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Town, pop 2,483, located approximately 105 km SW of Moose Jaw at the junction of Hwys 2 and 13. Named after the former district of the North-West Territories, the community serves primarily as an agricultural service centre for the surrounding region. Originally settled mainly by people of English and French origin (with smaller numbers of Romanians, Scots, and Scandinavians), Assiniboia dates its beginnings to October 12, 1912, when the CPR put 980 lots up for sale at the Assiniboia townsite: people stood in line overnight to buy their lots, and the community rapidly sprang up on the previously barren prairie. In 1913, the population rose from roughly 400 to 1,400; a quarter of a million bushels of grain were shipped out of the five brand-new elevators that fall. During the Depression, forward-looking town officials employed out-of-work men to construct the town’s sewer system, which it could not afford to operate until 1948. After World War II, prosperity returned to the area and Assiniboia resumed growing at a steady rate.

Today, Assiniboia has a wide variety of businesses including agricultural equipment dealers, manufacturing companies, a tire recycling plant, grain-handling facilities, and one of the country’s largest livestock auction yards. The Assiniboia District Museum features displays relating to the area’s Pioneer history. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, completed in 1920, and the Assiniboia Court House, built in 1930 and designed by Provincial Architect Maurice Sharon, have both been designated heritage properties.

David McLennan

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Further Reading

McLennan, David. 2008. Our Towns: Saskatchewan Communities from Abbey to Zenon Park. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center.

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