Joan’s love of stories led her to study western Canadian history at the University of Saskatchewan where she earned a master’s degree. Her knowledge of history opened the door to a career at the Western Development Museum, first in exhibit production and finally as the chief executive officer for all four WDMs. Joan retired from the WDM in 2016. She and her husband Gordon recently moved to North Battleford. One of their favourite activities is exploring the backroads and small towns of Saskatchewan. Joan began writing a weekly history column a year ago for the Prince Albert Daily Herald and her column is now being picked up by several other community newspapers in the province.
“Among northern Saskatchewan Roughriders fans, driving past the Aylesbury Elephant Bar on game day is considered a sin.” So wrote Austin M. Davis in his story about the 90-year-old Aylesbury Hotel . . .
One of two hotels built in Biggar in 1909, the Empire Hotel on the corner of First Avenue and Main Street was first owned by a Mr. Heather and the Fisher Brothers. Sometime before the hotel opened . . .
In the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2011, two sisters, ages 10 and 12, snuck out of their parents’ home and huddled in the front porch of the old, unoccupied hotel at Young. They lit some papers. . .
When town lots went up for sale in Kindersley on Oct. 7, 1909, the Canadian Northern Railway realized sales of over $60,000 – the most expensive of which was a lot on the corner of Railway and Main. . .
On the night of March 28, 1915, Molly Kelly, the chambermaid at the Sovereign Hotel, was so nervous that she went to bed fully clothed. She had only been working at the hotel for two weeks but the . . .
Wolseley’s first hotel, a one-storey, wood-frame structure with a canvas top built in 1883, might have been a primitive affair, but William. D. Perley and Edwin. A. Banbury had big plans. Banbury, . . .
As I research small-town Saskatchewan hotels, I often come across references to the men-only enclaves of Chinese laundry, restaurant and hotel owners that had settled in nearly every village, town . . .
How did small-town Saskatchewan hotels serve beer in the early 1900s? It started with the shipment of wooden beer barrels by train to the hotels, unloaded on railway station platforms. The Bulyea . . .
The Colonsay Hotel was at the centre of a major insurance case that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada in the early 1920s. The court’s decision, handed down on June 15, 1923, greatly . . .
One of the most unique old hotels I have visited is the one in Preeceville. The town is located in the rolling hills of east-central Saskatchewan, approximately 100 kilometres north of Yorkton at . . .
On June 29, 2006, on the west corner of 108th Street and Central Avenue in the Saskatoon neighbourhood of Sutherland, a work crew discovered a woman’s body while excavating fuel tanks from an old . . .
The most famous small-town hotel in Saskatchewan has to be the one in Rouleau – aka Dog River. Located on Highway 39 southeast of Moose Jaw, Rouleau was the shooting location for the hit Canadian . . .
William Decimus Godson married Catherine (Kate) Stanley in England on May 8, 1902, and built the Shakespeare Hotel in Carievale, Saskatchewan, a few months later. The hotel opened for business in . . .
“If you take a knuckle of beef, simmer it four hours, then throw in some barley, diced carrots, turnips, onions, celery, leaves as well, salt and pepper, you’ll have soup, but ten to one you won’t . . .
On the morning of Aug. 10, 2009, the 97-year-old Prelate Hotel burned to the ground. The owner, Sherri Farrer, and her son were out of town at the time of the fire, and no one else was in the hotel. . .
In 1887, Robert A. Copeland and W. H. Fleming bought the hotel in Grenfell with a down payment of two yoke of oxen. Eighteen years later in 1905, David Black bought the Granite Hotel from Copeland . . .
While hotels are one of the oldest and most common forms of business enterprise in small-town Saskatchewan, in most cases, they are hotels in name only. They do not rely on room rental for revenue.. . .
After only living for a short time on the homestead he had filed near Simpson in 1906, Eli “Tom” Tikotsky was tired of homesteading. One day, he went to his neighbours’ house and told them he was . . .
In the early 1900s, hotels were an essential feature in Saskatchewan’s commercial landscape. The settlers who homesteaded on the prairies had to travel to the nearest town to buy provisions such as. . .
Growing up in a small-town Saskatchewan hotel sounds like a cool experience, doesn’t it? For a kid, imagine how thrilling it must have been to be able to run the hallways and staircases in such a . . .
When Jack and John Morrow opened the Shell Lake Hotel in 1957, only men were allowed in the beverage room. On Saturday nights, while the farmers were enjoying each other’s company in the bar, their. . .
In the winter of 1911, lumberjacks brought a baby moose to Marcotte’s Hotel at Hudson Bay Junction located in northeast Saskatchewan. The hotel owner, Alcide Marcotte, obtained a government permit . . .
Many of the hotels that once commanded the corners of Railway and Main in small-town Saskatchewan have burned to the ground over the years. Most recently (at the time of writing), the 72-year-old . . .
During Prohibition (1915-24), too many people in Saskatchewan were drinking illegally, thanks to bootleggers. Prohibition had contributed to a marked increase in crime and violence. The new slogan . . .
“George Brennan built the first hotel and managed it until Prohibition came. When he could no longer get a licence for the bar, he sold it to some Chinamen.” This line from Pennant’s history book . . .
Saskatchewan’s hotel bars were busy places in the early 1900s. The typical hotel in 1910 had a long, ornate wooden bar complete with a large mirror behind it, brass foot rails and brass spittoons. . . .
In 1909, shortly after the railway arrived, George Stalker and his partner Howard Hudson spared no expense building the grand, three-storey Shellbrook Hotel on the corner of Railway Avenue and Main. . .
Hotels are one of the oldest and most common forms of business enterprise in Saskatchewan – in cities and in small towns. The fact so many of them have survived is a testament to the determination . . .