Saskatchewan ( ) is a
prairie province in Canada, which has
an area of and a population of 1,023,810 (according to 2009
estimates), mostly living in the southern half of the
province. Of these, 233,923 live in the province's
largest city, Saskatoon, while 194,971 live in the provincial capital,
Regina. Other major cities, in order of size, are
Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current and North Battleford.
The province's name comes from the Saskatchewan River
, whose name comes from
, meaning "swift flowing river".
From a great scale, Saskatchewan appears to be somewhat a quadrilateral
. However, because of its size,
the 49th parallel boundary and the 60th northern border appear
curved. Additionally, the eastern boundary of the province is
partially crooked rather than following a line of longitude, as
were devised by
surveyors prior to the homestead program (1880–1928). Saskatchewan is
bounded on the west by Alberta, on the
north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the American states of Montana and North Dakota.
Saskatchewan has the distinction of being
the only Canadian
for which no borders correspond to physical geographic
features (i.e. they are parallels and meridians). Saskatchewan is
also one of only two provinces that is land-locked
, the other one being Alberta.
The overwhelming majority of Saskatchewan's population is located
in the southern third of the province, south of the 53rd
Saskatchewan contains two major natural regions: the Canadian Shield
in the north and the
in the south.
Saskatchewan is mostly covered by boreal
forest except for the Lake Athabasca Sand Dunes, the largest active sand dunes in the world north
of 58°, adjacent to the southern shore of Lake Athabasca.
Southern Saskatchewan contains another area
with sand dunes known as the "Great Sand Hills"
over . The
Hills, located in the southwestern corner of Saskatchewan
and Killdeer Badlands (Grasslands
National Park) are areas of the
province that remained unglaciated during the last glaciation period. The province's highest
point at 1,468 metres (4,816 ft) is located in the Cypress
Hills and is the highest geographical point above sea-level between the Rocky Mountains and Quebec.
lowest point is the shore of Lake Athabasca, at 213 metres
(700 ft). The province has fourteen major drainage basins made up of various rivers and
watersheds draining into the Arctic Ocean, Hudson
Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Saskatchewan lies far from any significant body of water. This,
combined with its northerly latitude, gives it a warm summer
version of humid continental
) in the central and most of the eastern part,
drying off to a semi-arid
(Köppen type BSk
) in the southern and southwestern part of
the province. The northern parts of Saskatchewan —
from about La
Ronge northward — have a subarctic climate (Köppen
Summers can be very hot, with temperatures
sometimes above 31 °C (90 °F) during the day, and humidity
decreasing from northeast to southwest. Warm southern winds
blow from the United
States during much of July and August.
winters can be bitterly cold, with high temperatures not breaking
−17 °C (0 °F) for weeks at a time, warm chinook winds
often blow from the west,
bringing periods of mild weather. Annual precipitation averages 30
to 45 centimetres (12 to 18 in) annually across the province, with
the bulk of rain falling in June, July, and August.
Average Temperatures in Cities
Prior to European
was populated by various indigenous peoples of North
including members of the Athabaskan
The first European to enter Saskatchewan was Henry Kelsey
in 1690, who travelled up the
Saskatchewan River in hopes of trading fur with the province's
indigenous peoples. The first permanent European settlement was
a Hudson's Bay Company post at
Cumberland House founded by Samuel
Hearne in 1774.
the Louisiana Purchase
transferred part of what is now Alberta and
Saskatchewan from France to the United States.
In 1818 it
was ceded to the United Kingdom.
In the late 1850s and early 1860s, scientific expeditions led by
and Henry Youle Hind
explored the prairie
region of the province.
Canada acquired the Hudson's Bay Company's territories and formed
Territories to administer the vast territory between British
Columbia and Manitoba.
The Crown also entered into a series of
indigenous peoples of the area, which serve as the basis of the
relationship between First Nations
they are called today, and the Crown.
In 1885, post-Confederation Canada's first "naval battle" was
fought in Saskatchewan, when a steamship engaged the Métis
at Batoche in the North-West Rebellion
event in the history of what was to become Western Canada was the 1874 "March West" of
the federal government's new North-West Mounted Police.
Despite poor equipment and lack of
provisions, the men on the march persevered and established a
federal presence in the new territory. Historians have argued that
had this expedition been unsuccessful, then the expansionist United States
would have been
sorely tempted to expand into the political vacuum. And even had it
not, then the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway
been delayed or taken a different, more northerly route, stunting
the early growth of towns like Brandon, Regina, Medicine Hat and
Calgary — had these existed at all. Failure to construct
the railway could also have forced British Columbia to join the United States.
Settlement of the province started to take off as the Canadian
Pacific Railway was built in the early 1880s, and the Canadian
government divided up the land by the Dominion Land Survey
and gave free land
to any willing settlers.
North-West Mounted Police set up several posts and forts across
Saskatchewan including Fort Walsh in the
Cypress Hills, and Wood Mountain Post in south central Saskatchewan near the United
following the Battle of Little Bighorn Lakota chief Sitting Bull led several thousand of his people
to Wood Mountain.
Wood Mountain Reserve was founded in
Métis people, who had not been
signatories to a treaty, had moved to the Southbranch Settlement and Prince
Albert district north of present-day Saskatoon following
the Red River Resistance in
Manitoba in 1870.
In the early 1880s, the Canadian
government refused to hear the Métis' grievances, which stemmed
from land-use issues. Finally, in 1885, the Métis, led by Louis Riel
, staged the North-West Rebellion
and declared a
provisional government. They were defeated by a Canadian militia
brought to the Canadian prairies
by the new Canadian Pacific Railway. Riel surrendered and was
convicted of treason in a packed Regina courtroom. He was hanged on
November 16, 1885.
As more settlers came to the prairies on the railway, the
population grew, and Saskatchewan became a province on September 1,
1905; inauguration day was held September 4.
The Homestead Act permitted settlers to acquire one quarter of a
square mile of land to homestead and offered an additional quarter
upon establishing a homestead. Immigration peaked in 1910, and in
spite of the initial difficulties of frontier life, distance from
towns, sod homes, and backbreaking labour, a prosperous agrarian society
In 1913, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association
established as Saskatchewan's first ranchers' organization. Three
objectives were laid out at the founding convention in 1913 have
served as a guide: to watch over legislation; to forward the
interests of the Stock Growers in every honourable and legitimate
way; and to suggest to parliament legislation to meet changing
conditions and requirements.Its farming equivalent, the
Saskatchewan Grain Growers Association, was the dominant political
force in the province until the 1920s and had close ties with the
governing Liberal party.
In the late 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan
imported from the United States and Ontario and gained brief
popularity in WASP
nativist circles in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Klan, briefly
allied with the provincial Conservative party because of their
mutual dislike for Premier James
G. "Jimmy" Gardiner
Liberals (who ferociously fought the Klan) enjoyed about two years
of prominence, then disappeared, the victim of widespread political
and media opposition plus scandals involving their own funds.
In 1970, the first annual Canadian Western Agribition was held in
Regina. This farm industry trade show, with a heavy
emphasis on livestock, is rated as one of the five top livestock
shows in North America, along with those in Houston, Denver, Louisville and Toronto.
According to the 2006 Canadian
, the largest ethnic group
Saskatchewan is German
followed by English
(3.7%) and Swedish
(3.5%) - although 18.1% of all
respondents also identified their ethnicity as "Canadian".
Saskatchewan's population since
The largest denominations by number of adherents according to the
2001 census were the Roman
with 286,815 (30 %); the United Church of Canada
(20 %); and the Lutherans
Saskatchewan's economy is associated with agriculture
; however, increasing diversification
has meant that now agriculture, forestry
, and hunting
together make up only 6.8% of the province's GDP. Saskatchewan
grows 45% of Canada's grain. Wheat
is the most
familiar crop and the one most often associated with the province
(there are sheafs of wheat depicted on the Coat of Arms of Saskatchewan
but other grains like canola
seed, and barley
are also produced. Beef cattle
production in the province is only
exceeded by Alberta. Mining
is also a major
industry in the province, with Saskatchewan being the world's
largest exporter of potash
. In the northern part of the province,
forestry is also a significant industry.
and natural gas
production is also a very important part of Saskatchewan's economy,
although the oil industry
larger. Only Alberta exceeds the province in overall oil
production. Heavy crude is extracted in the
Lloydminster-Kerrobert-Kindersley areas. Light crude is found in
the Kindersley-Swift Current areas as well as the Weyburn-Estevan
fields. Natural gas is found almost entirely in the
western part of Saskatchewan, from the Primrose Lake area through Lloydminster, Unity, Kindersley,
Leader, and around Maple Creek areas.
Saskatchewan's GDP in 2006 was approximately C$45.922 billion, with
economic sectors breaking down in the following way:
||finance, insurance, real estate, leasing
||education, health, social services
||wholesale and retail trade
||transportation, communications, utilities
||agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting
A list of the top 100
companies includes The Potash Corporation of
, Federated Cooperatives Ltd. and IPSCO.
Major Saskatchewan-based Crown
are Saskatchewan Government
(the province's main supplier of
natural gas), and SaskPower
. Bombardier runs the NATO Flying
Training Centre at 15 Wing, near Moose Jaw.
Bombardier was awarded a long-term contract
in the late 1990s for $2.8 billion from the federal government
for the purchase of
military aircraft and the running of the training facility.
since 1929 has been the
principal supplier of electricity in Saskatchewan, serving more
than 451,000 customers and managing $4.5 billion in assets.
SaskPower is a major employer in the province with almost 2,500
permanent full-time staff located in 71 communities.
||Pers. Inc. Tax Revenue
||Corp. Inc. Tax
||Sales tax Revenue
The Tabulated Data covers the previous fiscal year (e.g. 2008
covers April 1, 2007 - March 31, 2008).All data is in
These values reflect estimates made after the mid-year
fiscal update (April 1 - September 30).
These values reflect the estimated population at the
end of the previous fiscal year.
These values reflect the debt of the General Revenue
Fund alone. It does not reflect the debt of Government Service
Organizations (Health Authorities, Crop Insurance Corporation,
etc.) or Government Service Enterprises (Crown Corporations).
Source: Government of
Government and politics
Saskatchewan has the same form of government as the other Canadian
provinces with a lieutenant-governor
(who is the
representative of the Crown in
Right of Saskatchewan
, and a
For many years, Saskatchewan has been one of Canada's more
progressive provinces, reflecting many of its citizens' feelings of
alienation from the interests of large capital. In 1944 Tommy Douglas
became premier of the first
regional government in
North America. Most of his Members of the Legislative
(MLAs) represented rural and small-town ridings. Under
government, Saskatchewan became the
first province to have Medicare
In 1961, Douglas left provincial politics to become the first
leader of the federal New
Provincial politics in Saskatchewan is dominated by the New Democrats
smaller political parties also run candidates in provincial
elections, including the Green Party
, Liberal Party
, and the
, but none is currently represented in the
Assembly of Saskatchewan
. After 16 years of New Democratic
governments under premiers Roy Romanow
and Lorne Calvert
, the recent 2007 provincial election
was won by the Saskatchewan Party under Brad
Federally, the province has been a stronghold of the New Democratic
Party , although recent elections have been dominated by the
Conservative Party of Canada currently represents 13 of 14 federal
ridings in Saskatchewan and the Liberal Party of Canada represents
one federal riding.
Politically, the province is characterized by a dramatic urban
split — the
federal and provincial New Democratic Party dominate in the cities,
while the Saskatchewan Party and the federal Conservatives are
stronger in the rural parts of the province. While both Saskatoon
and Regina (Saskatchewan's largest cities) are roughly twice the
population of an urban riding in Canada, both are split into
multiple ridings that blend them with rural communities.
Ten largest municipalities by population
does not include Lloydminster, which has a total population of 24,028 but
straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.
As of 2006, only
8,118 people lived on the Saskatchewan side, which would make it
Saskatchewan's 11th largest municipality. All of the listed
communities are considered cities by the province, with the
exception of Corman Park, which is a rural municipality
. Municipalities in the
province with a population of 5,000 or more can receive official
The first education on the prairies was learned within the family
group of the first nation or early fur
family settlers. There were only a few missionary or
trading post schools established in Rupert's Land
later known as the North West
Territories school districts and the first Board of Education
meeting formed in 1886.
The pioneering boom formed ethnic bloc settlements
. Communities were
seeking education for their children similar to the schools of
their home land. Log cabins
, and dwellings
were constructed for the assembly of the community, school, church,
dances and meetings.
The roaring twenties
established farmers who have successfully proved up on their
homesteads helped provide funding to standardize education. Text
books, normal schools for formally educated teachers, school
curricula, state of the art school
house architectural plans
provided continuity throughout the province. English as the school
language helped to provide economic stability because one community
could communicate with another and goods could be traded and sold
in a common language. The number of one-room school house districts
across Saskatchewan totalled approximately 5,000 at the height of
the one-room school house educational system in the late
Following World War II
, the transition
from many one room school houses to fewer and larger consolidated
modern technological town and city schools occurred as a means of
ensuring technical education. School buses, highways, and family
vehicles create ease and accessibility of a population shift to
larger towns and cities. Combines and tractors mean that the farmer
could successfully manage more than a quarter section of land, so
there was a shift from family farms
to cash crops
grown on many sections of land.
have been newly
proposed as a means of allowing competition between rural schools
and making the operation of co-operative
schools practicable in rural
The flag of Saskatchewan
officially adopted on 22 September 1969. The flag features the
the upper quarter nearest the staff, with the floral emblem
, the Prairie Lily
, in the fly. The upper
green (in forest green
) half of the
flag represents the northern Saskatchewan forest lands, while the
golden lower half of the flag symbolizes the southern wheat fields
and prairies. A province-wide competition was held to design the
flag, and drew over 4,000 entries. The winning design was by Anthony Drake,
then living in Hodgeville.
In 2005, Saskatchewan Environment held the province-wide vote to
recognize Saskatchewan's centennial year, receiving more than
10,000 on-line and mail-in votes from the public.
was the overwhelming favourite
of the six native fish species nominated for the designation,
receiving more than half the votes cast. Other species in the
running were the lake sturgeon
, lake whitefish
, northern pike
and yellow perch
Saskatchewan's official tartan was registered with the Court of Lord Lyon King of Arms in Scotland in 1961.
It has seven colours: gold, brown,
green, red, yellow, white and black.
The provincial licence plates display the slogan "Land of Living
Skies", indicating the rapid changes in weather that frequently
occur in Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Centennial
In 2005, Saskatchewan celebrated its centennial. To honour it the
Royal Canadian Mint
commemorative five-dollar coin depicting Canada's wheat fields as
well as a circulation 25-cent
of a similar design. Queen Elizabeth II and
the Duke of Edinburgh visited
Regina, Saskatoon and Lumsden, and the Saskatchewan-reared Joni Mitchell issued an album in
Saskatchewan's medical health system is widely and inaccurately
characterised as "socialized medicine": medical practitioners in
Saskatchewan, as in other Canadian provinces, are not civil
servants but remit their accounts to the publicly funded
Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Plan rather than to patients.
Unlike in Medicare in Australia
and private medicine in the UK, Saskatchewan sets a statutory
tariff for medical services which may not be exceeded.
and Little Mosque on the
are both set in small Saskatchewan towns. The
novels of W. O. Mitchell
, Frederick Philip Grove
, Guy Vanderhaeghe
, Michael Helm
are also frequently set in Saskatchewan, as are
children's novels of Farley Mowatt
English naturalist "Grey
Owl" spent much of his life living and studying in what
is now Prince Albert National Park.
The Arrogant Worms
Last Saskatchewan Pirate
about a disgruntled farmer who takes
up piracy on the namesake river, mentions various parts of the
province such as Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw. Popular Québécois
band Les Trois Accords
recorded a song in
called Saskatchewan on their
first album Gros Mammouth
. It was the third single of that album and met
moderate success in French
are the province's only major professional sports
franchise, and are extremely popular across Saskatchewan. The
team's fans are also found to congregate on game days throughout
Canada, and collectively they are known as "Rider Nation".
In 2006, the founder of One Red
, Kyle MacDonald, ended his trading-game after
swapping a movie role in the film 'Donna on Demand' for a two-story
farmhouse in Kipling,
Arts and culture
- Museums and galleries
- Artist-Run centres
Law and order
- Police agencies
- Correctional facilities
- Name Source from the Government of Canada
- Hydrology from The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan
- Average Weather for Saskatoon, SK - Temperature and
- The first smallpox epidemic on the Canadian Plains:
In the fur-traders' words. The Canadian Journal of
- Batoche by Dave Yanko
- Ethnic origins, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces
and territories - 20% sample data
- The history of Saskatchewan's population from
- Canada's population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved
September 28, 2006.
- Religions in Canada
- Fact Sheet from the Saskatchewan Mining
- Government of Saskatchewan. Oil and Gas Industry. Retrieved on: April 26,
- Government of Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Oil and Gas InfoMap. Retrieved
April 26, 2008.
- Gross domestic product, expenditure-based, by province and
territory from Statistics Canada
- Public Accounts of Saskatchewan. Government of Saskatchewan.
Retrieved June 27, 2008.
- Walleye Wins Vote For Saskatchewan's Fish
- How Saskatchewan Health Pays Your Bill - Health -
Government of Saskatchewan
- Archer, John H. Saskatchewan: A History. Saskatoon:
Western Producer Prairie Books,
1980. 422 pp.
- Bennett, John W. and Kohl, Seena B. Settling the
Canadian-American West, 1890-1915: Pioneer Adaptation and Community
Building. An Anthropological History. U. of Nebraska
Pr., 1995. 311 pp.
- Bill Waiser. Saskatchewan: A New History (2006)
- Bocking, D. H., ed. Pages from the Past: Essays on
Saskatchewan History. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie
Books, 1979. 299 pp.
- LaPointe, Richard and Tessier, Lucille. The Francophones of
Saskatchewan: A History. Regina: University of Regina, Campion Coll., 1988. 329 pp.
- Lipset, Seymour M. Agrarian Socialism: The Cooperative
Commonwealth Federation in Saskatchewan: A Study in Political
Sociology, University of California
- Martin, Robin Shades of Right: Nativist and Fascist
Politics in Canada, 1920-1940, University of Toronto Press,
- Smith, David E., ed. Building a Province: A History of
Saskatchewan in Documents. Saskatoon: Fifth House, 1993. 443
- Smith, Dennis. Rogue Tory: The Life and Legend of John
G. Diefenbaker. Toronto: Macfarlane Walter &
Ross, 1995. 702 pp.