Shaunavon, Saskatchewan Canada

Discover Shaunavon, Saskatchewan: A Historical and Touristic Gem

Nestled in the southwest region of Saskatchewan, Shaunavon is a charming town with a rich history and vibrant culture. Established in 1913 along the Canadian Pacific Railway line, Shaunavon is conveniently located at the junction of Highways 37 and 13. It's 110 kilometres from Swift Current, 163 kilometres from the Alberta border, and 74 kilometres from the Montana border. Known by several nicknames including Bone Creek Basin, Boomtown, and Oasis of the Prairies, Shaunavon offers a unique blend of history, agriculture, and natural beauty.

The Early Days of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Shaunavon's development as a civic centre began in 1912 when the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) purchased the land as a divisional point on its Weyburn-Lethbridge line. The CPR chose the site mainly for its abundant water supplies, leading to the construction of temporary shacks around the Hipfner farm just north of the town site. The exact location of the railroad was unknown, leading to many pre-incorporation buildings being built on skids along Government Road.

Shaunavon, Saskatchewan: From Land Sale to Rapid Development

On September 17, 1913, the sale of lots in the new CPR town site began in Gull Lake, 51 kilometres north of Shaunavon. The Shaunavon Standard reported that within eight hours, 370 business and residential lots had been purchased. Following this initial purchase, Shaunavon witnessed incredible construction, expanding to include several buildings addressing the needs of its people. By November 27, 1913, Shaunavon was incorporated as a village.

Shaunavon, Saskatchewan During World War 1

Despite the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Shaunavon did not send a division until 1916. Early that year, the battalion began recruiting, and by April 27, the Shaunavon Standard reported that 124 officers and men had joined and passed military inspection.

The Expansion of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

By 1916, Shaunavon's population had grown to 897 people. In 1922, Shaunavon appealed to the Employment Bureau to make it a port of entry for American workers to help with the harvest. Agriculture was a major component in the Shaunavon economy, but 1922 saw a shortage in helping hands.

Shaunavon, Saskatchewan: Early Mineral Development

Later in 1922, lignite, a form of coal, was discovered south of Shaunavon and was soon after mined and heavily developed. Lignite had always been present in the region, and in some cases, it was close enough to the surface that farmers could pick it up by hand and use it to heat their homes.

Shaunavon, Saskatchewan Prior to the Great Depression

The late 1920s saw another boom in development in Shaunavon, leading up to the great depression. In 1928, several new developments began in Shaunavon, including the completion of the King's Hotel. In 1929, the Shaunavon Service Station and Crystal Bakery were built.

The Oil Boom in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

In 1938, Shaunavon became the oil distribution centre for all plants within a 30-mile radius. The discovery of oil in the region in 1952 led to a population boom and an increase in housing. By March 1954, Tide Water's 15th well was drilled in Dollard medium gravity oil field. The early 1950s was a great year for the oil industry in south-western Saskatchewan.

Shaunavon, Saskatchewan's Industrial Park

In 1981, Shaunavon began developing 65 acres of serviced land for the Shaunavon Industrial Park. The park is home to a wind turbine that powers the Crescent Pont Wickenheiser Centre.

Crescent Point Energy in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Today, the oil industry continues to be a prominent part of Shaunavon. Crescent Point Energy, an oil and gas company based out of Calgary, Alberta, became the main oil company to invest in Shaunavon in 2009, owning approximately 90% of the oil play.

The Coal Industry in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Before the discovery of oil in 1952, Shaunavon relied on coal. Today, Shaunavon is one of the five operating coal mines in the entire province and sits in one of the three coal fields in Saskatchewan that contain almost five billion tonnes of Lignite resources.

Shaunavon, Saskatchewan During the World Wars and Korean War

In 1939, 83 men of the 14th Canadian Light Horse left Shaunavon for Dundurn. In total, from the town and area, there were 600 men enlisted in World War I. Shaunavon's local cenotaph still stands in Memorial Park, to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the World Wars.

The Importance of Water in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Water was essential for settlers, and the water in the area was considered to be the purest and most plentiful. Within eight hours of the land being available for purchase, 370 lots totalling $210,000 were bought. As a result, Shaunavon gained the nickname “Boomtown.”

The Skating Rink in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Another important milestone in the community in the 1960s was the building of the public arena. With very little to do in the winter months, hockey was always a very important part of the community, and an indoor facility was greatly needed.

The Origin of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan's Name

The name Shaunavon is believed to be a combination of the names of Lord Shaughnessy and William Cornelius Van Horne, two of the four founders of the Canadian Pacific Railway. However, there is inconclusive evidence that suggests otherwise.

Agriculture in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Shaunavon is largely an agricultural community. Before settlement in 1913, Shaunavon was entirely open land. After settlement, the community largely subsisted on agriculture and ranching, including growing wheat that won top wards at international agriculture shows.

The Climate of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Demographics of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Shaunavon had a population of 1,784 living in 799 of its 929 total private dwellings, a change of 4.1% from its 2016 population of 1,714.

Arts and Culture in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

The Grand Coteau Heritage Centre is a museum and chapter library with a local art gallery and heritage exhibits on display. The Plaza Theatre on main street runs both movies and theatrical shows. The Darkhorse Theatre performs two major productions a year and is well known for producing quality shows.

Tourist Attractions in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Tourists will find several attractions in Shaunavon and some in the area. Shaunavon's tourist attractions include the Darkhorse Theatre, the Grand Coteau Heritage & Cultural Centre, the Plaza Theatre, Rock Creek Golf Course, and the Crescent Point Wickenheiser Centre.

Transportation in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Highways 13 and 37 connect to Shaunavon. Shaunavon is served by the Shaunavon Airport, which has a regulation asphalt, lighted runway, 3,000 feet (910 m) in length.

Government Services in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Shaunavon is the main large centre next to Swift Current in south-western Saskatchewan, meaning that the town has a lot of government services. The town houses a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment and a Service Canada facility.

Hotels in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Shaunavon is home to a number of hotels including the Canalta, Bears Den Lodge, King's Hotel, Hidden Hilton Hotel, and Stardust Motel.

Banks in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Shaunavon has two different banks. The major national bank is the Royal Bank. Shaunavon is also home to the Shaunavon Credit Union, which has been part of the town since 1944.

Mayors and Reeves of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan

Shaunavon resides in the rural municipality of Grassy Creek (No. 78). In 1913, the first reeve was L.T. Bergh. Michael Sutter currently sits as reeve.