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Saskatchewan Listeni /səˈskætʃɪwɑːn/ is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of 588,276 square kilometres (227,100 sq mi). Saskatchewan is bounded on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the American states of Montana and North Dakota.


As of July 2010, the population of Saskatchewan was estimated at 1,045,662. Residents primarily live in the southern half of the province. Of the total population, 257,300 live in the province's largest city, Saskatoon, while 194,971 live in the provincial capital, Regina. Other major cities include Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current and North Battleford.


Saskatchewan was first explored by Europeans in 1690 and settled in 1774; prior to that, it was populated by several indigenous tribes. It became a province in 1905. Saskatchewan's current premier is Brad Wall and its lieutenant-governor is Gordon Barnhart. Its major industries are agriculture, mining, and energy.


The province's name is derived from the Saskatchewan River. Earlier, the river was designated kisiskāciwani-sīpiy ("swift flowing river") in the Cree language.


Viewed from space, Saskatchewan appears to be a quadrilateral. However, because of its size, the 49th parallel boundary and the 60th northern border appear curved. Additionally, the eastern boundary of the province is partially crooked rather than following a line of longitude, as correction lines were devised by surveyors prior to the homestead program (1880–1928).




Saskatchewan is bounded on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the American states of Montana and North Dakota. Saskatchewan has the distinction of being the only Canadian province for which no borders correspond to physical geographic features (i.e. they are parallels and meridians). Along with Alberta, Saskatchewan is one of two provinces that are land-locked.


The overwhelming majority of Saskatchewan's population is located in the southern third of the province, south of the 53rd parallel.


Saskatchewan contains two major natural regions: the Canadian Shield in the north and the Interior Plains in the south. Northern Saskatchewan is mostly covered by boreal forest except for the Lake Athabasca Sand Dunes, the largest active sand dunes in the world north of 58°, and adjacent to the southern shore of Lake Athabasca. Southern Saskatchewan contains another area with sand dunes known as the "Great Sand Hills" covering over 300 square kilometres (120 sq mi). The Cypress Hills, located in the southwestern corner of Saskatchewan and Killdeer Badlands (Grasslands National Park), are areas of the province that remained unglaciated during the last glaciation period.


The province's highest point, at 1,468 metres (4,816 ft), is located in the Cypress Hills and is the highest geographical point above sea-level between the Rocky Mountains and Quebec. The lowest point is the shore of Lake Athabasca, at 213 metres (699 ft). The province has fourteen major drainage basins made up of various rivers and watersheds draining into the Arctic Ocean, Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.


Saskatchewan lies far from any significant body of water. This fact, combined with its northerly latitude, gives it a warm summer version of humid continental climate (Köppen type Dfb) in the central and most of the eastern part as well as the Cypress Hills, drying off to a semi-arid steppe climate (Köppen type BSk) in the southern and southwestern part of the province. The northern parts of Saskatchewan — from about La Ronge northward — have a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc). Summers can be very hot, with temperatures sometimes above 32 °C (90 °F) during the day, and humidity decreasing from northeast to southwest. Warm southern winds blow from the United States during much of July and August, while winters can be bitterly cold, with high temperatures not breaking −17 °C (1.4 °F) for weeks at a time, warm chinook winds often blow from the west, bringing periods of mild weather. Annual precipitation averages 30 to 45 centimetres (12 to 18 inches) across the province, with the bulk of rain falling in June, July, and August.


The hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada happened in Saskatchewan. The temperature rose to 45 degrees Celsius in Midale and Yellow Grass. The coldest ever recorded was −56.7 degrees Celsius in Prince Albert, which is north of Saskatoon.




Prior to European settlement, Saskatchewan was populated by various indigenous peoples of North America, including members of the Athabaskan, Algonquian, Atsina, Cree, Saulteaux and Sioux tribes. The first European to enter Saskatchewan was Henry Kelsey in 1690, who travelled up the Saskatchewan River in hopes of trading fur with the province's indigenous peoples. The first permanent European settlement was a Hudson's Bay Company post at Cumberland House, founded in 1774 by Samuel Hearne.


In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase transferred from France to the United States part of what is now Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 1818 it was ceded to the United Kingdom. Most of what is now Saskatchewan, though, was part of Rupert's Land and controlled by the Hudson's Bay Company, which claimed rights to all watersheds flowing into Hudson Bay, including the Saskatchewan, Churchill, Assiniboine, Souris, and Qu'Appelle River systems.


In the late 1850s and early 1860s, scientific expeditions led by John Palliser and Henry Youle Hind explored the prairie region of the province.




In 1870, Canada acquired the Hudson's Bay Company's territories and formed the North-West Territories to administer the vast territory between British Columbia and Manitoba. The Crown also entered into a series of numbered treaties with the indigenous peoples of the area, which serve as the basis of the relationship between First Nations, as they are called today, and the Crown.


In 1885, post-Confederation Canada's first "naval battle" was fought in Saskatchewan, when a steamship engaged the Métis at Batoche in the North-West Rebellion.


A seminal event in the history of what was to become Western Canada was the 1874 "March West" of the federal government's new North-West Mounted Police. Despite poor equipment and lack of provisions, the men on the march persevered and established a federal presence in the new territory. Historians[who?] have argued that had this expedition been unsuccessful, the expansionist United States would have been sorely tempted to expand into the political vacuum.[citation needed] And even had it not, then the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway would have been delayed or taken a different, more northerly route, stunting the early growth of towns like Brandon, Regina, Medicine Hat and Calgary — had these existed at all. Failure to construct the railway could also have forced British Columbia to join the United States.


Settlement of the province started to take off as the Canadian Pacific Railway was built in the early 1880s, and the Canadian government divided up the land by the Dominion Land Survey and gave free land to any willing settlers.




The North-West Mounted Police set up several posts and forts across Saskatchewan including Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills, and Wood Mountain Post in south-central Saskatchewan near the United States border.


In 1876, following the Battle of Little Bighorn Lakota, Chief Sitting Bull led several thousand of his people to Wood Mountain. Wood Mountain Reserve was founded in 1914.


Many Métis people, who had not been signatories to a treaty, had moved to the Southbranch Settlement and Prince Albert district north of present-day Saskatoon following the Red River Resistance in Manitoba in 1870. In the early 1880s, the Canadian government refused to hear the Métis' grievances, which stemmed from land-use issues. Finally, in 1885, the Métis, led by Louis Riel, staged the North-West Rebellion and declared a provisional government. They were defeated by a Canadian militia brought to the Canadian prairies by the new Canadian Pacific Railway. Riel – who surrendered and was convicted of treason in a packed Regina courtroom – was hanged on November 16, 1885.


As more settlers came to the prairies on the railway, the population grew, and Saskatchewan became a province on September 1, 1905; inauguration day was held September 4. The Homestead Act permitted settlers to acquire one quarter of a square mile of land to homestead and offered an additional quarter upon establishing a homestead. Immigration peaked in 1910, and in spite of the initial difficulties of frontier life, distance from towns, sod homes, and backbreaking labour, a prosperous agrarian society was established.




In 1913, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association was established as Saskatchewan's first ranchers' organization. Three objectives were laid out at the founding convention in 1913 have served as a guide: to watch over legislation; to forward the interests of the Stock Growers in every honourable and legitimate way; and to suggest to parliament legislation to meet changing conditions and requirements. Its farming equivalent, the Saskatchewan Grain Growers Association, was the dominant political force in the province until the 1920s and had close ties with the governing Liberal party.


In the late 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan imported from the United States and Ontario and gained brief popularity in WASP nativist circles in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Klan, briefly allied with the provincial Conservative party because of their mutual dislike for Premier James G. "Jimmy" Gardiner and his Liberals (who ferociously fought the Klan), enjoyed about two years of prominence, then disappeared, victims of widespread political and media opposition plus scandals involving their own funds.


In 1970, the first annual Canadian Western Agribition was held in Regina. This farm-industry trade show, with its heavy emphasis on livestock, is rated as one of the five top livestock shows in North America, along with those in Houston, Denver, Louisville and Toronto.


According to the 2006 Canadian census, the largest ethnic group in Saskatchewan is German (30.0%), followed by English (26.5%), Scottish (19.2%), Irish (15.3%), Ukrainian (13.6%), French (12.4%), First Nations (12.1%), Norwegian (7.2%), Polish (6.0%), Métis (4.4%), Dutch (3.7%), Russian (3.7%) and Swedish (3.5%) - although 18.1% of all respondents also identified their ethnicity as "Canadian".




The largest denominations by number of adherents according to the 2001 census were the Roman Catholic Church with 286,815 (30%); the United Church of Canada with 187,450 (20%); and the Lutherans with 78,520 (8%). 148,535 (15.4%) responded "no religion".


Ten largest municipalities by population


This list does not include Lloydminster, which has a total population of 24,028 but straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. As of 2006, only 8,118 people lived on the Saskatchewan side, which would make it Saskatchewan's 11th largest municipality. All of the listed communities are considered cities by the province, with the exception of Corman Park, which is a rural municipality. Municipalities in the province with a population of 5,000 or more can receive official city status.


Saskatchewan's economy is associated with agriculture; however, increasing diversification has meant that now agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting together make up only 6.8% of the province's GDP. Saskatchewan grows 45% of Canada's grain.[citation needed] Wheat is the most familiar crop and the one most often associated with the province (there are sheafs of wheat depicted on the coat of arms of Saskatchewan), but other grains like canola, flax, rye, oats, peas, lentils, canary seed, and barley are also produced. Beef cattle production in the province is only exceeded by Alberta. Mining is also a major industry in the province, with Saskatchewan being the world's largest exporter of potash and uranium. In the northern part of the province, forestry is also a significant industry.


Oil and natural gas production is also a very important part of Saskatchewan's economy, although the oil industry is larger. Only Alberta exceeds the province in overall oil production. Heavy crude is extracted in the Lloydminster-Kerrobert-Kindersley areas. Light crude is found in the Kindersley-Swift Current areas as well as the Weyburn-Estevan fields. Natural gas is found almost entirely in the western part of Saskatchewan, from the Primrose Lake area through Lloydminster, Unity, Kindersley, Leader, and around Maple Creek areas.


Saskatchewan's GDP in 2006 was approximately C$45.922 billion, with economic sectors breaking down in the following way:


A list of the top 100[dead link] companies includes The Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Federated Cooperatives Ltd. and IPSCO.


Major Saskatchewan-based Crown corporations are Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), SaskTel, SaskEnergy (the province's main supplier of natural gas), and SaskPower. Bombardier runs the NATO Flying Training Centre at 15 Wing, near Moose Jaw. Bombardier was awarded a long-term contract in the late 1990s for $2.8 billion from the federal government for the purchase of military aircraft and the running of the training facility. SaskPower since 1929 has been the principal supplier of electricity in Saskatchewan, serving more than 451,000 customers and managing $4.5 billion in assets. SaskPower is a major employer in the province with almost 2,500 permanent full-time staff located in 71 communities.


The Tabulated Data covers each fiscal year (e.g. 2009-2010 covers April 1, 2009 - March 31, 2010). All data is in $1,000s.


1 These values reflect the estimated population at the beginning of the fiscal year.


2 These values reflect the debt of the General Revenue Fund alone. It does not reflect the debt of Government Service Organizations (Health Authorities, Crop Insurance Corporation, etc.) or Government Service Enterprises (Crown Corporations).


Source: Government of Saskatchewan.


Saskatchewan has the same form of government as the other Canadian provinces with a lieutenant-governor (who is the representative of the Crown in Right of Saskatchewan), premier, and a unicameral legislature.


For many years, Saskatchewan has been one of Canada's more progressive provinces, reflecting many of its citizens' feelings of alienation from the interests of large capital. In 1944 Tommy Douglas became premier of the first avowedly socialist regional government in North America. Most of his Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) represented rural and small-town ridings. Under his Cooperative Commonwealth Federation government, Saskatchewan became the first province to have Medicare. In 1961, Douglas left provincial politics to become the first leader of the federal New Democratic Party.


Provincial politics in Saskatchewan is dominated by the New Democrats and the Saskatchewan Party. Numerous smaller political parties also run candidates in provincial elections, including the Green Party, Liberal Party, and the Progressive Conservative Party, but none is currently represented in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. After 16 years of New Democratic governments under premiers Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert, the recent 2007 provincial election was won by the Saskatchewan Party under Brad Wall.


Recent federal elections have been dominated by the Conservative Party since the party currently represents 13 of 14 federal ridings in Saskatchewan, while the Liberal Party of Canada represents one federal riding.


While both Saskatoon and Regina (Saskatchewan's largest cities) are roughly twice the population of an urban riding in Canada, both are split into multiple ridings that blend them with rural communities.


The first education on the prairies was learned within the family group of the first nation or early fur trading family settlers. There were only a few missionary or trading post schools established in Rupert's Land – later known as the North West Territories.


The first 76 North-West Territories school districts and the first Board of Education meeting formed in 1886. The pioneering boom formed ethnic bloc settlements. Communities were seeking education for their children similar to the schools of their home land. Log cabins, and dwellings were constructed for the assembly of the community, school, church, dances and meetings.


The roaring twenties and established farmers who had successfully proved up on their homesteads helped provide funding to standardize education.[citation needed] Text books, normal schools for formally educated teachers, school curricula, state of the art school house architectural plans, provided continuity throughout the province. English as the school language helped to provide economic stability because one community could communicate with another and goods could be traded and sold in a common language. The number of one-room school house districts across Saskatchewan totalled approximately 5,000 at the height of the one-room school house educational system in the late 1940s.[citation needed]


Following World War II, the transition from many one room school houses to fewer and larger consolidated modern technological town and city schools occurred as a means of ensuring technical education. School buses, highways, and family vehicles create ease and accessibility of a population shift to larger towns and cities. Combines and tractors mean that the farmer could successfully manage more than a quarter section of land, so there was a shift from family farms and subsistence crops to cash crops grown on many sections of land.


School vouchers have been newly proposed as a means of allowing competition between rural schools and making the operation of co-operative schools practicable in rural areas.



Saskatchewan's medical health system is widely and inaccurately characterised as "socialized medicine": medical practitioners in Saskatchewan, as in other Canadian provinces, are not civil servants but remit their accounts to the publicly funded Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Plan rather than to patients. Unlike in Medicare in Australia and private medicine in the UK, Saskatchewan sets a statutory tariff for medical services which may not be exceeded.






Transportation in Saskatchewan includes an infrastructure system of roads, highways, freeways, airports, ferries, pipelines, trails, waterways and railway systems serving a population of approximately 1,003,299 (according to 2007 estimates) inhabitants year-round. It is funded primarily with local and federal government funds. The Saskatchewan Department of Highways and Transportation estimates that 80% of traffic is carried on the 5,031-kilometre principal system of highways.


The Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation operates over 26,000 kilometres (16,000 mi) of highways and divided highways. There are also municipal roads which comprise different surfaces. Asphalt concrete pavements comprise almost 9,000 kilometres (5,600 mi), granular pavement almost 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi), non structural or thin membrane surface TMS are close to 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) and finally gravel highways make up over 5,600 kilometres (3,500 mi) through the province. In the northern sector, ice roads which can only be navigated in the winter months comprise another approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) of travel.


Saskatchewan has over 250,000 kilometres (150,000 mi) of roads and highways, the highest amount of road surface of any Canadian province. The major highways in Saskatchewan are the Trans Canada expressway, Yellowhead Highway northern Trans Canada route, Louis Riel Trail, CanAm Highway, Red Coat Trail , Northern Woods and Water route, and Saskota travel route.


The first Canadian transcontinental railway was constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1881 and 1885. After the great east-west transcontinental railway was built, north-south connector branch lines were established. The 1920s saw the largest rise in rail line track as the CPR and CNR fell into competition to provide rail service within ten kilometres. In the 1960s there were applications for abandonment of branch lines. Today the only two passenger rail services in the province are The Canadian and The Hudson Bay both operated by Via Rail. The Canadian is a transcontinental service linking Toronto with Vancouver. The Hudson Bay Line links Winnipeg to the Port of Churchill.


The main Saskatchewan waterways are the North Saskatchewan River or South Saskatchewan River routes. In total, there are 3,050 bridges maintained by the Department of Highways in Saskatchewan. There are currently twelve ferry services operating in the province, all under the jurisdiction of the Department of Highways.


The Saskatoon Airport (YXE) was initially established as part of the Royal Canadian Air Force training program during [[World War II[[. It was renamed the John G. Diefenbaker Airport in the official ceremony, June 23, 1993.Roland J. Groome Airfield is the official designation for the Regina International Airport (YQR) as of August 3, 2005; the airport was established in 1930. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), twenty Service Flying Training Schools (RAF) were established at various Saskatchewan locations in World War II. Moose Jaw RCAF is home to the aeronautics team, the Snowbirds.


Airlines offering service to Saskatchewan are Air Canada, WestJet Airlines, Transwest Air, Norcanair Airlines, La Ronge Aviation Services Ltd, La Loche Airways, Osprey Wings Ltd, Buffalo Narrows Airways Ltd, Skyservice Airlines, Île-à-la-Crosse Airways Ltd, Voyage Air, Pronto Airways, Venture Air Ltd, Pelican Narrows Air Service, Jackson Air Services Ltd, and Northern Dene Airways Ltd.


The Government of Canada has agreed to contribute $20 million for two new interchanges in Saskatoon. One of them being at the Sk Hwy 219 / Lorne Ave intersection with Circle Drive, the other at the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge (Idylwyld Freeway) and Circle Drive. This is part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative to improve access to the Canadian National Railway's intermodal freight terminal thereby increasing Asia-Pacific trade. Also, the Government of Canada will contribute $27 million to Regina to construct a Canadian Pacific Railway CPR intermodal facility and improve infrastructure transportation to the facility from both national highway networks, Sk Hwy 1, the TransCanada Highway and Sk Hwy 11, Louis Riel Trail. This also is part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative to improve access to the CPR terminal and increase Asia-Pacific trade.


The Government of Canada has agreed to contribute $20 million for two new interchanges in Saskatoon. One of them being at the Sk Hwy 219 / Lorne Ave intersection with Circle Drive, the other at the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge (Idylwyld Freeway) and Circle Drive. This is part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative to improve access to the Canadian National Railway's intermodal freight terminal thereby increasing Asia-Pacific trade. Also, the Government of Canada will contribute $27 million to Regina to construct a Canadian Pacific Railway CPR intermodal facility and improve infrastructure transportation to the facility from both national highway networks, Sk Hwy 1, the TransCanada Highway and Sk Hwy 11, Louis Riel Trail. This also is part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative to improve access to the CPR terminal and increase Asia-Pacific trade.


Canadian television sitcoms Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairie are both set in small Saskatchewan towns. The novels of W. O. Mitchell, Sinclair Ross, Frederick Philip Grove, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Michael Helm and Gail Bowen are also frequently set in Saskatchewan, as are children's novels of Farley Mowatt. The English naturalist "Grey Owl" spent much of his life living and studying in what is now Prince Albert National Park.


The Arrogant Worms' song "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate" about a disgruntled farmer who takes up piracy on the namesake river mentions various parts of the province such as Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw. Popular Québécois band Les Trois Accords recorded a song in French called "Saskatchewan" on its first album, Gros Mammouth Album. It was the third single of that album and met moderate success in French Canada.


The Saskatchewan Roughriders are the province's only major professional sports franchise, and are extremely popular across Saskatchewan. The team's fans are also found to congregate on game days throughout Canada, and collectively they are known as "Rider Nation".


In 2006, the founder of One Red Paperclip, Kyle MacDonald, ended his trading-game after swapping a movie role in the film Donna on Demand for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.


Thread count: black 1 green 6 brown 11 gold 26 red 2 yellow 1 red 2 gold 26 brown 11 green 6 black 1 white 2


The flag of Saskatchewan was officially adopted on 22 September 1969. The flag features the provincial shield in the upper quarter nearest the staff, with the floral emblem, the Prairie Lily, in the fly. The upper green (in forest green) half of the flag represents the northern Saskatchewan forest lands, while the golden lower half of the flag symbolizes the southern wheat fields and prairies. A province-wide competition was held to design the flag, and drew over 4,000 entries. The winning design was by Anthony Drake, then living in Hodgeville.


In 2005, Saskatchewan Environment held a province-wide vote to recognize Saskatchewan's centennial year, receiving more than 10,000 on-line and mail-in votes from the public. The walleye was the overwhelming favourite of the six native fish species nominated for the designation, receiving more than half the votes cast. Other species in the running were the lake sturgeon, lake trout, lake whitefish, northern pike and yellow perch.




Saskatchewan's other symbols include the tartan, the license plate, and the provincial flower. Saskatchewan's official tartan was registered with the Court of Lord Lyon King of Arms in Scotland in 1961. It has seven colours: gold, brown, green, red, yellow, white and black. The provincial licence plates display the slogan "Land of Living Skies". The provincial flower of Saskatchewan is the Western Red Lily.


In 2005, Saskatchewan celebrated its centennial. To honour it, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a commemorative five-dollar coin depicting Canada's wheat fields as well as a circulation 25-cent coin of a similar design. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Regina, Saskatoon and Lumsden, and the Saskatchewan-reared Joni Mitchell issued an album in Saskatchewan's honour.



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