Admiral, 1920s.
Saskatchewan Archives Board

Hamlet, pop 30 (2006c), 25 (2001c), is a picturesque former village located east of Shaunavon off Hwy 13. It sits between the former communities of Scotsguard, to the west, and Crichton, to the east: both once busy centres; both non-existent today. Admiral, like many of the towns and villages in the province’s southwest, had its largest population and celebrated its heyday between the time the railway came through the region and the onset of the drought and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Settlement of Admiral district had begun in the early 1900s and, although the early arrivals were of diverse origins, there developed a significant Scandinavian (primarily Swedish) presence in the area. In 1913, as the CPR was building westward from Assiniboia, the townsite of Admiral was established and, in 1914, the new community was incorporated as a village. Fittingly, the community’s streets were named after naval figures such as Drake, Nelson, and Frobisher. By the mid-1920s, Admiral had reached a peak population of around 250; however, the 1930s broke the spirit of many in the region and the village lost close to one-third of its residents by the end of the decade. Subsequently, Admiral never recovered its population, nor the level of commercial activity seen in its earlier years. Each successive census recorded fewer and fewer people living in the village and the once vibrant business district was slowly reduced to a handful of enterprises. Today, the Admiral Branch of the Shaunavon Credit Union, situated in an old two-story red brick building, remains; as does a unique small business, the Svensen Toboggan Company: The toboggan business started in 1989 after the owner, Lloyd Garthus, made a durable plastic toboggan for his son for Christmas which quickly became a hit with neighbourhood children. Several thousand of the brightly coloured units have been produced and sold since, and the company has expanded into the production of combine auger down spouts. Admiral relinquished village status on August 17, 2006, and Admiral School, a K-7 facility that had 15 students enrolled in the fall of 2006, was scheduled to close at the end of June, 2007. Admiral is situated in the RM of Wise Creek No. 77. Agriculture, a combination of grain and livestock production, is the major industry in the area.

David McLennan

Further Reading

McLennan, David. 2008. Our Towns: Saskatchewan Communities from Abbey to Zenon Park. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center.