Day 15 – June 21 – Saskatoon, SK

We drove past the Bessborough on our way to the Western Development Museum so I was able to get a bit better shot of it today. And in the museum there was a photo of it during construction.

Saskatoon also has some pretty modern buildings as well.

My apologies to the Western Development Museum in North Battleford. If it is half as good as the one in Saskatoon we may need to go back and visit. The four branches of the Western Development Museum are in North Battleford, Saskatoon, Yorkton and Regina. There are over 75,000 artifacts that explore Saskatchewan’s story from settlement to the present day.

This Blairmore Ring was on display outside the museum. We had learned about the huge potash deposits in Saskatchewan on our cross-Canada trip in 2014 when we stopped in Esterhazy.

We spent well over two hours in the WDM this morning and loved every minute of it. As soon as you step through the entrance doors you are in ‘Boomtown’. Saskatchewan boomed with economic activity from the turn of the century to 1914. Landseekers flooded the west and towns grew almost overnight. 1910 Boomtown is an indoor representation of a typical Saskatchewan town, and recaptures the atmosphere and style of this bustling period through 30 typical town buildings with accompaning ‘vehicles’ on the street.

All of the buildings were full of the appropriate items beautifully displayed and the various wagons, buggies and early automobiles added an authentic touch to the street. It was awesome!

This Marquis wheatstraw weaving was created by Mr. A.R. Rhodes of Zelma, SK in the 1920’s.

A Penny Farthing bicycle. So called because the sizes of the wheels were reminiscent of the difference in size of the two British coins.

If there is a fire engine, John will check it out thoroughly.

The walls of the watch and clock shop were covered in tick-tocking time pieces.

And there was no shortage of pocket watches either.

Just to keep us wandering there were off-shoot galleries. The first we went through was old cars. Just like the Boomtown street I took a ton of photos but I have narrowed my blog selections down a lot.

I do not like brown at all but I loved this bronzy-shade 1959 Cadillace Coupe de Ville. Factory price was $5,250. 21,924 2-door hard tops Coupe de Villes were built. Two doctors won this car in 1959.

A Minneapolis-Moline UDLX Comfortractor. A 1938 tractor with closed-car comfort. Suitable for field work during the day and a trip to town in the evening. The headlights permitted round-the-clock use.

A 1908 McLaughling Surrey.

At the end of the street was a large section with a lot of old tractors, threshers, etc. I sat on a bench and rested my feet while John took a look.

The last gallery was the Saskatchewan story and covered everything from the beginning of settlement to the electric era. Lots and lots of interesting things and stories. It was amazing how many hardships those early people suffered through.

Every homesteader’s first house – the one-room soddy.

As well as the Spanish flu there was the dustbowl of the 30’s, the Great Depression, a break-out of foot and mouth disease that caused the slaughter of thousands of cattle, and equine encephalitis. Not to mention the long distances from neighbours, lack of education and medical help, flies, dust, mosquitos, etc., etc., etc. I am so happy I was born much later. My hat is off to these people.

We had lunch in the parking lot and then headed off to see the zoo at the former Forestry Farm. The park was originally established as the Dominion Forest Nursery Station and later Sutherland Forest Nursery Station. Between 1913-1966 it was responsible for growing and shipping 147 million trees across the northern prairie provinces. The first shipment of trees were sent to farmers in 1916. The nursery grew caragana, ash, maple, elm and willow. After the nursery closed in 1966 a portion was re-opened as a city park. It is now a National Historic Site.

In 1964 the Golden Gate Animal Farm ran into financial difficulties and the city agreed to acquire the animals and equipment. The zoo was then relocated to the Forestry Farm Park.

We knew we were going to the zoo at the wrong time; mid-day on a sunny day. We feared the animals would be in their shelters taking naps and this proved to be the case. Also all of the birds have been removed to protect them from the current outbreak of Avian Influenza. We saw glimpses of the bobcat and lynx in their ‘caves’ but almost all the four-footed critters were at the back of their large compounds in the shade lying down. It was quite expensive for a zoo with only 80 species and we had to do a lot of walking to see not very much. Still it was a pleasant afternoon stroll which we would have enjoyed a bit more if we were not so foot-sore from the museum.

They have a fund-raising campaign to build a bigger enclosure for the two grizzlies and they need it.

There was no shortage of Canada Geese around the park.

The only primates were four or five Goeldi monkeys.

There were two normal brown Plains Bison and this ‘White’ one.

The only other animals we could sort of see were these two Mouflon Sheep and their half-grown kids.

We headed back to the hotel and rested before dinner. Tomorrow we plan to visit the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, which is just down the street from our hotel and then go to the University campus to the John Diefenbaker Center to see the plans and model of the Avro Arrow plane. After that we will drive north to Prince Albert for the night.

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