Herbert Heritage Association

The Canadian Dream
For Herbert

"From Sea to Shining Sea"
John A. MacDonald and Fathers of Confederation had a vision - to join British Columbia to Canada - creating a strong united Nation that would stand on it's own feet, withstand outside interference & "embark on a bold course of territorial and economic expansion" - including population growth with Canada's boundless resources.

1867 - Canada became a nation;  Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick - all land west of Ontario with exception of Winnipeg owned by HBC.

1869 - Dominion of Canada bought all land owned by Hudson Bay Company for $1.5M (HBC retained 45,000 acres as well as concession for 1/20th of the fertile land in Region.)

1873-74 - Surveyors sttempted to survey North West Territories (Now Saskatchewan and Alberta.)

1874 - North West Mounted Police passed through on way to Cypress Hills, Fort Whoop-up.
- Signing treaties with remaining Aboriginal tribes bringing peace to unsurveyed region of Southern NWT.

1879 - John Macoun did a study of resources in area from Winnipeg to Rocky Mountains.  On basis of his report, cabinet decided to build trans-continental railroad.
- Hence, Canadian Pacific Railroad was born (condition of BC joining confederation.) Area surveyed into townships of 36 sq. miles North.  Numbering began at 49th parallel, International Boundary.

1882 - Railroad laid through Saskatchewan.
1882 - December 10 - Siding 14 named Herbert for Sir Michael Henry Herbert, an English diplomat (who later became British Ambassador to USA in 1902.)
Populating Area:
Land companies were formed.
First came ranchers from USA and England (1906-07 severe winter - cattle perished.)

1903 - Government opened this area for settlement.  Moose Jaw Sask. Land Co. & CPR bought large tract of land & immediately advertised it as "Choicest Wheat Lands" in Eastern Canada, USA and Europe.
$10.00 could claim and homestead (if claimant could survive on land for 6 months each of next three years.)
CPR offered to take 103 Manitoban Mennonite settlers to Herbert to look for land.  The government provided financial help, food, lodging and transportation, all for $10.00!


And they came!
1904 - Russian Mennonites, as well as people from other areas, started arriving.  Herbert area was "The Promised Land." So many came to start over - farmers, businessmen, schools and churches; a patchwork of nationalities.  The land was filled with a strong, energetic people with a vision.  One hundred years later their family names live on!

1905 - Saskatchewan and Alberta given Provincial status.

1907 - Herbert incorporated as a Village - estimated 300 residents.

1908 - Herbert built an impressive business community surrounded by thriving farms. (See pg. 53 - Bittersweet Years.)

1912 - Herbert incorporated as a Town - 709 residents!

1928 - reaching a peak population of 1,200 people, a farm bumper crop and virtually every business needed.  Then came WWI, taking young men out of our community; some never to return. (See pg. 191 after WWI - Bittersweet Years.)

1917 - Bolshevik revolution caused massive robbing, raping and slaughtering of Mennonite community in Russia.

1920 - Canadian Mennonites, Gov't of Canada and CPR reserved approx. 20,000 Russian Mennonites - train loads came to SK to join compassionate families and friends.  Some of course came to Herbert. (See pg. 192 - Bittersweet Years.)

Then came the Dirty Thirties followed quickly by WWII.  Again, many brave sons and daughters enlisted in record numbers; some did not return. (Interesting story, pg. 958 - Bittersweet Years.)

As everywhere "small town Saskatchewan" was created as larger centers evolved - due to improved transportation - the manufacture and promotion of the automobile.

However, CPR continues to bring freight from "sea to shining sea" in an economical and timely fashion.

Herbert History - Bittersweet Years, 1903-1987.  Book available for purchase at Train Station and Town of Herbert Office.

This edition has been compiled by Bev Strand for the Herbert Heritage Museum.  All information was taken from Bittersweet Years.  Check our history book online at www.ourroots.ca

Town of Herbert
Box 370
Herbert, SK  S0H 2A0
p:  1.306.784.2400     f:  1.306.784.2402