Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hat to the Park Virtual Trip

Hello from Swift Current report 28 1106 km

I should index this report because there is a lot of comments and if you are not interested in the topic, you can move on..


This is a relatively big city with a relatively long history

Everything is relative because if you were to move it to Ontario for example, it would never be noticed for size. If you moved it to Europe, they would think it totaly modern because any thing newer than the 1700th centry is "recent"

In prairie terms, the city has been around since the late 1881 when the C.P.R. ran it's line right to this spot. But the river has always been a stopping point for aboriginals. The Cree called it Ksiskaciwan meaning " it flows swiftly". The french fur traders called it Rivierre Au Courant which as you know also means " Swift Current" So it always has been known as Swift Current because the current in the river is fast flowing. The river actually runs for over a hundred miles but this is where the railway line intercepted so it's where the setlement started. There are about 16,00 residents which isn't much for eastern provinces but when you have nothing in any direction for at least 200 kms to the west ( Medicine Hat) 300 kms to the East ( Regina) 350 miles to the north ( Saskatoon) and Montana and North Dakota to the south, this is big!!!

Big cattle roundups brought Texas cattle over really rough, parched and desolate country to the rail lines for shipment to the markets in the east making this an important terminal hub while some locals raised sheep ( as many as 20,000 by John Oman from Scotland alone).

Buffalo bones were collected here for fertilizer, glass, bone china and sugar manufacturing. Red River Ox cart companies ran supplies to the Metis up in Batoche and when the Army arrived to put down the Riel Rebellion, this became an important staging area for the Red Coats.

City slogan is " Were life makes sense"

Recent Events

In 1946 Swift Current became a pilot project for a province wide health care program. It gained intrernational attention when it became the first Government funded medical plan in North America. It was introduced Province wide in 1962 and it was not too long before it was adopted Canada wide.

After slow and stagnant growth for almost 90 years, Swift Current, like the rest of Saskatchewan, is enjoying an economic boom.

I arrived too early for the " BIG KITE" festival. It takes place June 19 to the 21st. This is not your average saturaday afternoon back yard kite flying. Compettiors come from all over the world. Electric companies are introducing big concrete windmills to harness the wind to produce much needed power.. Up nowt, strong winds were always considered a nuisance like goffers. something you had to put up with as part of prairie living

Arts & Culture.

Swift Current isd known by artists for its culture. Its annual " Stars for Saskatchewan" always features big time names (Have you noticed how many times I have used the word " BIG" ? )

The city has the oldest operating theatre in Canada called the LYRIC. It started in 1912 at a cost of $50,000 ( today's equivilant of 5 million) and is some indication of how seriously they took the arts.

At the turn of the century, that thirst started a movement called the CHAUTAUQUA pronounced CHA-TA-KWA. Like a band of wandering minstrals, they followed a circut to over 10,000 settlements in Canada and the U.S.A, and an audience estimated to be about 45 million. Performing in tents rain or shine for a nation hungry for Education, culture and entertainment, this group of performers, musicians, entertainers, school students and teachers and evangelical preachers built what Teddy Rosevelt called " the most American thing in America" Like everything else it has been replaced. This time by Radio and talking movies, which were replaced in their time by T.V., the computer, blackberry and what ever else is coming down the road to replace them.


Every religion plus a hand full of wanna- bees are represented in Swift Current. The oldest church building is the Knox Presbyterian built in 1912 also at a cost of $50,000

( must have had the same contractor as the theatre) It was made a heritage site in 1985.

Well thats my BIG report from the BIG sky country

Till later

Doug G

Thanks Doug

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