Leader, Saskatchewan Canada

Discover Leader, Saskatchewan: A Town Steeped in History and Natural Beauty

The Rich History of Leader, Saskatchewan

Leader, a town in southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada, is located approximately 350 km directly east of Calgary, Alberta, and is near the border between Saskatchewan and Alberta. The town has a population of 863 as of 2016.

Before settlement, the Leader area was a hunting ground of prehistoric humans. A Midland Folsom point was discovered that the University of Saskatchewan dated back 8,000 to 9,000 years before present. Leader lies in the traditional territory of the Nekaneet First Nation, who were signatories to Treaty 4.

Homesteaders began arriving in large numbers in 1907; most were German immigrants from the country of Prussia or southern Russia. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment opened in 1909, and ensured all settlers had adequate supplies to last the winter. By 1911, the Canadian Pacific Railway purchased a quarter section of land as the prospective site for a settlement. The railway arrived in 1913 and the village of Prussia was incorporated in September of that year. Hans Quittenbaum, owner of the general store, was named the first Reeve (or Mayor) of Prussia.

By 1917, anti-German sentiment surrounding the events of World War I prompted the community to change its name, as well as replacing its German street names with numbers. The new name was chosen after a contest won by two local girls, Bertha Keller and Muriel Legault. They were inspired by the arrival of the Regina Morning Leader newspaper on the passenger train. The village name was officially changed to Leader on September 27, 1917; soon after, it incorporated as a town on November 1.

Demographics of Leader, Saskatchewan

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Leader had a population of 881 living in 372 of its 426 total private dwellings, a change of 2.1% from its 2016 population of 863. With a land area of 1.68 km2, it had a population density of 524.4/km2 in 2021.

The Geography and Climate of Leader, Saskatchewan

Leader is located in Saskatchewan's mixed grassland ecoregion. The southern landscape is dominated by flat plains, with rolling hills by the South Saskatchewan River located 10 km north of Leader. The Great Sand Hills, a 1,900 km2 region of arid plains and sand dunes, lies just southeast of Leader. The town is located at the junction of highways 21 and 32, and is approximately 30 km east of the border with Alberta.

Like much of southwestern Saskatchewan, Leader experiences a semi-arid climate. Winters are long, cold and dry, while summers are short but very warm. Average precipitation is 274 mm of rain per year and 85 cm of snow per annum. Mean temperatures in the area range from a January low of −19 °C to a summer high in July of 26 °C.

Attractions in Leader, Saskatchewan

Leader is the largest community in close proximity to the Great Sand Hills, a vast area of grassland and sand dunes in southern Saskatchewan. The Great Sand Hills are home to an abundance of wildlife, including sharp-tailed grouse, pronghorn, white pelican, merlin, peregrine falcon, coyote, white-tailed deer, golden eagle, badger, weasel, burrowing owl, mourning dove, porcupine, sandhill crane and fox. It is the only known Saskatchewan habitat of the rare Ord's kangaroo rat. Several large sculptures of local wildlife are found at various locations around the town of Leader.

The Great Sand Hills Museum is in the nearby village of Sceptre. The museum features historical displays depicting pioneer life such as a boarding house, hospital, livery stable, school, church, and barn as well as vintage farm machinery.

The South Saskatchewan River valley, just north of Leader, is the largest tract of riparian woodlands between the Cypress Hills and the northern forests. The Leader Bird Watching Trail is suited for viewing many native bird species, including pileated woodpecker, golden eagle, lark sparrow, yellow-breasted chat, red-headed woodpecker, yellow-green swallow, great blue heron, prairie falcon, ferruginous hawk, long-billed curlew, short-eared owl, loggerhead shrike, and burrowing owl.

Parks and Recreation in Leader, Saskatchewan

Leader offers a variety of recreational facilities including the River Ridge Golf Course, Leader Swimming Pool, Leader Millennium Gardens, Leader Lions Park, Leader Ball Park, Leader Arena, Leader Community Hall, and Leader Friendship Centre.

Infrastructure in Leader, Saskatchewan

Transportation in Leader, Saskatchewan

Leader is located at the junction of highways 21 and 32. The former Canadian Pacific Railway line also runs through the town; it is currently operated by the Great Sandhills Railway. Leader also has an airport with an asphalt runway.

Utilities in Leader, Saskatchewan

Electricity is provided by SaskPower and natural gas is provided by SaskEnergy. The town maintains its own water supply system, including a pump house and filtration plant. Telephone and internet service is provided by SaskTel.

Public Safety in Leader, Saskatchewan

Public safety services in Leader include the Cypress Health Region emergency medical services, Leader & District Fire Department, and RCMP Leader Detachment.