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Canadian Life as I Found It
Chapter XLVI Saskatoon in 1907


I SHOULD like before closing to say that the Saskatoon of to-day, 1907, is very different from the town we found in 1904; it has grown in an almost incredible manner, and there are now some 5,000 inhabitants; there are five churches, the Knox Presbyterian Church, a Baptist one, St. John's Anglican Church, St. Paul's Roman Catholic one, a Methodist Church, and the Salvation Army has a corps in which some seventy members are enrolled.

There are several schools: the King Edward School, at which both high and public work is done, and where candidates are in training for examinations as high as first-class teaching certificates; the Queen Alexandra School, to which only the junior pupils are admitted, those below the third standard. The Nutana School was the first established, and later on chose to form a district of its own, and the river became the dividing line.

There is a small hospital capable of treating about forty patients. I believe this is in charge of nuns of the Order of the Sisters of Charity. Unfortunately there is a good deal of typhoid fever about, not only in the town but on the prairie. People are not careful enough about the purity of the water they use; slough water is drunk and becomes an easy source of disease. I am pointing this out as a warning to those coming out to take up land, to, above all things, first make sure of a healthy water supply by sinking a well and covering it over. The conditions of prairie life are so difficult to steer through at first that it is no wonder that many fail to reach any kind of haven. Examples of great success have, I know, been brought prominently forward, but by the side of these how many failures have been passed over in silence? With ourselves I believe that the worst part of the hardships is a thing of the past, but no amount of a better state of existence will ever make it 'a pleasant life for a woman, unless perhaps for one who has been inured to hard living from her earliest years.

The want of intercourse with those of her own sex and standing, the impossibility of procuring feminine help in domestic arrangements, the constantly recurring solitary hours, all unite in making such a life far from a pleasant one, and, in the long run, must tell on the strongest nerves.

Our district is, as I have said before, the Goose Lake one, 45 miles from Saskatoon. It extends over an indefinite area. The Goose Lake land comprises the Loganton land, the Delisle land, the Harris land, but the nearest post office to the Lake is at Tessier, near the home of Doctor Tessier, a most genial kind hearted man. The nucleus of a town is already formed there and will probably grow in time, for these towns seem to spring up like mushrooms, and develop in a very short interval. The crops round Tessier were mostly in stock before the frost came, although, as with us, some had to be cut on the green side, lowering the grade somewhat. Dr. Tessier had 60 acres of wheat that averaged over 20 bushels to the acre; his neighbour went still better, 26 bushels to the acre, all No. 2 Northern.

The railroads are certainly trying to see which will get to Goose Lake first, so we farmers ought to rejoice in the near future, if we are some of us in the dumps just now; at least I speak of my own experience. My wheat was put in too late and so was late ripening, and the frost caught it badly. Well, better luck next year.

Asquith, the new town I spoke of, is located about 27 miles west of Saskatoon, and its future seems assured, as both the C.P.R. main line to Westaskiwin and the G.T.P. main line to Edmonton run through the place, the main street of the G.T.P. town site being a continuance of Asquith main street.

There are two elevators already up, and two more building; there is also a talk of a flour-mill. Considering that this town only started sixteen months ago, its progress is marvellous; it has a bank, a large and handsome hotel, four lumber yards, three general stores, a drug store, two restaurants, a butcher's shop, three implement firms, two draying firms, a saddlery, and even a newspaper started.

Asquith has two churches already built, a Baptist Church and an Anglican one. I hear that soon a Presbyterian Church and Manse is to be built also. There is a physician in the town, a medallist of the Manitoba„ Medical College, and it really looks as if Asquith might double its population in a very short time. The sudden shift of the G.T.P. from a more southern route to the location in the Asquith district gave this part of the country a prominence it would not have had otherwise. We only hope that the line passing our place soon will give us a lift up too. The grading of this railroad is done to within 6 miles of our place, and steel will begin to be laid as soon as possible. I am told that wheat will be bought and hauled on it early next year; this will be a great help to us all in the Goose Lake neighbourhood. The S--- 's have sold their place and left yesterday for British Columbia. We hope to start for home the end of this month. We will wire our arrival at New York, and by which liner we are sailing.


 


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