Tag Archives: Regina

Who Maintains Saskatchewan Cemeteries?

11 Dec

Rainy Days and Mondays

Who Maintains Saskatchewan Cemeteries?

To purchase a cemetery plot in the same cemetery as one’s family, to make a donation to the cemetery or to erect a tombstone for an ancestor it may be necessary to know the contact information for the owner/operators of the cemetery. Many cemetery owners and operators rely upon the sale of burial plots to fund maintenance and development of their cemetery land tracts. Technically “the operation of cemeteries in Saskatchewan,” reported Morgan, Don, Q.C., Minister of Justice and Attorney General, “falls under the purview of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.” The genealogist or family historian is offered more than just this one path of locating the cemetery owner, operator in order to discover if an ancestor is interred in a cemetery in Saskatchewan. wonderfully there are numerous organisations involved in transcribing around 3,500 cemeteries across the province.

To determine who maintains a cemetery in Saskatchewan, one way would be to contact the local funeral home. This information can be located in the phone directory located at either Mysask.com Directory Search or through Canada 411.

There are different levels of cemetery ownership in the province. Homestead pioneer interments may be located on private land. religious denominations may establish their own cemetery and care for them within their spiritual community. The Right Honourable George John Diefenbaker (a former Prime Ministers) is an historic site listed in Government of Canada’s Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada . Diefenbaker is interred beside the Diefenbaker Canada Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Community or public cemeteries are usually owned at a municipal level. Cities may have a parks a parks and infrastructure department to look after cemeteries. Saskatchewan has 16 cities including Lloydminster, which traverses the provincial border with Alberta, but not including Flin Flon, which traverses the provincial border with Manitoba. The cities are (in alphabetical order) Estevan, Flin Flon, Humboldt, Lloydminster, Martensville, Meadow Lake, Melfort, Melville, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Warman, Weyburn, and Yorkton. Towns, and villages also maintain their own cemeteries.

Smaller communities may be cared for the by the rural municipality consisting of reeve (undertaking a similar capacity to the mayor of a city), councillors and administrator. Rural cemeteries may appoint a cemetery committee for the seasonal upkeep of the public cemetery grounds, weeding, mowing and general care, repair and grooming.

The Saskatchewan Genealogy has recorded the legal land locations, and names over 3,430 cemeteries in the province which is online “SGS Cemetery Index.” This index identifies the owner operator where known, and also if the transcript is available through the family search library maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

There are a number of organisations actively involved in transcribing, documenting and photographing cemetery tombstones. The Saskatchewan Gen Web has a listing of them online.

So now lets take an example. Suppose that in using the Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemetery Projet that one finds the Richard Cemetery is located near Speers, Saskatchewan at legal land location SW quarter of section 08- township 43- range 12 West of the 3rd meridian in the rural municipality of Douglas 436 which happens to be in the northwest area of Saskatchewan. Who would maintain this cemetery? Going to the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index and searching under he , one finds that in fact there are two Richard Cemeteries, however the ownership of both of them are unknown and neither have been transcribed by the SGS nor or they available on microfilm at the family search libraries through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If the cemetery had been transcribed by the SGS it would be a simple matter of searching the burial index. Now conducting a search on the Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery pages, to see if any other organisation has transcribed cemeteries for either the RM of Douglas or the Richard Cemetery near Speers, by using the “find feature” on your internet browser (pressing the control key and the key “f” at the same time), then it comes up that the transcription is in fact online.

To go on to help in different scenarios. If a cemetery happened to be looked after by a spiritual organisation – look to that organisation, the church archives, or the synagogue webpages for burial registers. If the cemetery transcription still is not found, one can search each organisation’s individual listing, or use your favourite internet web search engine, ie google, bing, yahoo search, etc, to see if the cemetery, closest community or rural municipality is online. Another option available to the family historian would be to Search Saskatchewan Placenames to discover which regional provincial gen web would have resources for the area around the cemetery, in this case looking up the name “Speers”. In so doing, one finds out that “Speers, Saskatchewan” (previously named New Ottawa) is located within the Saskatoon Regional gen web. Now the resources on the regional pages are also available and access to the Saskatoon Gen Web mailing list and the Saskatoon Gen Web posting (query) board where many many folks come together who also may be able to answer your query on a local regional level. It is also interesting to note that the Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery pages list other resources to locate an ancestor such as the death certificate searchable index, searchable obituaries, etc.

This helps the genealogist, but we have not found the folks who maintain the cemetery to make a donation for the cemetery upkeep, to purchase a cemetery plot or arrange for a tombstone for an existing internment. The cemetery owner can be traced by contacting the rural municipality in the Saskatchewan “Municipal Directory System” , in this case searching for the RM of Douglas 436. The other way to find the folks who maintain the cemetery would be to search for the funeral home in Mysask.com Directory Search or through Canada 411. In this example searching for a funeral home near Speers, Saskatchewan. The selection of the first and closest funeral homes which come up are in the city of North Battleford, 56.47 kilometres (35.09 miles) away, which would be able to offer assistance.

As noted on wikipedia, “cemetery authorities face a number of tensions in regard to the management of cemeteries.” Owners face issues relating to cost, limited amount of land, and the perpetual maintenance of historic monuments and headstones. If contacting a rural municipality office please consider a donation to help the cemetery operators realize the full potential of the special environment of the individual burial ground, and their improvements.

“Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;

Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes

Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,

Let’s choose executors and talk of wills”

~ William Shakespeare, Richard II


Adamson, Julia. “Cemetery Preservation: Preserving Landscapes of Memories” https://aumkleem.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/cemetery-preservation-preserving-landscapes-of-memories/ Namaste Aum Kleem. Saskatchewan Gen Web E-Magazine. 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Adamson, Julia. Saskatchewan Gen Web Saskatchewan Gen Web Project – Church / Any Spiritual Affiliation Genealogy Resources. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk/Saskatchewan/church.html Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Bylaw No. 6453. “http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/City%20Clerks%20Office/Documents/bylaws/6453.pdf City of Saskatoon. 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries Act, 1999. Ministry of Justice. Government of Saskatchewan.” http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/Cemeteries-Act-1999 1999. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries Act, 1999” http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/C4-01.pdf Chapter C-4.01* of the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1999 (effective November 1, 2001) as amended by the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 2000, c.L-5.1; 2002, c.R-8.2
; 2009, c.T-23.01 ; and 2010, c.E-9.22. Government of Saskatchewan. Documents. 1999. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries, churchyards, and burial grounds” http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110118095356/http:/www.cabe.org.uk/files/cemeteries-churchyards-and-burial-grounds.pdf National Archives. United Kingdom Government. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemetery Regulations, 2001” http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Regulations/Regulations/C4-01r1.pdf Government of Saskatchewan. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Cemeteries legal definition of Cemeteries. Cemeteries synonyms by the Free Online Law Dictionary.” http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Cemeteries. Farlex, Inc. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“City of Yorkton. Cemetery. ” http://www.yorkton.ca/dept/leisure/cemetery.asp City of Yorkton. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Desmond, Paige. “Perpetual care? Cities struggle to meet public expectations on cemetery maintenance” http://www.therecord.com/news-story/4036717-perpetual-care-cities-struggle-to-meet-public-expectations-on-cemetery-maintenance/ The Record. Metroland. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Death in the Family” http://www.plea.org/legal_resources/?a=249&searchTxt=&cat=28&pcat=4 Public Legal Education Association – Legal Resources. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“FAQ: CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project” http://cemetery.canadagenweb.org/faq.html#cem CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project 2004-2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“FAQ. Western Canada Cemetery Association. “http://www.westerncemetery.com/default.aspx?page=3 Western Canada Cemetery Association. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Funerals Entire Collection. Canadian Consumer Handbook.” http://www.consumerhandbook.ca/en/topics/products-and-services/funerals
Consumer Measures Committee. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Adamson Julia. Saskatchewan Gen Webmaster. “Landmarks and Geophysical Saskatchewan Placenames. Quiz Two.” http://aumkleem.blogspot.ca/2012/06/landmarks-and-geophysical-saskatchewan.html “Quiz Two answers. Uncovering Historical Census and Cemetery Records.” http://aumkleem.blogspot.ca/2012/06/uncovering-historical-census-and.html Namaste Aum Kleem Saskatchewan Gen Web E Magazine. 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Morgan, Don, Q.C. Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “Saskatchewan’s Historic cemeteries.” http://www.otcommunications.com/images/issue/sept10net.pdf Network Magazine. Canadian Cemetery Management. September 2010. Volume 24 No. 10. 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Municipal Directory System” http://www.mds.gov.sk.ca/apps/Pub/MDS/welcome.aspx Government of Saskatchewan. Municipal Directory System. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Ontario Gen Web Project Cemetery Records. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canon/research-topic-cemetery.html Ontario Gen Web Project. [Though for Ontario, a report on cemetery records, access and information available] 1997-2013 Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Refer to Bylaws and Regulations. City of Regina.” http://www.regina.ca/residents/cemeteries/cemetery-regulations/ City of Regina. 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

<aref=”http://www.regina.ca/residents/cemeteries/cemetery-regulations/&#8221; Refer to Bylaw and
“SGS Cemetery Index” http://www.saskgenealogy.com/cemetery/Cemetery_Index.htm” Saskatchewan Genealogy Society. 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Saskatchewan looking to preservation of Cemeteries. Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.” 2009. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Saskatchewan Provincial Government Wants to Preserve Forgotten Cemeteries. http://www.genealogyblog.com/?p=7215 Genealogy Blog. Canada, Cemeteries, Saskatchewan. 2009. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Town of Biggar, Saskatchewan. Bylaw No. 99-613. A Bylw to Acquire, maintain, regulate and control the Biggar Cemetery. http://www.townofbiggar.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/221 Town of Biggar. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“367/09 Cemetery Bylaw | Town of Stoughton 367/09 Cemetery Bylaw | Crossroads of Friendship” http://stoughtonsk.ca/36709-cemetery-bylaw/ Town of Stoughton. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“Weyburn. The Opportunity City. Services. Cemeteries.” http://www.weyburn.ca/modules.php?name=Sections&op=viewarticle&artid=22 Retrieved December 11, 2013.

“The graveyard was at the top of the hill. It looked over all of the town. The town was hills – hills that issued down in trickles and then creeks and then rivers of cobblestone into the town, to flood the town with rough and beautiful stone that had been polished into smooth flatness over the centuries. It was a pointed irony that the very best view of the town could be had from the cemetery hill, where high, thick walls surrounded a collection of tombstones like wedding cakes, frosted with white angels and iced with ribbons and scrolls, one against another, toppling, shining cold. It was like a cake confectioner’s yard. Some tombs were big as beds. From here, on freezing evenings, you could look down at the candle-lit valley, hear dogs bark, sharp as tuning forks banged on a flat stone, see all the funeral processions coming up the hill in the dark, coffins balanced on shoulders.”~ Ray Bradbury


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Naval Monument honours prairie Royal Canadian Navy seamen and ships H.M.C.S. Regina (K234) and H.M.C.S. Weyburn (K 173)

26 Sep

Naval Monument honours Royal Canadian Navy prairie seamen and RCN ships
H.M.C.S. Regina (K234) and H.M.C.S. Weyburn (K 173)

John Thompson RCNVR (V 34087), a cook aboard the HMCS Regina aged 24 son of Robert Parker Thompson and Helena Thompson, of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan was one of the naval seamen honoured on Sunday, September 22, 2013 at an unveiling ceremony held on Navy Way in Regina, Saskatchewan in front of the HMCS Queen naval reserve unit.

The Friends of the Navy have honoured Royal Canadian Navy sailors who hail from Saskatchewan, particularly those who fell in World War II. The new Saskatchewan Naval monument honours the naval ships, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Weyburn and the HMCS Regina who were both lost in World War II. The HMCS Weyburn on the 67th anniversary of its sinking was commemorated earlier during the centennial year of the Royal Canadian Navy in 2010. Royal Canadian Navy ships paid tribute to dozens Saskatchewan Communities in their naming including the HMCS Waskesiu and the HMCS Estevan.

The HMCS Weyburn (K 173), the namesake for the city of Weyburn was a flower class corvette mainly serving in the Battle of the Atlantic. This smaller ship was needed as an escort ship and equipped by minesweeping gear. However, on February 32, 1943 at 11:17 a.m., the Weyburn struck a large SSMA (Sonder Mine A) magnetic mine laid by German U-boat U-118. The mine, new technology for the time, could be laid as deep as 350 meters, and the Weyburn taken three weeks after the charge was laid was one of the first victims. Though HMS Wivern assisted Weyburn after the initial explosion, two depth charges exploded, everyone in the water, and crew members of the Wivern were killed or severely injured. Of the 83 officers and men aboard the Weyburn 12 died and there were 71 survivors.

The HMCS Regina (K 234), was another Saskatchewan namesake for the province’s capital city, Regina. HMCS Regina, was a flower-class corvette also engaged in escort duties in the Second World War. The American Liberty Ship, the Ezra Weston was a cargo ship carrying war material to the theatre of war. The Ezra Weston took a torpedo from the U-667. Her only escort was the HMCS Regina who was under the impression that the merchant ship had fallen to a mine. Therefore the Regina turned to assist the flailing ship and pick up survivors. The U-boat then also fired on the corvette. Within 30 seconds on August 8, 1944 at 9:27 p.m., one officer and 27 men fell.

Robert Watkins, a prairie sailor out of Winnipeg, sums it up this way, “during the war, the one thing he was scared of was the submarines, if the supply lines from Canada and the U.S. had dried up on account of the submarines, Britain would have gone under.”

Alongside John Thompson, Douglas Peter Robertson RCNVR (V 11460) son of Robert Angus Robertson and Elizabeth Jane Robertson, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan aged 26 fell August 8, 1944 in his capacity as Petty Officer Stoker aboard the HMCS Regina. As well, John Charles Henry Rathbone RCNVR (V 34478), son of John and Florence Rathbone, of Regina, Saskatchewan, aged 27 who took on the duties of supply assistant did not survive his wounds incurred that fatal evening. These three Saskatchewan prairie naval reservists lost their lives along with their crew mates, British and Canadian Navy sailors.

The Fall Action Stations magazine reports that, “exactly how many Saskatchewanians served in the RCN during the war is hard to estimate as many volunteered at recruiting offices outside the province, and vice versa. And due to wartime staffing pressures, sailors from a particular city or town rarely served on the ship bearing its name.”

For instance, Joseph McGrath, V/11616, son of Margaret McGrath of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, serving with the Royal Canadian Volunteer Reserve aboard the HMCS Athabaskan was one of those honoured in the commemorative naming program of the Saskatchewan Geographic Names Board with the naming of McGrath Lake in Saskatchewan.

Natural geographic features across Saskatchewan honour armed forces personnel and merchant sailors from the Second World War and the Korean War, and also those who fell during peacekeeping or NATO missions, or while protecting the public while on active duty such as police officers, firefighters, and Emergency Response Personnel.

The Naval Memorial erected at a cost of about $30,00 honours was spear-headed by Doug Archer, Chairman of the Friends of the Navy, and Steve Smedley. There are over 6,000 war memorials in Canada remembering those who fought with courage. Saskatoon’s Next of Kin Memorial Avenue in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is a national historic site. Both the Regina Cemetery and the North Battleford Cemetery are homes to two of the 28 Crosses of Sacrifice. Alongside these memorials, the Royal Canadian Legion branches and towns across Saskatchewan have erected monuments and cenotaphs honouring those who fell in military service from their community.

Quoting Lieutenant James Balfour, himself a prairie seaman, serving in the naval reserve stemmed from “the belief that there are things that are more important than just you as an individual, it’s about serving your country and doing something for the good of others.”

Terrence McEachern of The Leader Post quoted Doug Archer, former mayor of Regina, “We are so truly blessed that others have gone before us to preserve our freedom and our democracy. We need to honour them and never forget the contribution they’ve made.”

~Article written by Julia Adamson


Adamson, Julia. Commander Harold Wilson Balfour OBE VD RCNVR Recognized for Outstanding Civic Service and Meritorious Military Achievement. H.W. Balfour’s Truly Impressive Career.

CMHC 200 National Defence. Canadian Military History Since the 17th Century Proceedings of the Canadian Military History Coinvernce Ottawa 5-9 May 2000. Edited by Yves Tremblay. National Defence 2001.

CWGC Works 2007 Commonwealth War Graves Commission (Canada) .

Crewlist from HMCS Weyburn ( 173) Canadian Corvette) Ships hit by German U-=boats Uboat.net. 1995 – 2013 Guðmundur Helgason

Crewlist from HMCS Regina 1995 – 2013 Guðmundur Helgason

Falloon, Dan.Veteran hoping to commemorate fellow sailors. 04 24 2013. Winnipeg Free Press.

For Posterity’s Sake Canadian Genealogy HMCS Weyburn K173 Corvette Ships hit by German U-boats during WWII uboat.net. 1995 – 2013 Guðmundur Helgason

HMCS Regina (K 234) of the Royal Canadian Navy – Canadian Corvette of the Flower class – Allied warships of WWII uboat.net. 1995 – 2013 Guðmundur Helgason

HMCS Regina (K 234) Canadian K 234) (Canadian Corvette) ships hit by German U boats during WWII 1995 – 2013 Guðmundur Helgason

HMCS Regina (K234) Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia

HMCS Weyburn (K173) (Canadian Corvette) Ships hit by German U-boats during WWII uboat.net 1995 – 2013 Guðmundur Helgason

HMCS Weyburn (K173) Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. id version =571908407.

Home/About Government/News Releases/November 2006/New Commemorative Naming Program to Recognize Saskatchewan Heroes. Government of Saskatchewan. c/o Grant Bastedo. Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan ISC

JosephMcGrath – The Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Records and Collections. Veteran’s Affairs Canada. Government of Canada. 2013-07-29.

Liberty Ship. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. id version=572158310

Mceachern, Terrence. Monument honours Navy seamen from Sask The Leader-Post, republished The StarPhoenix. September 23, 2013. 2010 – 2013 Postmedia Network Inc.

Naval Memorial Installation. Friends of the Navy.

Naval Monument Planned for Regina. From the files of Will Chabun, Leader Post, Regina. Memorial Honours RCN War Hero. 2012 Fall Action Stations. Volume 30 Issue 5 HMCS Sackville Newsletter.

Christianson, Adriana. Navy Reservists in Regina Commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic. May 6, 2013. New Saskatchewan Naval Monument. 620 CKRM the Source. Harvard Broadcasting Radio Stations September 23, 2013.

Remembrance Day Tribute. Let us remember those who served in the wars of yesterday and today. November 12, 2010.

Travel Article: Lest We Forget: Outstanding Canadian War Memorials / 1994-2013 World Web Technologies Inc.

Volume 2 Part 1 Extant Commissioned Ships. HMCS Regina. National Defence and the Canadian Forces. DHH Home. Histories. 2006-07-07. Government of Canada.


For More Information:

•Saskatchewan Gen Web Military Resources

•Canada In Flanders – The Official Story of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Volume I

•Saskatchewan Gen Web E-Magazine


Related posts:

Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

Michelle Lang. Canadian Journalist. Jan 31, 1975-Dec 30, 2009. Afghanistan Casualty.

Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial Site Updated

How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

Where were Saskatchewan Homesteads Located?

How do I locate my ancstor’s home town in Saskatchewan? Have you ever visited your ancestral home?


Thank you for stopping by, your comments are much appreciated. All rights reserved. Copyright © Aum Kleem. All my images and text are protected under international authors copyright laws and Canadian photography laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission. They may be licensed throgh Getty images. Peace and love be with you. Namaste.


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Naval Monument, Royal Canadian Navy, Prairie Sailors, Tribute, Commemoration, H.M.C.S. Regina (K234), H.M.C.S. Weyburn (K 173) HMCS REgina, HMCS Weyburn, John Thompson, HMCS Queen, Doug Archer,Joseph McGrath, Lieutenant James Balfour, Steve Smedley, Friends of the Navy, Robert Watkins,Douglas Peter Robertson, John Charles Henry Rathbone, Naval Monument, Royal Canadian Navy, Prairie Sailors, Tribute, Commemoration, H.M.C.S. Regina (K234), H.M.C.S. Weyburn (K 173) HMCS REgina, HMCS Weyburn, John Thompson, HMCS Queen, Doug Archer,Joseph McGrath, Lieutenant James Balfour, Steve Smedley, Friends of the Navy, Robert Watkins,Douglas Peter Robertson, John Charles Henry Rathbone, CA, Canada, Sk, Sask, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, North Battleford, Regina, Prince Albert, Weyburn, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Naval Monument, Royal Canadian Navy, Prairie Sailors, Tribute, Commemoration, H.M.C.S. Regina (K234), H.M.C.S. Weyburn (K 173) HMCS REgina, HMCS Weyburn, John Thompson, HMCS Queen, Doug Archer,Joseph McGrath, Lieutenant James Balfour, Steve Smedley, Friends of the Navy, Robert Watkins,Douglas Peter Robertson, John Charles Henry Rathbone, Naval Monument, Royal Canadian Navy, Prairie Sailors, Tribute, Commemoration, H.M.C.S. Regina (K234), H.M.C.S. Weyburn (K 173) HMCS REgina, HMCS Weyburn, John Thompson, HMCS Queen, Doug Archer,Joseph McGrath, Lieutenant James Balfour, Steve Smedley, Friends of the Navy, Robert Watkins,Douglas Peter Robertson, John Charles Henry Rathbone, CA, Canada, Sk, Sask, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, North Battleford, Regina, Prince Albert, Weyburn, Winnipeg, Manitoba,

From potential to realty ~ The Regina Normal School

9 May

From potential to realty

The Regina Normal School

With additional notes regarding the Regina College

University of Saskatchewan ~ Regina campus

University of Regina

History tells us where we come from and where we are going. Paradoxically, it is about the future as
much as it is about the past. Historical commemoration has always been about identity building, taking pride in past accomplishments and projecting forward a sense of purpose and mission. As individuals, we give our lives meaning by telling stories about ourselves and then living out the narratives. The same is true of institutions. “
~James Pitsula Realize. It starts with you

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas E. Perrett in reminiscing of the “early days” of the Normal School related tales of the very “early efforts to obtain an education act and this was given in 1883 but assented to in 1886. In 1890 in the training school then existing, six third-class teachers were trained. From that small beginning the figures rose to 1,162 teachers trained this year (1922)”Morning Leader 1922

During these early days Mr. Frederick William Gordon Haultain was the President of the Executive Council, or Premier of the North-West Territories, as well as Commissioner of Public Instruction and Commissioner of Education, with Mr. David James Goggin appointed first as Director of Normal Schools then as Chief Superintendent of Education. Both Goggin and Haultain did not support the denominalisation of the North West territories school system aiming instead towards a unified nondenominational school system.

“Education among the people is the best security of a good government and constitutional liberty; it yields a steady, unbending support to the former, and effectually protects the latter. An educated people are always a loyal people to good government; and the first object of a wise government should be the education of the people. An educated people are always enterprising in all kinds of general and local improvements.“  Egerton Ryerson Putman 1912

Sir Frederick Haultain, “father of Saskatchewan’s Educational System” said that in 1888, there were 96 teachers for 90 schools and 2,409 pupils across the entire North West Territory.The Morning Leader Feb 26, 1920 The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan places early classes for teacher instruction beginning in 1890. Short training courses offered as set out by a School Ordinance of 1888 provided for Normal Departments with the objective of teacher training. Norman Fergus Black writes that Mr. A.H. Smith, B.A. principal of the Moosomin Union School offered the first classes informally between 1889 and 1890.

“The first authorized Normal sessions were given by the Board at Regina and Moosomin schools beginning in the fall of 1890” Irene A Poelzer Whenever there were ten pupils wishing Normal training, sessions to obtain a third class certificate were established at any Union School ie Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Yorkton, Moosomin, Moose Jaw, Weyburn and Estevan. H. W. Foght named the two teacher schools a farm community union school, whereas a three or more teacher school was termed a farm community consolidated school.

….. School Inspector John Hewgill taught at Moosomin in 1890 with six in attendance, and William Rothwell, B.A. offered teacher training classes through 1892 and 1893 in Regina. These inaugural classes were “invitational”. James Grassick, pupil of Regina’s first school presented the first teacher’s certificate issued, January 20, 1891 at the Regina school district No. 4 50th re-union in 1935. Ken Horsman relates that Dr. David J. Goggin, former principal of the Winnipeg Normal School in 1884 was the inaugural principal of the North-West Territories Normal School in the spring of 1893 operating out of Regina’s Union School.

…..Before the Normal School is formally established under Goggin, fifty five teachers were provided with teachers training by school inspectors in the North West Territories. “The Regina Normal School was initially housed in the Regina Union School at Hamilton Street and 11th Avenue, (also known as “The White School”). Later the teaching college relocated to South Railway Avenue in the “Second Glasgow House”.

By 1896, there were 258 students enrolled in the Normal School programme, necessitating a move to Alexandra School according to a report prepared by Allan Duddridge. Goggin, born in Ontario, studied under Egerton Ryerson, an advocate of public education for all.

” On the importance of education generally we may remark it is as necessary as the light – it should be as common as water and as free as air. “  Egerton Ryerson Putman 1912

…..Teaching certificates and teacher training was compulsory for teachers in the North West Territories as of 1893 school legislation. Teachers hired came from Eastern Canada with teaching certificates if they were not trained at the superintendent classes.

Goggin was followed by D.P. McColl in 1903, the second principal of the Regina Normal School. According to the City of Regina archives, classes were held in the attic of the Union School on Hamilton Street and 11th Avenue as early as 1903. Erected in 1890, it was more commonly known as “The White School.” The Union School closed in 1905. It was torn down and replaced with Simpsons Department Store. Presently the Canada Trust Building is located on the old Union School site. Allan Duddridge states in his report, The Old Normal School: Heritage Assessment of Building and Site in Regina in comparison with Saskatoon and Moose Jaw that Normal School classes were held at Alexandra School on Hamilton Street in 1896 with an enrolment of 258 students, and the Union School was used before this time.


Alexandra School 1909 Postcard 13097: Rice Lewis, Alexandra School, Regina, Sask. (c1911)
Credit: Postcard 13097: Rice Lewis, Alexandra School, Regina, Sask. (c1911) PeelD.P. McColl was soon appointed the Deputy Commissioner of Education under J.A. Calder Minister of Education who then called upon McColl to assume the role as registrar of the newly forming University of Saskatchewan. Lieutenant Thomas E. Perrett became the principal in 1905 having joined the teaching staff in 1904.

…..The year that Saskatchewan became a province, ” 1905 there were 1,011 teachers employed in Saskatchewan; when Mr. Scott retired 5,677 were engaged in the teaching profession and today (1923) the number is over 7,000. In teacher training work, the province has also shown remarkable growth. In the year in which the province was formed 187 teachers were trained in the normal schools; 911 received training 11 years later, and 1,574 last year. [1922]” reminisced Premier Dunning, “the number of pupils grew during Mr. Scott’s Premiership from 25,191 to 125,590, or multiplied five times during the period. The number of pupils enrolled today (1923) is 183,329.”The Morning Leader 1923

It was in 1906 that the controversy began regarding the location for the University of Saskatchewan. Moose Jaw, Indian Head, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and Regina each brought forward their case before the University committee to have the provincial University located in their locale. The University Act of 1907 passed by the legislature enabled this body the right to confer degrees in Saskatchewan. The vote on April 7, 1909 was cast in favour of Saskatoon.


The Regina Normal school was housed in Alexandra school / the Red School in 1909 when Perrett left to serve with the armed forces. Alexandra School, erected in 1896 was named the Red School, a moniker taken on from its red brick construction. The name changed to Alexandra School in 1906 according to the Regina Public Library. In 1914 it moved again as neighbours to the Regina College site at Broad Street and College Avenue, occupying the space now held by the Fine Arts Building of the University of Regina. Regina Heritage Walking Tours mention that the Regina Police Department was housed in the old Alexandra School in 1921.

Regina Normal School 1910 Post Card 2662 Normal School Valentine & Son's Publishing Co. Ltd. Normal School, Regina, Sask. (1910)
Credit Post Card 2662 Normal School Valentine & Son’s Publishing Co. Ltd. Normal School, Regina, Sask. (1910) Peel…..

The construction of the Regina College was completed before a permanent building was established for the Regina Normal School. Separate locations, scope and purposes were established for both of these institutions ~ the Regina College and the Regina Normal School ~ which grew and evolved next door to each other on College Avenue. Students at the Regina College who had received their high school matriculation there may choose to pursue teacher training courses at the Regina Normal School.

…..The Methodist Church applied for a provincial charter to establish the Regina College in 1911 with Reverend Dr. Wilbur Williams Andrews set up as the first president of the college. The Methodist Saskatchewan Conference did not have its own Theological College, being served by the Wesley College in Winnipeg.

“Public spiritedness and unselfish aims are demanded by the very conditions of our social and national life.” Reverend Wilbur W. Andrews. Heritage and Hope

Until money could be raised for the Regina College, the city of Regina offered the use of the old Victoria Hospital built in 1901 on Hamilton Street as the new and larger Regina General Hospital was ready to open in 1911. The Regina College opened at 2240 Hamilton Street for classes September 5th 1911. The college buildings were located between Hamilton and Scarth streets and fourteenth and fifteenth avenues.

The Regina College built as a residential school for 200 students offered a ladies college, commercial study courses, music academy, collegiate courses encompassing second year university classes, and adult general education classes. According to the “Committee on Education of the Saskatchewan Conference, Methodist Church”, the institute was intended as a residential school offering preparatory classes for Grade XII or first year university, music, business and classes to upgrade public school instruction for high school work.Mombourquette 1986.

Francis Nicholson Darke financier, alderman, MP, and Regina Mayor contributed $85,000 towards the Regina College, and was a leading force in raising the remainder of the money to buy land north of Wascana Lake and west of Broad Street for the college building. The Regina College administration building cost $275, 000.

…..The Methodist Church received a gift of $100,000 from the Massey estate of Toronto towards the Regina College in 1910. Construction began for the Regina College building on 16th Avenue in May of 1911, and the cornerstone was laid by Lieutenant Governor Brown in the fall of 1911. This building complete with piano practicing rooms, conservatory, dining room, kitchen and classrooms was designed by Brown and Vallance. The exterior was to feature two towers at each end of the building and was designed in the Queen Anne style of architecture.

Regina CollegeLaying of the cornerstone for Regina College, October 25, 1911. (Photo # 80-2-1). credit University Regina Digital Collections
…..The Fairbanks – Morse Building (1911), Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Office (1913), University of Saskatchewan, College Building (1912 ), Canada Life Building in Regina in 1914 were all designed by prominent Montreal firm Brown and Vallance, followed by the
The Regina College featured a musical conservatory and provided preparatory and industrial work while serving as a residential college. The Regina College opened for classes September 5, 1911 with about 200 enrolled.

On October 13, 1912, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught, the Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Canada, was present at the official grand opening of the Regina College. The college chose “Ut qui ministrat” Gospel of Luke Chapter 22 verse 27 as its motto, translated to “As One Who Serves”. Rev. Robert Milliken, B. D. succeeded Andrews as president of the Regina College in 1913.

A posse ad esse” translated from Latin as “from potential to realty” became the motto of the Regina Normal School. A more literal translation would be from “being able to being” interpreted as “from possibility to actuality” or “from being possible to being actual”. For teachers and students at the Regina Normal School, they adopted this belief that any possibility could become a realty.

Official opening of Regina College buildingOfficial opening of Regina College building credit U of R Digital Collections

We believe an intelligent citizenship with high moral and social ideals is the only true wealth and strength of any nation, the only assurance of prosperity and permanency. For the purpose of assisting to raise up such a citizenship we open the halls of Regina College without religious test to the young people of the Province of Saskatchewan.” D.J. Thom secretary of the BoardMorning Leader Oct 14, 1912

Official opening of Regina College building
Official opening of Regina College building credit University Regina Digital Collections…..The provincial Normal School had an attendance of over 350 during the 1911 school year. The initial costs for the new Normal School for Regina were pegged at approximately $300,000.

…..The Regina Provincial Normal School was under construction in 1913 on College Avenue and Broad Street upon the old jail grounds. (As noted by the City of Regina archives 16th avenue was renamed College Avenue.) A small section of the school was completed in 1912 comprising administration offices, dining room, chapel, student residences, and library. Thusly, a permanent location for the Regina Normal School was established in 1914 serving the province as the sole teacher training institution until 1922.

…..The teacher training institution received its name as a “Normal School” from the French education system Ecole normale superieure.” Designed in 1913 by the architects Storey and Van Egmond using a Collegiate Gothic style, the cornerstone was officially laid by Chief Justice F.W.G Haultain on March 30, 1913. This ceremony was chaired by Premier Scott. A notice dated November 28, 1913 was placed in the Morning Leader regarding the Alexandra school; “the Alexandra School, now occupied by the Normal School, will be to rent from January 1, 1914”. Classes opened for the winter session in the new Normal School building on January 5 of 1914 with 165 students enrolled. At this time a few classes were “still held” outside the building: Manual Training took place at Strathcona School and Domestic Science at Victoria School.

 Regina Normal School City of Regina Archival Records Collection : CORA-A-2132
Credit: Regina Normal School under construction ca 1913 City of Regina Archival Records Collection : CORA-A-2132…..The first Regina Public library built in 1912 in Regina (demolished in 1961), Eddy Apartments (1914), Saskatchewan Cooperative Elevator Building (1914), the Traveller’s Building (1929), Balfour Apartments (1929) were also designed by the prominent architects Storey and Van Egmond.

Regina Normal School 1914 Postcard 12856 Lovell & Co. New Normal School Regina (cca. 1911)
Regina Normal School 1914 Postcard credit Postcard 12856 Lovell & Co. New Normal School Regina (cca. 1911) Peel…..
Upon reviewing Wascana Centre Authority plans for the current Regina College building, the Conservatory Building and West Tower were constructed together between the years 1914 to 1916 after the main building was erected. The design plans of Brown and Vallance called for a symmetrical design with both east and west towers, however the east tower was never constructed. The College Building has a variety of styles, shapes and roof forms divided into the west Tower, Conservatory North Block, Conservatory South Block, and Gallery Building. Darke Hall was erected as a separate building adjacent to the College Building. The Regina Normal School was another separate building located near the intersection of College Avenue and Broad Street.

Regina Normal School / Darke Hall / Regina College
Regina Normal School / Regina College / Darke Hall
adapted from Wascana Centre Authority University of Regina (with permission)…..Dr. R.A. Wilson held the post of principal of the Regina Normal School while T.E. Perrett was serving in World War 1, and Perrett resumed his post in 1915 after being wounded and permanently blinded during his service of duty.


Early advertisements announced that the residential school students at the Regina College were prepared for Grade VIII, Junior and Senior Matriculation, and offered classes in household science and dressmaking, business, art expression, music, and agriculture. [ Satisfactory completion of grade 12 was considered junior matriculation, and satisfactory completion of grade 13 was senior matriculation.] Whereas, the Regina Normal School provided teacher training courses.

After eleven or twelve years of schooling, a junior matriculation exit examination could be taken indicating completion of high school work. Following twelve or thirteen years of school, a senior matriculation exit examination was written for completion of an additional year of study generally considered a college work. Matriculation examinations admitted graduates directly into university, normal schools or faculty of education. The high school department examinations encompassed Standard V, VI, VII (later referred to as grades 9 through 12) whereas the public school department included Standard I, II, III, IV, IV (later termed grades 1 through 8). Class I designated 66 per cent or higher grade achievement, Class II certificates were awarded for grade scores of 55 to 66 per cent, and class III below 50 per cent.The Leader Post 1894

…..Due to the drastic shortage of teachers in Saskatchewan’s history provincial, and temporary teaching certificates were issued in order to prevent school closures. The salaries of teachers in English Canada, 1900-1940: a reappraisal states that a third class certificate was less than a complete high school education. Provisional certificates were those issued when requirements fell short of provincial regulations. In the early 1900s teachers could be hired with a first class, superior first class, second class, provisional, or third class (provincial) teaching certificate.

Regina College
Regina College, Women’s residence is under construction, ca. 1914. (Ph…..oto # 80-2-5) credit U of R Digital Collections…..By 1918, there were 150 enrolled at the Regina Normal School. During the 1920s a “short course” lasting four months was offered by the Normal Schools whereby, a student could upgrade their third class certificate to second class. By 1920 there were 6,500 teachers, for 4,300 schools instructing 151,000 students. The schools operated under 13,000 school trustees and 46 inspectors. The Morning Leader Feb 26, 1920 It was in 1924, that the Normal School system reached peak enrollment applications. 466 students in Regina, and 381 at Saskatoon were registered to attend. Applicants from out of the province had to be turned away.

…..F. M Quance served as principal of the Regina Normal School in 1926 followed by G.D. Ralston in 1927. In the province, at the end of 1926, there were 7,779 teachers hired. 1,724 had first class certificates, 3,907 with second class, 2,129 with third class and 19 with provisional certification.Leader Post 1957 Chas. E. Little, president of the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Association, spoke of the need to ensure that all teachers have a second class certificate as a minimum requirement for teaching, and to decrease third class and provisional teachers.Morning Leader 1926 By the start of the 1927 school season, there were three Normal Schools in the province, Regina and Saskatoon with a new one opening up in Moose Jaw.

…..With another sizeable donation in 1929 from F.N. Darke to the Regina College, the F.N. Darke Building was erected complete with pipe organ to provide music and art instruction. When the United Church of Canada was formed in 1925, amalgamating the Canadian Methodist Church, the Congregational Union of Canada, and Canadian Presbyterians, the Regina college therefore transferred to the United Church of Canada.

Reverend Dr. Ernest W. Stapleford who was the President of the Regina College between 1915 to 1937, had a desire to enable the Regina College to become an independent University. This wish did not come to fruition during his tenure due to the stock market collapse and the drought of the 1930s.
In 1934, the Regina College came under the jurisdiction of the University of Saskatchewan as a second campus of the U of S. severing connections with the United Church of Canada. A gift of $50,000 from the Carnegie Foundation for Higher Education was applied to the accumulated debt of $72,000 against the Regina College.

“Great as was the operating loss of 1934-5, it is more than offset by the advantages resulting from the attainment of the University’s great objective – to be the one recipient of state aid for University purposes and the sole degree conferring power in the province.” ~ Walter Murray, president of the University of Saskatchewan, 1908-1937

…..G.N. Griffin was appointed principal of the Regina Normal School in 1938. Between 1906 and 1940 22,492 teaching certificates had been issued.

The Regina Normal School along with the Regina College buildings served as a Royal Canadian Air Force training centre for the British Commonwealth Air Training Scheme during World War II. Initially Regina Normal School classes were re-located to the Regina Lakeview School, and then into the Regina Trading Company Building located five blocks away on Scarth Street and 12th Avenue between 1940-1944.

Steward Basterfield, Regina College dean 1940 to 1950, is quoted as saying, “we regret having to vacate our own delightful halls, but we are still a community of scholars, and can, in the ardent pursuit of knowledge, easily forget the small inconveniences imposed on us by the exigencies of war.”

The correspondence classes housed at Benson school were also asked to move. Due to declining enrollment, the Regina Normal School closed completely in 1944 and students were served from the Moose Jaw and Saskatoon Normal Schools.

 Sherwood Department Store, Regina Trading Company Building - Regina Normal School 1940-1944, now the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool
Originally the Sherwood Department Store,
then the Regina Trading Company Building ~ and ~ Regina Normal School 1940-1944,
now the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool: credit RPL Photograph Collection

“An education is not complete unless it has breadth. Our plains have breadth. Education reaches out in all directions; it is not to be directed inwards. Our aim, to give a broad education, is well presented by the feature, the Plains.” Lee Greenberg. Heritage and Hope

Following the second world war, students with a grade 10 or 11 matriculation were no longer accepted into the Normal School system for teacher training. Work done at the normal schools was recognized as first year course work towards a bachelor of education degree by the University of Saskatchewan in 1946. The salaries of teachers in English Canada, 1900-1940: a reappraisal states that generally the requirements for teaching certificates; “a second-class, grade XI or XII (equal to junior matriculation), and a first-class, grade XII or XIII (senior matriculation)”.

…..By the early 1950s a drastic shortage of qualified teachers discussions commenced regarding the re-opening of the Regina Normal School. The education system had come to rely on supervisors or “sitters” for classes in Saskatchewan. The name changed to “Teacher’s Colleges” from “Normal Schools” according to the University Act of 1953. In 1956 there were 7,624 teachers hired in the province of Saskatchewan, 1,028 were hired with professional certification, 1,474 with standard, 4,440 possessing interim standard, 298 holding second class certificates, 80 with special and 304 provisional certificates had been issued.Leader Post 1957.


When renovations were complete to the interior of the building and the necessary expansions made, the Regina Normal School building re-opened as the Regina’s Teacher’s College in January of 1960. In the fall of 1961, the Regina College opened as the “University of Saskatchewan – Regina Campus” on Wascana Parkway.

 “Let there be information retrieval…let there also be value retrieval…Open the doors and let in all mankind who seek answers…Above all, let in youth. Help those to interpret the call of the trumpet notes that sound faint in their ears.” John Archer. Heritage and Hope

The original Normal School building became part of the Regina College Avenue complex forming the beginnings of the University at Regina. James M. Pitsula, author of As One Who Serves: The Making of the University of Regina reports, the Normal School at College Avenue and Broad Street served for teacher training classes until the education building was opened on the University of Saskatchewan ~ Regina campus in 1969. The University of Regina achieved full status as an independent university on July 1, 1974.

“As we celebrate a century of education in 2011…it is crucial that as a community we celebrate our shared history of excellence in teaching, research and community service that began at Regina College. The University of Regina’s beginnings were humble. As more and more people walked the halls at Regina College, they saw the value of the education we provide and they contributed to the success of the University along the way. The brick buildings at College Avenue do not just represent our past. They are a strong reminder of the foundation that was laid a century ago – a foundation that we must continue to build on for the future of our students and our province.” University of Regina President and Vice Chancellor Vianne Timmons. History (Alumni)

 Regina College building U of R July 2010 Masalai Wikimedia Commons
Credit: U of R July 2010 Masalai Wikimedia Commons

Article written by Julia Adamson



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Michelle Lang- Canadian Journalist Jan 31, 1975-Dec 30, 2009

12 Nov

Spring's Sweet Cantata

Michelle Lang- Canadian Journalist, Jan 31, 1975-Dec 30, 2009

Lest We Forget

Michelle Justine Lang, (January 31, 1975-December 30, 2009) journalist had ties to Saskatchewan, holding a position in Moose Jaw at the Moose Jaw Times Herald. She followed by an agricultural breaking news for the Regina Leader-Post, as her career took her to Regina.

Throughout her formative years in journalism she embraced dedication, tenacity, and enthusiasm.

Graduating from Simon Fraser University, her first journalism position was out of Prince George, British Columbia at the Prince George Free Press. Staying on at the Cariboo Press community newspaper, she was honoured as outstanding junior reporter in 1999.

Her final posting was with The Calgary Herald, Postmedia News.

Her unique interviewing style placed others at ease, enhancing her investigative reporting abilities.

National Newspaper Award was conferred upon Lang in 2008 for outstanding journalism.

It was soon to follow, that in 2009 she traveled to Kandahar to report first hand on the efforts of the Canadian military seeking to improve life for the Afghan people. On December 11, 2009, Lang set down at the NATO military base at Kandahar Airfield for a six week assignment with Canwest News Service (later Postmedia News) which was cut short in her third week abroad.

It was here that she lived on the Kandahar Airfield base in a tent, and she was free to go off base accompanying the soldiers doing their manoeuvres.

“Prior to her leaving she asked me what I wanted to read, and I said I wanted to read about the good stuff that they’re doing over there. She died trying to get those types of stories,” reminisced her fiancé, Michael Louie.

Canwest, editor Randy Newell spoke of Lang’s desire to follow up on her experience as a medical reporter in Calgary, and report on hospital care during her visit to Kandahar.

Wednesday morning, December 30, Lang boarded a helicopter and flew to the Kandahar Military-Civilian base, leaving the comparative safety of the airfield base behind.

Lang, wearing both helmet and body armour traveled along with nine soldiers in the Dand District Centre, Kandahar District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan aboard a Light Armored Vehicle (LAV-3) as part of the Stabilization Company A convoy.

The Dand District Centre construction project was one of two major initiatives undertaken in December of 2009 by the Canadians following a suicide bombing by two Taliban insurgents in March of 2009.

Lieutenant Colonel Roch Pelletier, chief of operations for the Canadian brigade in Kandahar reported that the 12 ton vehicle was flipped completely over, and flung off the road by the homemade explosive device, also called an improvised explosive device (IED), set under the road dubbed Route Molson Ice.

Lang, and four Canadian soldiers lost their lives along this quiet dirt road about four kilometers outside of Kandahar City at about 4:00 p.m. Private Garrett Chidley, Corporal Zachery McCormack, Sergeant George Miok, Sergeant Kirk Taylor lost their lives that fateful Wednesday.

The other four Canadian soldiers sustained injuries in the blast along with their Afghan interpreter and a civilian. Corporal Bradly Darren Quast required a number of surgeries to mend injuries to his leg and foot.

The Kandahar City-based Provincial Reconstruction Team was on its second routine patrol when the second vehicle exploded. They were reportedly heading to the Hosi Aziz village at 16:00 to meet with local residents regarding further projects.

“They look for quick-fix projects or longer term projects to (give jobs to) those who could be possible insurgents — fighting age males, said Lieutenant-Colonel Pelletier, “It gives them a reason to earn money and that is better than working for the insurgents planting IEDs. At the same time it improves their quality of life. They often work on irrigation canals, wells, schools, mosques.”.

Lang, embedded with embedded with Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg), interviewed civilians, and soldiers in her twenty days abroad focusing on development and reconstruction of cities and rural villages. Federal cabinet minister Gary Lunn and Canada’s chief of defence staff, General Walter Natynczyk also met with Lang over the Christmas season.

Michelle Lang’s online blog headlines of her time at Kandahar:

Lang, the first Canadian journalist killed during the Afghan conflict received military honours at a ramp ceremony on January 1, 2010.

I believe the Canadian Forces did it to recognize the people who take the same risks, who are here for the right reasons . . . who are here to learn more and help,” spake Adam Sweet, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade officer with Canada’s Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), “She was a real sweetheart. When you talked to her you felt good. Even if you didn’t have the answer she wanted, she’d just laugh. She was very easygoing.

The ramp ceremony was followed by a repatriation ceremony in Trenton at the Canadian Forces Base there.

Lang answered the call to duty and although not donned in uniform is engraved with honour on a Saskatchewan plaque remembering fourteen soldiers who fell in Afghanistan as part of the Canadian military mission.

The Afghanistan Plaque carries the names of those with ties to Saskatchewan, honouring,

  • Corporal Jordan Anderson
  • Corporal James Hayward Arnal
  • Corporal Cole Barsch
  • Lieutenant Justin Boyes
  • Corporal David Braun
  • Captain Nichola Goddard
  • Corporal Shane Keating
  • Corporal Bryce Keller
  • Michelle Lang
  • Sergeant Darby Morin
  • Lieutenant Andrew Nutall
  • Master Corporal Josh Roberts
  • Sergeant Prescott (Scott) Shipway
  • Corporal Dustin Waden
  • Master Corporal Jeffrey Walsh

The Joint Task Force Cenotaph erected in 2006 paid tribute to the soldiers at Kandahar Field. The marble cenotaph was shipped to Ottawa November 10, 2011. This memorial honoured 149 fallen Canadian Forces soldiers, Lang, civilian Marc Cyr, and Foreign Affairs official Glyn Berry.

Their memories were also preserved upon the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial astride the Bay of Quinte in Bain Park near the largest Canadian Forces Base, Trenton was unveiled Saturday November 10, 2012.

Canada’s price in the Afghanistan mission took the lives of 158 armed forces personnel, one diplomat, two aid workers along with Lang. Even though Canada has withdrawn from combat operations in Kandahar, Canada is still active in training Afghan military and police forces for another two years involving 900 soldiers.

The Saskatchewan War Memorial on the Legislative grounds, west of the Provincial Legislature Buildings on Memorial Way, Regina, Saskatchewan, honours over 10,000 Canadian Forces personnel who offered the ultimate sacrifice in wartime and peacetime missions.

Art and Sandra Lang, her parents, attended the unveiling ceremony in Regina, Saskatchewan on Saturday, October 23, 2010.

Along with her parents, her immediate family includes her brother Cameron Lang, and his fiancee Sandra Benavide, and many relatives who mourn their loss. Lang was engaged to Louie from Calgary, Alberta with a proposed marriage date of July 3, 2010.

The Michelle Lang Fellowship, created posthumously in her honour, provides a rookie journalist with six months employment at Postmedia News, Ottawa, and six months at The Calgary Herald. The experience provides networking and first hand journalism orientation facilitating confidence and success for a rewarding career in journalism.

In the preceding decade, over 500 journalists have been killed reported the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. In 2008, Melissa Fung, a CBC reporter was held kidnapped by Afghn rebels. In Afghanistan, three journalists had been previously injured.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) created a listing online comemmorating over close to 950 journalists killed in action since 1992 providing timelines and narrative biographies.

“While not regularly the subject of news, those journalists who risk their lives reporting alongside the men and women of the Canadian Forces in one of the most dangerous regions in the world should not be forgotten,” affirmed Director of Communications / Press Secretary Prime Minister’s Office, Dimitri Soudas.

Natynczyk honoured her memory along with the fallen soldiers, “She was a tremendous Canadian, tremendous professional journalist and a role model for all young people and young women striking out on a career that is very difficult,” Natynczyk says, “”You know to some, those are names. To me, those are great people. Great soldiers. Great journalist. People who have gone across to the other side of the world to try to bring peace right here. … It’s very humbling to be here today and to share this with all the families so that they know that their loved ones’ service and sacrifice will never be forgotten by our country.“



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Distance Learning ~ Saskatchewan Correspondence School History

1 Oct

Autumn Returns

Distance Learning ~The History of the Saskatchewan Correspondence School

Correspondence lessons were initiated and petitioned for by Catherine Sheldon-Williams who was Saskatchewan’s pioneer in the field of distance learning. Her courses nurtured individual students residing in isolated areas, regions without one room schoolhouses, and areas without high school collegiate institutions, opening to them new opportunities to reach their potential. The courses expanded to include ill pupils, those who were physically disabled, and adults seeking education.

Both the Sheldon-Williams Collegiate in Regina and a public school scholarship are named in honour of Miss Catherine Sheldon-Williams, commemorating her works, a true “Adventure in Education”. Or, perhaps Charles Dickens says it best, “It is well for a man to respect his own vocation, whatever it is, and to
think himself bound to uphold it, and to claim for it the respect it deserves.”

Early pioneers benefited from innovative courses set forward by the University of Saskatchewan. In 1907 the University of Saskatchewan offered the ‘Better Farming’ demonstration trains, “Homemaker” short courses and ‘Canadian Youth Vocational Training Workshops’ as an initiation into Saskatchewan’s distance learning experience. These experimental training grounds were the forerunner to the correspondence classes invaluable to the vast expanses of Saskatchewan’s rural population.

Education by mail first originated in British Columbia to serve the educational needs of a lighthouse keeper’s family. The British Columbia Minister of Education, J.D. MacLean was wary of the success of such a programme; “To carry on the education of children in remote country districts unprovided with a school through a system of correspondence cannot, I am afraid, prove successful. Some degree of success would attend the system in the case of say high school pupils but constant supervision by a teacher is necessary if progress is to be made by pupils who have never before attended school.” The experimental lessons were an immediate success, 86 pupils were enrolled by the end of the first year, over 200 in the second.

Year of Correspondence Schools Inception by province

British Columbia 1919
Nova Scotia 1921
Alberta 1923
Saskatchewan 1925
Ontario 1926
Manitoba 1927
New Brunswick 1939
Quebec 1946

The idea spread to Alberta, and soon Saskatchewan residents living near the fourth meridian asked if Saskatchewan had similar mail courses or if they could enrol with the Alberta Correspondence School, ACS. Here is where the “Adventures in Education” stylings of Catherine Shledon-Williams come to the forefront.

Catherine Sheldon-Williams (1869-1949) born in Hampshire, England arrived at the Cannington Manor, Assiniboia, Northwest Territories in 1889 and soon thereafter changed the education landscape in the province of Saskatchewan. Starting out by assisting her father, a gentleman farmer on the land, she soon turned to teaching and began her career at the Wolseley Normal School. She was placed in charge of the Boys Industrial School in Wolseley in 1915.

The former court house in Wolseley was converted to an Industrial School housing youth between the ages of ten and 17 who run afoul of the law. For those working with these youth, special qualifications, patience and a friendly interest in the child were needed to avoid any further court proceedings. Youth could be paroled from the Industrial School to a foster care home with progress shown in school lessons, proper conduct and industry in farm, and shop work such as shoe repairs, baking or laundry duties.

Between 1919 and 1920 the boys living at the Boys Detention House in Wolseley were moved into the vacant Regina Indian Industrial School building which continued to serve Saskatchewan’s delinquent and dependent youth until a fire destroyed the building in 1948. (The building is re-built as the Wascana Rehabilitation Center, then the school was moved to to the outskirts of Regina and became known as the Paul Dojack Center for youthful offenders.)

Sheldon-Williams had initiated a ‘school by mail’ on an unofficial basis as part of a follow-up service to youths released from this detention facility.

Joining the Saskatchewan Department of Education in 1920, Sheldon-Williams campaigned for a province wide correspondence school, “she used the needs of the settlers as expressed in letters and reports, as well as her own interest in and dedication to correspondence education, to convince the decision makers to provide education by mail to remote sections of the province.”page 87

From these humble beginnings the “Saskatchewan Correspondence School” arose in 1925 to bring education to remote rural areas. The original intent of the School was to enable pupils to continue on with their secondary schooling past the grades offered in the One Room Schoolhouse.

Housed in a small room in the West Wing of the Regina Legislative Building, Sheldon-Williams worked alone between 1925-1927 preparing lessons and handling all the typing and clerical work. She adapted the lesson sheets individually to the level of learning for her initial 44 distance pupils, empathizing with each student needs no matter the distance.

The imperative within correspondence schools is not only the preparation of course development, the lessons, examinations, texts and materials but being responsive to the needs of the student providing them with support. There is an Instruction Sheet for the Home Instructors, who may be one room schoolhouse teacher, or “the busy mother on a farm who comes in from planting crops to dictate Johnny’s Spelling lesson.” Personal letters, snapshots begin to convey to the Correspondence School teacher, the living conditions of the students and their family, and their school background. The Correspondence School was not just a repository of reports, and school marks, but also a contact between the child in a solitary outpost and the outside world via their distance tutor.

Eighty years later this continues said Sandra Lalonde, assistant principal of the Saskatchewan Government Correspondence School “But I know from when I taught that you get to know the voice of the students and you do establish a relationship which is very gratifying. Our students tend to be more independent learners in a lot of ways and we see our role as being their guides.”

By 1926 the the enrolment of the Saskatchewan “Outpost Correspondence School” and in 1928, 247 students. The service soon expanded to serve not only isolated students, but those suffering from illness or physical disability, those employed in an occuaption, and adults.

Manitoba’s provisional department of education followed suit, and established their school system of correspondence to enable students living in remote areas to receive instruction, as well as those pupils limited by physical handicap.

Communities could petition the Department of Education to establish a one room school house district if there were ten school aged children within a 36 square mile area. However, high schools were sparsely located in 1918  considering the size of the province. There were seven collegiate institutes, in Moose Jaw, Moosomin, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Weyburn, and Yorkton and fifteen high schools located in Arcola, Battleford, Carlyle, Estevan, Humboldt, Indian Head, Maple Creek, Melfort, North Battleford, Oxbow, Qu’Appelle, Strassburg, Swift Current, Wilkie and Wynyard.

If an older student could not be transported to these locations for their secondary education, the correspondence lessons supported those pupils who wished to broaden their learning opportunities. Likewise, students who could not attend school in an area which could not support a one room schoolhouse, could be granted a formal education and receive lessons by mail. During times when a teacher could not be found for the one room schoolhouse, or under conditions of low enrolment when a school closed correspondence lessons served successfully in their stead.

In public school children were taught Standards I-V between 1889 and the 1920s. The first high school grade was referred to as Standard VI before commencing with grades 1 through 8 for the elementary schools. It was not unusual for a one room schoolhouse teacher to teach as many as seventy students in grades one to eight and provide supervision for the older students who took grades high school classes by correspondence. As teachers were in short supply it happened that a public school graduate may be hired to begin teaching school, and that they finish their high school grades via correspondence.

Correspondence schools indeed did fill a much needed resource for those living in sparsely populated regions. The “Grand Lady of Saskatchewan Education”, Sheldon-Williams, enabled students without access to a high school to continue on in their education. Sheldon-Williams, “The Lady on the Bicycle“, continued on with the correspondence school until 1929. Grand Lady of Saskatchewan Education garnered this moniker, as she always rode her bike, named “Eustache” wherever she went. It was in 1930 that the Saskatchewan Correspondence School was formed to continue the work of the Outpost Correspondence School.

About 20 per cent of correspondence students were of foreign extraction. James Hargreaves, officer-in-charge of British Columbia’s mining
correspondence courses noted that after several years these pupils did not show the same progress as English-speaking correspondence students due to the difficulty of receiving assistance from their parents. In many such cases, an interested friend often came forward to help these students.

The school continued with advancements adding radio broadcasts in 1931, computer based internet learning in the 1970s and television broadcasts.

The Saskatchewan Correspondence School became the forerunner to home-based education which became recognized formally in Saskatchewan legislation in 1982, and in 1987 polices, and procedures regarding the operation of a home base school were implemented with a parent Handbook released in 1994.

In the first 75  years of its operation the correspondence school in Saskatchewan served more than half a million students extending classes as far away as the United States, Europe and Asia. The Saskatchewan Correspondence School plays an integral part of the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Centre

“I would say we have students in most schools in the province and in fact some of our biggest classes are in our urban areas. It’s not like what people might think and that students are in some outposts.  Originally maybe it was more that way, but we have such a range now that you can’t say that,” said Lalonde, “We look upon technology as an opportunity to assist and guide our students and to provide them with additional resources. We would be in trouble if we didn’t evolve our programs and it’s just another way we can have better connections with our students.”

“Education is the knowledge of how to use the whole of oneself. Many men use but one or two faculties out of the score with which they are endowed. A man is educated who knows how to make a tool of every faculty–how to open it, how to keep it sharp, and how to apply it to all practical purposes.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher


Catherine Sheldon-Williams. McCaig, J.W., Gardiner J.W., Klein, Will. The Saskatchewanians.m Saskatchewan Diamond Jubilee and Canada Centennial Corporation. 1967. p.87

Other sources are given inline within the text of the article.

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The Debate Regarding Saskatchewan Consolidated Schools

30 Sep

Viburnum Trilobum ~ High Bush Cranberry ~ Explore

The Debate Regarding Saskatchewan Consolidated Schools

Wherever there were ten school aged children within a 36 square mile area, early Saskatchewan pioneers and homesteaders could apply for a One Room Schoolhouse District. The little white schoolhouse soon began dotting the prairie landscape, and along with it came a host of attendant responsibilities. Communities elected school trustees to apply to the provincial government and the rural municipality for funding towards schoolhouse, teacherage and barn construction costs, teacher, secretary salary. A teacher was required along with support structure of water, books, maps, desks, stove and heating fuel.

Rural farmers or homesteaders were faced with the challenge of proving up their homestead which necessitate that the new settler must build a residence, live on the land for three years, make improvements and break a minimum of fifteen acres. Times were hard, money was scarce, community residents could pay taxes or supply a couple days per quarter section labour constructing much needed roads, bridges, and fireguards in lieu of paying taxes. However, it was the taxes which kept the one room schoolhouse operational and paid the school teacher‘s salary.

The prairie school system began in 1884 with four established school districts Moose Jaw #1, Qu’Appelle #2, Prince Albert #3, and Regina #4. By 1913 in the province of Saskatchewan alone, there were 3,214 school districts, 15 Roman Catholic Separate Schools and two Protestant Separate School Districts.

Dr. Harold W. Foght, reported in A Survey of Education 1918 that Saskatchewan had 3,608 school districts operating in 1916 under 4,279 teachers, with another 406 school districts which had been organised. “By the early 1930s, Saskatchewan possessed 4,371 rural schools…These schools were administered by 4,371 autonomous school boards, composed of 13,113 duly elected trustees, 4,371 paid secretaries, and a retinue of odd jobs people, who kept the school clean, hauled and cut wood for the classroom’s pot bellied stove, and supplied water to schools which were without their own wells ~ that is, where these chores were not part of the teacher’s duties,” reported Robert Tyre page 3 in Tales out of School ~ The Little Red Schoolhouse.

To maintain a one room schoolhouse in 1915 ratepayers were apportioned taxes based upon the number of students attending school which covered half the teacher’s salary. The remaining portion of the salary was collected from taxes based on a fixed rate per quarter section of land in the school district area. On average a resident may pay between $17.00 to $23.00.

Teachers during this era may receive $20 ro $30 per teaching month along with housing and the lower salary supplemented with farm goods. Teacher’s were expected to work out or farm when school was not in operation.

“There are too many School Districts with summer schools only, a scarcity of duly qualified teachers to man the existing districts and the new ones daily created, …four-fifths of Saskatchewan’s school children are denied the advantages of an education which town and city people can and do enjoy,” reported Arthur A. Frye on interviewing a rural school teacher. The system of non-education set in place in 1915 was considered more expensive than Consolidated Schools with qualified teachers.

Even though legislation was passed in Saskatchewan as early as 1920 had passed legislation in favour of consolidated schools, but as Sir Frederick Haultain, chief justice of Saskatchewan and chancellor of the Saskatchewan University, pointed out that Saskatchewan’s small population did not support such provision.

Mr. Morris secretary-treasurer of the Ontario School Trustees’ Association felt that consolidated schools in Ontario, of which there were 16 in 1922 would be more successful in that province. Saskatchewan being more sparsely populated would face higher operation costs.

Premier W.M. Martin, Saskatchewan’s minister of education in 1921 spoke of the costs to maintain both the consolidated schools and the transportation costs. “The law calls for the province to provide one-third of the cost of conveying the children to school in the consolidated districts. If all the districts in the province were to consolidate, I do not know where we would get the money to pay the costs. Earlier, Martin mentioned that Saskatchewan had about 4,500 schools in the province. The rate of taxation is at $40 to $75 a section to maintain a consolidated school.

It was in 1939, that Mr. Justice W.M. Martin leading a commission on Education advised that a fair and equitable salary for teachers. Schools were managed jointly by the provincial government authority and locally by the school district, and during this time the government was finding it difficult to collect taxes to pay for the schools, and the school district, as well was hard pressed to raise funds. A new system for collection of school taxes wax implemented in 1939 which helped to impose a minimum wage of $700 for teachers. Rural districts reviewed their taxation rate to raise the operational costs of $950 for a one room schoolhouse.

Problems arose in 1946 trying to transport children to consolidated schools over roads which could not be cleared of snow due to a lack of equipment.

Rural municipality borders should be set before those of the consolidated school units to ensure more uniform tax rates collected by RMs advised J.M. Wheatley of Chancellor, AB president of the Alberta Union of Municipal Districts addressing the 1946 Rural Municipalities Association delegation.

The provincial government underwent a crisis in logistical coordination of local government services stated J.H. Brockelbank, Resources Minister in 1956.
Larger school units meet with on average ten RMs up to as many as 17 to coordinate planning of road systems. The RM may itself be divided by larger school units, and collect taxes for two, three or four school units along with any rural consolidated schools not within the larger school unit and any remaining one room school districts. This means that the rural municipality council must collaborate with up to four larger school unit boards to collect taxes and plan the needed road programs. Province wide in 1956 there were 300 school districts, 29 consolidated school districts, and 56 larger school units coordinating with 296 rural municipalities, 370 towns, 98 villages, and eight cities.

Historically, in 1916 each rural municipality had dealt with on average about fifteen one room schoolhouse districts.

The evolution from the one room schoolhouse to consolidated schools was made possible by

  1. Improvements in transportation as society shifted from horse and cart upon Red River Cart trails to automotive transport on asphalt roads and highways.
  2. A shift from rural areas to urban regional centres during the “Dirty Thirties”.
  3. Emergence of the larger farm and improved wheat yields due to new machinery fueling the growth of urban service centres.
  4. A need to downsize the number of school organizational units to reduce financial costs and to eliminate duplication of administration services which could be amalgamated.<
  5. Declining enrolment in rural one room schoolhouses resulted in school closures as early as July 26, 1944. Any schools which had less than 15 students enrolled were closed in an effort to relieve the shortage of teachers according to The Calgary Herald.
  6. A restructuring of the taxation system.

Jointly these were the main factors which enabled the shift from thousands of rural one room school houses to the “modern” consolidated school unit and transportation system.

“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”~G. K. Chesterson

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Saskatchewan From Many People’s Strength ~ A Birthday Quiz

8 Aug

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Saskatchewan’s birthday celebration arrives on September 1. On September 1, 1905, Saskatchewan became a province, with inaugural celebrations held September 4. September 1, 2005 was the 100th anniversary of our province, and in 2012 we carry on the tradition with the 107th anniversary celebration!

Who were some of the people within the Saskatchewan communities? What were some of the local histories and events? The provincial motto Multis e gentibus vires is Latin meaning “From Many Peoples Strength.” If you were to delve into the history of the province of Saskatchewan what questions would you ask? What questions would you form about the people and its residents?

Here is a short quiz centering upon the province of Saskatchewan, its people culture and formation.

1. Amongst its various nicknames, The City of Bridges, The Hub City, POW City, and Paris of the Prairies, which city is referred to?

2. Regina is the provincial capital city, what was its earlier nick name?

3. What is the name of the Crown corporation formed in the year, 2000?

4. Name one of the very first naval engagements which involved the Canadian forces.

5. Where was the first “University of Saskatchewan” incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1883?

6. Who was Canada’s first commercially licensed aviation pilot?

7. Would prairie fires, sickness, neighbourhood rivalry be included as a part of the Saskatchewan Homestead Record files? True or False.

8. Following the First World War (1914-1918), returning soldiers had to be re-settled in Canada what program was put into effect?

9. On March 27, 1883 Regina became the capital of the North-West Territories. Before this which two placenames had been the territorial capital (both within the area now known as Saskatchewan)?

10. When did schooling change from Hudson Bay Company sponsored missionaries established by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches to each provincial and territorial government?

11. Who was Saskatchewan’s first woman Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) who successfully achieved the demarcation of historical sites throughout the province?

12. In 1873 the “Cypress Hills Massacre” instigated a group of men to gather for “The Great March” acting on the motto “Maintiens Le Droit” (Uphold the Right) What was the name of this column of men on horseback?


Related links:

Saskatchewan Quiz

Saskatchewan quiz – Canada.com

Saskatoon 100 Quiz CBC Saskatchewan

Celebrating Saskatchewan’s Heritage Artifact Quiz ~Saskatoon Public Schools

Sask Gen Web for Kids of all ages ~! Genealogy puzzlers and History Games

Land Claims in Saskatchewan Quiz ~ Saskatchewan Schools

Saskatchewan Trivia ~ Government of Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Roughriders 100 years Quiz 2 Regina Leader Post

Saskatchewan Roughriders 100 years Quiz 1 Regina Leader Post

CBC Saskatchewan “Tales from the Tornado 1912-2012” Tornado Quiz

Fransaskois Quiz ~ Canada’s Offical Languages Newsletter

Oline Heritage Quiz ~ For Teachers and Students – Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport – Government of Saskatchewan

Virtual Museums of Canada Quiz in Prairie Museums


Related Posts:

Homestead Locations Township and Range Quizzes

Test Your Knowledge of Saskatchewan’s Placenames. Quiz One.

The Value of Standardizing Placenames for Genealogists. Quiz One. Answers.

Landmarks and Geophysical Saskatchewan Placenames. Quiz Two.

Uncovering Historical Census and Cemetery Records ~ Answers to Quiz 2


Passionate Embrace ~ Pink Rose by Julia Adamson (AumKleem) on 500px.com
Passionate Embrace ~ Pink Rose by Julia Adamson

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