Saskatchewan facts for kids
|Motto: Latin: Multis e Gentibus Vires
("Strength from Many Peoples")
|Largest metro||Saskatoon metropolitan area|
|Demonym||Saskatchewanian (official), also Saskatchewanite|
|Lieutenant governor||Vaughn Solomon Schofield|
|Premier||Brad Wall (Saskatchewan Party)|
|Legislature||Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan|
|Federal representation||(in Canadian Parliament)|
|House seats||14 of 308 (4.5%)|
|Senate seats||6 of 105 (5.7%)|
|Confederation||September 1, 1905 (split from NWT) (10th)|
|Total||651,900 km2 (251,700 sq mi)|
|Land||591,670 km2 (228,450 sq mi)|
|Water (%)||59,366 km2 (22,921 sq mi) (9.1%)|
|Proportion of Canada||6.5% of 9,984,670 km2|
|Density (2016)||1.86/km2 (4.8/sq mi)|
|Total (2015)||C$79.415 billion|
|Per capita||C$70,138 (4th)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC−6, year-round in most areas
Mountain: UTC-7/-6, Lloydminster and nearby areas
|Postal code prefix||S|
|Flower||Western red lily|
|Rankings include all provinces and territories|
Saskatchewan (i// or //) is a prairie and boreal province in west-central Canada, the only province without natural borders. It has an area of 651,900 square kilometres (251,700 sq mi), nearly 10 percent of which (59,366 square kilometres (22,900 sq mi)) is fresh water, composed mostly of rivers, reservoirs, and the province's 100,000 lakes.
Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, to the northeast by Nunavut, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota. As of December 2013, Saskatchewan's population was estimated at 1,114,170. Residents primarily live in the southern prairie half of the province, while the northern boreal half is mostly forested and sparsely populated. Of the total population, roughly half live in the province's largest city, Saskatoon, or the provincial capital, Regina. Other notable cities include Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current, North Battleford, and the border city Lloydminster (partially within Alberta).
Saskatchewan is a landlocked province with large distances to moderating bodies of waters. As a result, its climate is extremely continental, rendering severe winters throughout the province. Southern areas have very warm or hot summers. Midale and Yellow Grass near the U.S. border are tied for the highest ever recorded temperatures in Canada with 45 °C (113 °F) observed at both locations in July 1937. In winter, temperatures below −45 °C (−49 °F) are possible even in the south during extreme cold snaps.
Saskatchewan has been inhabited for thousands of years by various indigenous groups, and first explored by Europeans in 1690 and settled in 1774. It became a province in 1905, carved out from the vast North-West Territories, which had until then included most of the Canadian Prairies. In the early 20th century the province became known as a stronghold for Canadian social democracy; North America's first social-democratic government was elected in 1944. The province's economy is based on agriculture, mining, and energy. Saskatchewan's current premier is Brad Wall and its lieutenant-governor is Vaughn Solomon Schofield.
In 1992, the federal and provincial governments signed a historic land claim agreement with First Nations in Saskatchewan. The First Nations received compensation and were permitted to buy land on the open market for the tribes; they have acquired about 3,079 square kilometres (761,000 acres; 1,189 sq mi), now reserve lands. Some First Nations have used their settlement to invest in urban areas, including Saskatoon.
As Saskatchewan's borders largely follow the geographic coordinates of longitude and latitude, the province is roughly a quadrilateral, or a shape with four sides. However the 49th parallel boundary and the 60th northern border appear curved on globes and many maps. 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 part of the Western Provinces and is bounded on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the north-east by Nunavut, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. 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 all parallels and meridians). Along with Alberta, Saskatchewan is one of only two land-locked provinces.
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 were unglaciated during the last glaciation period, the Wisconsin glaciation.
The province's highest point, at 1,392 metres (4,567 ft), is located in the Cypress Hills less than 2 km from the provincial boundary with Alberta. The lowest point is the shore of Lake Athabasca, at 213 metres (699 ft). The province has 14 major drainage basins made up of various rivers and watersheds draining into the Arctic Ocean, Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Saskatchewan receives more hours of sunshine than any other Canadian province. The province lies far from any significant body of water. This fact, combined with its northerly latitude, gives it a warm summer, corresponding to its humid continental climate (Köppen type Dfb) in the central and most of the eastern parts of the province, as well as the Cypress Hills; drying off to a semi-arid steppe climate (Köppen type BSk) in the southwestern part of the province. Drought can affect agricultural areas during long periods with little or no precipitation at all. The northern parts of Saskatchewan – from about La Ronge northward – have a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) with a shorter summer season. Summers can get very hot, sometimes above 38 °C (100 °F) during the day, and with humidity decreasing from northeast to southwest. Warm southern winds blow from the plains and intermontane regions of the Western United States during much of July and August, very cool or hot but changeable air masses often occur during spring and in September. Winters are usually bitterly cold, with frequent Arctic air descending from the north. with high temperatures not breaking −17 °C (1 °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.
Saskatchewan is one of the most tornado-active parts in Canada, averaging roughly 12 to 18 tornadoes per year, some violent. In 2012, 33 tornadoes were reported in the province. The Regina Cyclone took place in June 1912 when 28 people died in an F4 Fujita scale tornado. Severe and non-severe thunderstorm events occur in Saskatchewan, usually from early spring to late summer. Hail, strong winds and isolated tornadoes are a common occurrence.
The hottest temperature ever recorded anywhere in Canada happened in Saskatchewan. The temperature rose to 45 °C (113 °F) in Midale and Yellow Grass. The coldest ever recorded in the province was −56.7 °C (−70.1 °F) in Prince Albert, which is north of Saskatoon.
|City||July (°C)||July (°F)||January (°C)||January (°F)|
Saskatchewan has been populated by various indigenous peoples of North America, including members of the Sarcee, Niitsitapi, Atsina, Cree, Saulteaux, Assiniboine (Nakoda), Lakota and Sioux. The first known 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 1762 the south of the province was part of the Spanish Louisiana until 1802.
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 River, 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. Since the late twentieth century, land losses and inequities as a result of those treaties have been subject to negotiation for settlement between the First Nations in Saskatchewan and the federal government, in collaboration with provincial governments.
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.
In 1876, following their defeat of United States Army forces at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana Territory in the United States, the Lakota Chief Sitting Bull led several thousand of his people to Wood Mountain. Survivors and descendants founded Wood Mountain Reserve in 1914.
European-Canadian 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.
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 Rebellion 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. Since then, the government has recognized the Métis as an aboriginal people with status rights and provided them with various benefits.
As more settlers came to the prairies on the railway, the population grew. On September 1, 1905, Saskatchewan became a province, with inauguration day held September 4. The Dominion Lands 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 – new settlers established a European-Canadian style of prosperous agrarian society.
In 1913, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association was established as Saskatchewan's first ranchers' organization. At its founding convention in 1913, the members established three goals: 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; it had close ties with the governing Liberal party.
In the late 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan, imported from the United States and Ontario, gained brief popularity in 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. It declined and disappeared, subject to widespread political and media opposition, plus internal scandals involving the use of the organization's funds.
In 1970, the first annual Canadian Western Agribition was held in Regina. This farm-industry trade show, with its strong 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.
The province celebrated the 75th anniversary of its establishment in 1980, with Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, presiding over the official ceremonies. In 2005, 25 years later, her sister, Queen Elizabeth II, attended the events held to mark Saskatchewan's centennial.
Since the late 20th century, First Nations have become more politically active in seeking justice for past inequities, especially related to government taking of indigenous lands. The federal and provincial governments have negotiated on numerous land claims, and developed a program of "Treaty Land Entitlement", enabling First Nations to buy land to be taken into reserves with money from settlements of claims.
"In 1992, the federal and provincial governments signed an historic land claim agreement with Saskatchewan First Nations. Under the Agreement, the First Nations received money to buy land on the open market. As a result, about 761,000 acres have been turned into reserve land and many First Nations continue to invest their settlement dollars in urban areas", including Saskatoon. The money from such settlements has enabled First Nations to invest in businesses and other economic infrastructure.
According to the Canada 2011 Census, the largest ethnic group in Saskatchewan is German (28.6%), followed by English (24.9%), Scottish (18.9%), Canadian (18.8%), Irish (15.5%), Ukrainian (13.5%), French (Fransaskois) (12.2%), First Nations (12.1%), Norwegian (6.9%), and Polish (5.8%).
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 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada with 78,520 (8%). 148,535 (15.4%) responded "no religion".
Historically, Saskatchewan's economy was primarily associated with agriculture, with wheat being the precious symbol on the province's flag. Increasing diversification has resulted in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting only making up 8.9% of the province's GDP in 2018.
Saskatchewan grows a large portion of Canada's grain. In 2017, the production of canola surpassed the production of wheat, which is Saskatchewan's most familiar crop and the one most often associated with the province. Other grains such as flax, rye, oats, peas, lentils, canary seed, and barley are also produced in the province.
Saskatchewan is the world's largest exporter of mustard seed.
Beef cattle production by a Canadian province is only exceeded by Alberta.
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. Among Canadian provinces, only Alberta exceeds Saskatchewan in overall oil production.
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.
Ten largest municipalities by population
This list does not include Lloydminster, which has a total population of 31,410 but straddles the Alberta–Saskatchewan border. As of 2016, 11,765 people lived on the Saskatchewan side, which would make it Saskatchewan's 8th largest municipality. All of the listed communities are considered cities by the province; municipalities in the province with a population of 5,000 or more can receive official city status.
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 80% of traffic is carried on the 5,031-kilometre principal system of highways.
The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure 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 Winnipeg – Churchill train, both operated by Via Rail. The Canadian is a transcontinental service linking Toronto with Vancouver.
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.
|Estuary||connecting Estuary and Laporte||South Saskatchewan River|
|Lemsford||North of Lemsford connecting 32 and 30||South Saskatchewan River|
|Lancer||North of Lancer connecting 32 and 30||South Saskatchewan River|
|Riverhurst||Highway 42 and Highway 373||Lake Diefenbaker|
|Clarkboro||Between Warman and Aberdeen on 784||South Saskatchewan River|
|Hague||Between Hague and Aberdeen||South Saskatchewan River|
|St. Laurent||East of Duck Lake, 11 and Batoche 225||South Saskatchewan River|
|Fenton||Between 25 and 3 on Grid Road||South Saskatchewan River|
|Weldon||Between 3, Weldon via 682 and 302, Prince Albert||South Saskatchewan River|
|Paynton||Between 16 and 26 via 764||North Saskatchewan River|
|Wingard||East of Marcelin, 40 connecting to 11 Wingard||North Saskatchewan River|
|Cecil||Between 302 and 55 east of Prince Albert||North Saskatchewan River|
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. 15 Wing Moose Jaw is home to the Canadian Forces formation aerobatics team, the Snowbirds.
Airlines offering service to Saskatchewan are Air Canada, WestJet Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Transwest Air, Sunwing Airlines, Norcanair Airlines, La Ronge Aviation Services Ltd, La Loche Airways, Osprey Wings Ltd, Buffalo Narrows Airways Ltd, 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 flag of Saskatchewan was officially adopted on September 22, 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.
The effects of climate change in Saskatchewan are now being observed in parts of the province. There is evidence of reduction of biomass in Saskatchewan's boreal forests (as with those of other Canadian prairie provinces) is linked by researchers to drought-related water stress, stemming from global warming, most likely caused by greenhouse gas emissions. While studies, as early as 1988 (Williams, et al., 1988) have shown climate change will affect agriculture, whether the effects can be mitigated through adaptations of cultivars, or crops, is less clear. Resiliency of ecosystems may decline with large changes in temperature. The provincial government has responded to the threat of climate change by introducing a plan to reduce carbon emissions, "The Saskatchewan Energy and Climate Change Plan," in June 2007.
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