How did Pioneers Travel to their Prairie Homestead?

14 Jan

Emotional Experience

Transportation in Saskatchewan has evolved through history. Beginning with travel on foot and by horseback, travelers added travois, Red River Cart, Bull boats and canoes.

Early immigrants to western Canada entered mainly via the port of Halifax or New York traversing the ocean on ocean liners and ships. From these eastern ports, the European immigrant traveled westerly.

Ruts in the old trails would at times carve ten or twelve grooves along the trail for the Red River Carts as they blazed through in all types of weather. Early pioneers would avail themselves of steamboat or ferry to transport their belongings or farming equipment as close as possible to their new homestead.

It wasn’t until after 1867 when the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railways competed to bring rail across the prairies. In the early 1900s pioneer railroads forged across the grasslands bringing with them immigrants arriving eager to embark on homesteading the “Last Best West“.

Roads and bridges began to appear as Fire Districts, Statute Labour and Fire (SLF) Districts or Statute Labour Districts were established in the North West Territories. Residents could provide labour in lieu of paying taxes. Their work would establish fire breaks and early roads and bridges. Local Improvement Districts followed in the footsteps of the early SLF districts and also provided infrastructure services and firebreaks for protection against runaway grass fires.

The first roads were those allocated by surveyors who laid out benchmarks for homesteads and roads across the prairies. Road allowances were allowed every mile for those extending north – south. The roads which traversed the province east – west were established at two mile intervals.

Local Improvement Districts were the pre-cursors to Rural Municipalities (RM). The RMs continued in these services, and also sought education, and health facilities for the district.

Following the establishment of the Government of Saskatchewan in 1905, Departments began to form. In the 1940s more households across the province had access to a family vehicle and the department of Transportation worked in conjunction with the RMs to provide highway maintenance, upgrades and construction. Main thoroughfares which had been “on the square” were straightened and asphalt layed.

Passenger service on air services

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe. “ ~Anatole France
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How to locate birth, marriage and death certificates in Saskatchewan, Canada

Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

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