not for the kind and generous support of our sponsors. There have been difficult times throughout the past nine years when resources were scarce. There were some not directly involved in the project who doubted that it would be possible for a comprehensive encyclopedia of the province to be completed and some who urged that we abandon it. However, it was the on-going encouragement of the many friends and supporters of the project that buoyed our spirits and efforts over the years and it is to them that we owe a great debt of gratitude.

Before the Millennium or Centennial celebrations were even being discussed in Saskatchewan, the Government of Saskatchewan Culture, Youth and Recreation (CYR) and Learning saw the important contribution of a provincial encyclopedia. They have been steadfast supporters throughout its long process of development. I greatly appreciate the encouragement and faith of former Minister Joanne Crofford and current Minister Joan Beatty of CYR as well as of Minister Andrew Thomson of Learning in the vision of this project. I also want to express my deepest gratitude to Olivia Shumski of CYR and to Gail Saunders of Learning who were tireless supporters of the project within government.

The support of the former Anniversaries Secretariat and Saskatchewan Centennial 2005 office chaired by Glenn Hagel was instrumental in helping us to complete the content of the book and have it printed.

Following the publication of the print version of the Encyclopedia, we then moved towards development of the on-line, web-accessible version which was launched April 5, 2007.  We are very grateful for the major support provided by Western Economic Diversification in allowing us to develop the on-line version and begin the process of translating theme essays and selected entries into French. We also appreciate the support of the Province of Saskatchewan towards the development of the on-line version.

To all of our sponsors ranging from government and non-government organizations, educational institutions, business, industry and media, I want to express my deepest gratitude for your support of education.

Finally, on a more personal note, I was born in Regina and Saskatchewan is my home place. My mother was born and raised in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, in a family descended from Ukrainian immigrants. In turn, Saskatchewan has provided the secure foundation within which my wife and I raised our son and daughter. In all of my travels throughout Canada and other countries I have not found a place that offers such unique natural beauty or a people more caring, friendly, and committed to principles of fairness and equity than in this land of flowing rivers.

The legacy of Saskatchewan is written by its people every day. Throughout its history and to the present day, the people of Saskatchewan have made great contributions and never faltered in their belief in the potential of the province. So much has been achieved in the past 100 years that serves for future generations to build upon. While there will always be challenges to face, I have no doubt in the ability of the people of Saskatchewan to work together with their neighbours to face those challenges and, in a spirit of fairness for all, to overcome them. When another hundred years have passed and Saskatchewan celebrates its bicentennial, I know that the citizens of 2105 will look back on the accomplishments of their ancestors with the greatest gratitude and pride.

David A. Gauthier
Publisher and General Manager

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.