Traveller, physical fitness enthusiast, and freelance writer living in the beautiful country of Canada.
Published April 10th 2013
Celebrate the pioneer spirit
A visit to the Western Development Museum provides a way to step back into the days of the pioneers. The Saskatoon museum is one of four locations in the province. The other museums are in Moose Jaw, North Battleford, and Yorkton.
Church on 1910 Boomtown Street. Photo credit: Lisa Gulak
The museum's most popular exhibit is 1910 Boomtown Street. Over thirty buildings recreate the look and feel of the booming period between the turn of the century and 1914. Popular buildings to visit include the blacksmith shop, the police detachment, the bank, the school house, a general store and the church. All the exhibit buildings have authentic artifacts from the period, which contributes to the feeling that one has stepped back in time. A leisurely stroll through 1910 Boomtown is a delight for visitors with an interest in prairie pioneer culture.
Spend time at the frontier jail. Photo credit: Lisa Gulak
Those needing a respite from strolling down the city streets can stop for a treat at the Boomtown Cafe. This working exhibit is furnished and decorated with 1910 decor. The cafe is fully licensed and serves home cooked meals and desserts.
Buy some goods at the General Store. Photo credit: Lisa Gulak
After a walk down Boomtown Street, visitors can enter the "Winning the Prairie Gamble" exhibit. This 21,000 square foot exhibit traces the 100 year journey of a prairie family. The exhibit features a replica of a sod house. Many early settlers literally made their home from the earth. The flatness of the prairies meant an absence of building materials such as wood and stone. With its thick and tough root, prairie grass cut into bricks provided material for the construction of family dwellings in the early years of prairie settlement.
Car aficionados will love the Western Development Museum's collection of vintage cars. The collection displays a history of transportation with horse drawn buggies, Model T Fords, and many other vehicles used for agriculture, commercial or private use.
The "Cancer Bomb" is a small exhibit that honours the 60th anniversary of the Cobalt-60 Beam Therapy for cancer treatment. This technology, developed on the prairies, revolutionized cancer treatment around the world. It is known as the Cobalt Bomb as it "bombed" cancer cells in the body.
Cobalt-60 Beam Therapy exhibit. Photo credit: Lisa Gulak
During summer months, seasonal exhibits include the collection of tractors and farm machinery. The "Winds of Change" exhibit includes three turbines installed outside and a companion exhibit inside that details the past, present and potential future of wind power in Saskatchewan.
Those looking for prairie and Canadian themed gifts can explore the Museum Store.
A visit to the Western Development Museum provides an opportunity to admire the brave souls who took a chance and settled in the wilds of the New World.