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north of Regina trip

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Lancashire, England
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north of Regina trip

I am trying to organise a surprise trip to Regina for my husband. It appears to be off the beaten track as far as tours are concerned ,o I aim to do it myself.

His father was one of three men from the north of England who sailed over to Canada from Liverpool on the MS Montcalm in the 1920’s. They went in response to a plea from the Canadian government for experienced farmers to go there to open up the prairies. He was sent to a farm one hour north of Regina and his nearest neighbour was a day away. My husband has always wanted to visit the area where his father spent so much time.

I realise that there is no chance of finding the exact location, but it would be great to be able to tour the area to get a flavour of what his father saw all those years ago.

My plan is to fly to Calgary then go to Regina and work our way north and around, coming back to Calgary via Jasper and Banff. We will finish the trip with a few days at the Stampede in July.

Does anyone have any suggestions of where to stay just north of Regina, preferably on a farm/ranch? Does this sound like a feasible trip in two weeks? I was thinking of staying 3-4 days in this area and we’ll be hiring a car.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

Ottawa, ON
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1. Re: north of Regina trip

This is going to be a difficult one. The information you have about this man's experience does not make any sense. By the 1920s, Regina had been in existence for 40 years and had a population of around 40,000. It is inconceivable that one could go one hour away from Regina in any direction and somehow be one day away from one's nearest neighbour. There was a railway line running north from Regina to Saskatoon by 1897, so that area would have been homesteaded before and around the turn of the century. By the 1920s, you would have well-established farms on nearly every section of land (i.e. a mile apart). There were 2 additional rail lines north of Regina built before the Great War, which would have extended the area of settlement.

I am reminded of my grandfather's homesteading experience in a much more remote area prior to 1910. At that time, it was a 3 day return journey by horse and buggy to the nearest town. By the 1920s, there were three villages within 7 or 8 miles of his farm, and he had motorized transport. I am sure the area north of Regina would be more developed than that.

In any event, it is going to be hard to find much accommodation immediately north of Regina, except perhaps in the Qu'Appelle Valley. You might try Lumsden.

Good luck in in your quest.

Canada
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2. Re: north of Regina trip

Hi Rowz,

Historical details aside, your trip is very doable. There are several farm/ranch vacation operators in the area. Where you should stay might be determined better by where your father-in-law farmed. It would probably be easiest to contact Tourism Saskatchewan (I've attached its link here: http://www.sasktourism.com/travel-information/contact-us) to determine which farm/ranch stay would be most appropriate. From the looks of it, you can phone or contact them through a live chat.

If you have better information on the land description, or even the community nearest to where your father-in-law farmed, it should be fairly straightforward to find the right location. The provincial land regisgtration agency, Information Services Corporation (ISC), likely has records of where his plot of land was. They have on file virtually all land transactions since Saskatchewan was first homesteaded in the late 1800's. Here is their website: http://www.isc.ca. I'm not sure if you can access the information for free (there might be a small charge), but it would likely take only a week or less to retrieve the information you need, if you have some good starting information.

I wish you all the best in your search and in your travels. If you need any more assistance, please write another post.

Best regards,

JAM

Lancashire, England
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3. Re: north of Regina trip

Thanks for both replies. I'll try and pin it down more, but we will be be happy just to be in the general vicinity. I'll try and weedle out more facts!

Scunthorpe, United...
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4. Re: north of Regina trip

Hi Rowz,

Have you tried Regina Archives to see if they can help with the location of your father in laws farmstead?

http://www.regina.ca/Page1084.aspx

there is also http://www.saskarchives.com/web/about.html

I assume you have tried a google search with his name? My grandfather settled in Canada in about 1916 (from Russia).I googled his name and picked up a reference from Saskatoon archives. When I contacted them they sent me photocopies of papers and a map showing his homestead. Using google maps we think we have located its postion.

Another resource could be Pier 21 - Canada's Immigration Museum in Halifax - assuming he sailed after 1928.

https://www.pier21.ca/about

We are planning a trip to Canada this year. Part of this is to visit the areas where my mother grew up around North Battleford and try and find out about her early life. Like you we are having to do all the booking ourselves as none of the agents could book the type of accommodation we wanted in the areas we wanted to go. I've enjoyed the planning and have learnt so much more about Canada than if I'd left it to an agent. We are getting the holiday WE want.

One thing you may need to be aware of - we had great difficulty in finding a car hire company that would cover us for travel on gravel roads. Many don't. This could be a consideration in Saskatchewan as many of the places you may want to visit could be gravel. We are flying into Edmonton and are using Enterprise.

I got a copy of the Saskatchewan Accommodation, Resort and campground guide. I also used http://www.bbcanada.com/

to find B&B accommodation and also google searches.

One place I did find (and we have booked) is Wasmuth Homestead B&B, near North Battleford. OK it may not meet the criteria of farm/ranch and may not be in the area you are interested in... but it is a forth generation working farm.

http://www.bbcanada.com/3793.html?showpage=1

I assume you have come across the Western Development museum sites in Saskatoon and North Battleford? North BAttleford covers farming

http://www.wdm.ca/nb.html

For background information I found this site fascinating:

http://sasksettlement.com/

You certainly had to admire the spirit and determination of the early settlers.

Enjoy your trip - and the planning

Eleanor

Scunthorpe, United...
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5. Re: north of Regina trip

I've just realised I've not commented on whether this is feasible in 2 weeks - to be honest I think the answer may be no. You will need to allow a day to drive from Calgary to Regina area and a day back. With the 3-4 days around Regina this has used up nearly one week. You are then talking about a few days at the Stampede. I'm not sure how much time you have left for Jasper and Banff - probably not very much.

Have you considered spending all the time in and around Saskatchewan/Calgary? You could swing back to Calgary through southern Saskatchewan possibly via Cypress Hills Interprovincial park to Waterton Lakes National Park. These don't figure on the British radar but I understand the scenery at Waterton Lakes is comparable to the Rockies. You could stop at Drumheller for the badlands on the way back to Calgary. This may be a more do-able itineray and could be quite exciting.

The other alternative is to head north - Prince Albert National Park, Narrow Hills... although this is taking you in the wrong direction.

One thing I have found it difficult to get my head round is the distance and time needed to drive between places.

Eleanor

Eleanor

Saskatoon, Canada
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6. Re: north of Regina trip

The trip is very feasible. If you travel 1 day to Regina area and spend a couple of days and then travel to Saskatoon, you will find that Saskatoon is only 6 hours from Calgary. Regina to Calgary is a longer drive. However, you could also drive to Edmonton (5 hours from Saskatoon) and then work your way down to Calgary. Edmonton is home of the West Edmonton Mall (largest shopping mall in Canada). The mountains are very close to Calgary, so taking a day trip is easy to do. We have family in Calgary and Edmonton and drive down for the weekends. We have popped up to Banff for the day and then returned to Calgary in the evening. Two weeks is plenty of time to make your trip.

We have found that one day is plenty at the Stampede. It's a little expensive and if you want to attend the rodeo, I would purchase tickets ahead of time. Also make sure that if you are going to stay in Calgary during Stampede, that you pre-book your hotel.

As mentioned, there are several farm bed and breakfasts available in Saskatchewan. You can do a google search to see what appeals to you.

Lancashire, England
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7. Re: north of Regina trip

Thanks for this everyone, you've all given me a lot more research to do!

It's OK looking at a map and working out the distances, it's another thing to do it the way you want to.

I'll keep on looking and then let you know what happens.

Thanks again

Ottawa, ON
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8. Re: north of Regina trip

Just a small follow-up on my original reply. You did not mention the mode of transportation to get one hour north of Regina. Assuming it was rail, I came across a 1925 timetable for the rail service between Regina and Saskatoon. The time to get from Regina to Lumsden was 1 hour 16 minutes, so my suggestion to look for a place to stay near Lumsden may well be the right location. Of course, it now only takes about 25 minutes to drive between the two places, so simply staying in Regina would be an option.

I noticed that a number of others responding to your question assumed that your father-in-law had emigrated to Canada and took up a homestead. Because I believe that area of the province was homesteaded 20 or more years earlier, I assumed that he was hired as a labourer on a well established, existing farm (there being a labour shortage caused by the Great War casualties, deaths from the 1919 influenza pandemic and the booming Saskatchewan economy?). Do you know whether he was a homesteader or a labourer?

Lancashire, England
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9. Re: north of Regina trip

ronw - yes, he was a labourer. I have since found out that my timing was wrong. It's now thought it was one DAY north of Regina. To clarify this, I have contacted the Canadian archives as they have the passenger manifests for arrivals at Quebec. There should be a final destination on the form, so I'm waiting for that now.

I have also discovered that he travelled out in the summer of 1928 and returned the same time the following year. The other two men with him stayed on and made their lives in Saskatchewan. I have also found a relative of theirs lives near me, so I'm going to contact them too.

One thing I'm concerned about is the hire car and driving on gravel. Although I knew about it, I never realised the problem it could cause!

Edmonton, AB
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10. Re: north of Regina trip

I would suggest flying from Calgary to Regina or Saskatoon, renting a car there and flying back to Calgary. Driving from Calgary to either city can be long and tedious. If you plan on doing a bit of driving around the countryside, you'll get a good enough idea of what it's like. You'll be doing a lot of driving as it is, and if you can skip that long drive you won't really be missing anything.

While you can drive from Calgary to Regina to Saskatoon to Edmonton on well maintained 2 lane highways, the drive from Calgary to Saskatoon can get a bit dodgy as it's all single lane roads, and you'll need to make a lot of turns and keep a close eye on the map.

That being said, if you do make the drive, I'd recommend stopping in Moose Jaw for a day or so. There's a Western Development Museum there that's quite large, with a lot of antique automobiles, machinery, planes and even a locomotive, if memory serves(I haven't been to the other WD museums, maybe someone else could rank them?). Moose Jaw also has a very interesting attraction called the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, a tour that takes you beneath the streets through a maze of tunnels which were used in the early 1900's for bootlegging, among other things. Temple Gardens Mineral Spa is a fine hotel in town, and it boasts a geothermal mineral spa in the hotel, which is wonderful. Moose Jaw is only 45 min. west of Regina.

If you can get a better idea of where your father-in-law worked, and can find a B&B relatively close to that location, you should have no problem finding a local who can take you there. A lot of B&B's are run by farming families.

I would also recommend spending as much time as you can in the Rockies. Lake Louise is not to be missed, and the drive between Jasper and Banff is stunningly beautiful. There is also a lot to see and do in and around each town.