Courtesy Western Development Museum Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada Gordon Wilson, Manager George Shepherd, Curator.
Canada celebrates its one hundredth birthday during the year 1967 and the three Western Development Museum branches are already becoming hives of activity in preparation for Centennial year. The City of Saskatoon celebrated its 60th, anniversary as a city in 1966 and the Museum was pleased to be able to add its share to the festivities during 1966. Situated on each side of the South Saskatchewan River it is known as The City of Bridges. The province was still in the homesteading stage sixty years ago.
This year from the middle of June right through until the first week of September the Western Development Museum will have a traveling exhibit touring the province of Saskatchewan. The months of July and August are booked up solid for the one day stands. This Museum will be featuring this activity as one of its many contributions to Canada's Centennial Year. The exhibit will consist of about one hundred items ranging all the way from a 1912 steam tractor to ancient autos, early farm implements and household items.
The smaller displays will be housed in a large marquee tent suitably decorated with a Centennial Motif.
On Dominion Day of July first 1966 a giant radio hook up linked all of Canada's eleven provinces and territories. Each province was allowed eight minutes, to the split second, and the broadcast moved across Canada in a most impressive manner. The Western Development Museum at Saskatoon was given the exclusive honor of representing Saskatchewan for the entire eight minutes. As readers of the Iron Men might well surmise the broadcast, originating, right from the Museum grounds, started off with a couple of long toots from a steam engine. This sound, so familiar to old timers, was heard clear across Canada. A running commentary was made by the Museum staff.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Television people desired the recreation of an old time threshing scene as part of their Centennial cross Canada program and again the Museum was called on for help. A farmer eight miles out of the city was found who had harvested 190 acres of wheat with a power binder. A 60 year old Buffalo Pitts wooden body separator was brought out of retirement at the Museum along with a 25 - 75 Case steamer. A setting was provided making a perfect replica of harvesting with the old time threshing crew, even to the separator man with his long spouted oil can. It takes days of preparation to make a film that will only run for about twenty minutes.
The North Battleford branch of the Western Development Museum was extremely active during 1966 and -will be more so in 1967. With wonderful co-operation from the citizens of the town a complete pioneer village of a dozen or fifteen buildings has been set up on the Museum grounds. There is a lovely little church, a one room country school, blacksmith shop, machine shop, ladies wear, in fact about everything that one would expect to see in a prairie town of sixty years ago. This is the only one of its kind in Saskatchewan at the present time.
Included in the village at North Battleford is one of the old time steam railway locomotives and a truly magnificent private railway coach that is a real prize. The North Battleford Museum is at the junction of highways 4 and 5. To make sure that tourists do not miss the Museum there is a faithful replica of a giant Scarlett coated Mountie seated astride his black horse. The horse and rider measure close to 23 feet to the tip of the riders upraised lance.
Back at Saskatoon the Antique Car Club of that city are busy restoring a 1912 five passenger Rambler touring car. This is a major undertaking and is being done in the Museum workshop. It is hoped to drive this car clear down to Montreal, two thousand miles away where the giant Expo 67 is being staged. Also on the drafting board at Saskatoon is the rebuilding of a forty horse Reeves steamer.
The Western Development Museum has around 125 farm steam tractors on hand, over 250 of the old lime gas tractors and the same number of antique autos along with hundreds of smaller exhibits relating to the early history of the province. It is small wonder that the Museum for sees a continuous restoration program for the future years.
The big annual Pion-Era show will be held on the Museum grounds June 30 to July 8 this year. We invite you to share Centennial Year with us at any time during 1967. We are a grass roots down to earth organization so dress is optional. It is an old well worn saying but very true of the Museum that 'You are only a stranger here once.' Be seeing you.