The Spanish Flu in Saskatchewan - Newspapers


The Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan houses many years of newspapers from across the province on microfilm and in digital format. Many of these newspapers are available on the Saskatchewan Historical Newspapers Online website  These newspapers give great insight into how the Spanish Flu affected the lives of people in Saskatchewan. This exhibit features articles from the Regina Leader and the Moose Jaw Daily News from October and November 1918, at the start and at the peak of impact of the flu upon the province.  The impact of the flu is demonstrated by the number of articles appearing in these papers, many dominating the front page. Summaries of the articles are written beside the thumbnail images.

MooseJaw Herald October 24, 1918

Regina Leader

  Tuesday, October 1, 1918

Search Train in Attempt to Stop Spanish Disease  

Dr. W.W. Seymour, the Provincial Health Commissioner, will search a train bound from eastern Canada to search for signs of the Spanish Influenza amongst the passengers. Some passengers with symptoms had already been removed from the train in Winnipeg. Symptoms of the disease include chills, fever, headache, and severe coughing. Preventative measures to stop the spread of the disease include isolation and the wearing of masks.

Tuesday, October 15, 1918

Dormitory at Camp Under Quarantine

The 1st Depot Battalion camp, where most of the returning soldiers sleep, was placed under Quarantine. Twelve soldiers paraded sick, seven were taken to the isolation hospital and five returned to the line on Monday.

Third Member of Kerr Family Dies Within Eight Days

Miss Aurilla Kerr, a 21-year old teacher, died on October 14. Her brother died on October 6 and their mother died on October 10, while her sister might also be ill. The Kerr family was highly regarded and well known throughout the city.

Physicians and Nurses Wanted

The public health commissioner, Dr. Seymour, is asking any nurses or physicians available to help with the epidemic to report to his office. There are many places throughout the province that need medical professionals.

Grim Reaper Now Having Harvest

Five people were buried on Monday and six more will be buried today (October 15). All funerals have been managed by Speers Funeral Home.

Influenza Epidemics Are Not New

Dr. Seymour says that this disease broke out 745 years ago. To avoid getting the flu he suggests to avoid crowds, not to sneeze or cough close to another person and not to use sprays or gargles unless suggested by a physician.

Hospitals Full; 15 New Cases of Influenza Here

The hospitals, including the isolation hospital are all full with cases of the Spanish Flu. Many medical professionals are ill including doctors and C.P.R. employees. The situation at the R.N.W.M.P. barracks has improved, with only one death and no other severe cases in the last 3 days.

Thursday, October 17, 1918

Places of Amusement, Churches, Closed; Meetings Banned

Dr. Bow, M.H.O., Issues Request to Cease Public Assemblies

All public places are to be closed because of the spread of the flu. Public schools are to stay open because the number of children with the flu is much lower. However, if someone in their house has the flu, children should not be sent to school. Normal school and Regina College, where there is daily health supervision, are to stay open. Dr. Bow says there is no need for panic. Everyone should eat nourishing food, spend time in fresh air, keep the house ventilated and avoid crowds. Any one, a graduate nurse or not, are asked to notify the health department if they can act as a nurse because of the shortage of nurses.

Epidemic is Gaining Ground in Regina; Sixty New Cases Reported or Known Yesterday

The total cases to date of the flu is at 210 and the death toll is at 12. Wednesday, October 16 saw an increase in cases with 40 new cases reported and 20 reported too late to be placed on the records, but there was only one death recorded. Four of the five medical men have the flu, making it hard for them to help the public. Seven guards and 11 prisoners are sick at the Regina jail. The quarantine on returned soldiers has been lifted since there are no new cases reported amongst them. The separate schools have closed as the school board do not want to take any chances of children contracting the disease.

The Rex Theatre and The Rose Theatre - Public Notices

Both theatres are announcing that they are closing until it is safe for them to re-open.

Wednesday, October 30, 1918

Taking Census Today of the Number of Cases of Influenza in the City with Many Canvassers

Influenza epidemic committee was reorganized with a new chairman and medical advisor. Canvassers, who are volunteers from many organizations, are going door to door to take a census of the number of cases of influenza and which ones need immediate care to determine the situation and their next steps. Every house will also be given cards with instructions to deal with the influenza.

Read the Cards

Cards prepared by the commissioner of health are being distributed to every home in Regina. Citizens are asked to read the cards carefully and follow the instructions until the epidemic is over.

 For the Aid

Influenza Takes Toll of Twenty Lives Yesterday

Twenty people died on October 16 from influenza. The total death toll in Regina is now at 113. However, many people sick with the flu are now starting to recover. The situation is improving at the R.N.W.M.P. barracks with only three men sick. Speers  Undertaking Parlors is managing all funerals and transportation of patients to the hospital as the Regina Burial Company has had to close due to the death of its manager.

Wednesday, November 6, 1918

Proclamation Calls on People to be Neighborly

Large Number of Sick Persons Call for the Aid of the Healthy

The Lieutenant Governor issued a proclamation stating that people should call their neighbours to check up on them, to help anyone they’re able to, to report any cases of the influenza and to try to prevent the spread of the flu.

Policemen Recover From Influenza

H.D. French and H.D. Tredwell, two police officers, were discharged from the General hospital and reported back to duty.

Moose Jaw Daily News

October 23, 1918

Alarming Spread of Influenza Forces City to Open Moose Hotel as Hospital - 62 New Cases Today Brings Total to 222

All of the hospitals are at peak capacity so the Moose Hotel has to be converted into a hospital to accommodate the growing number of cases of the flu. There will be twenty beds for the overflow patients. The state of the epidemic is getting more serious, according to Dr. Turnbull, Medical Health Officer. He is worried that there is a great number of unreported cases in private homes.

Influenza in Regina Still on Increase

As of October 19, 1918 there have been 325 cases and 23 deaths reported in Regina. St. Joseph’s school will be used as a hospital to help with the overflow from the hospitals.

October 24, 1918

City Will Provide Home for Children Whose Parents Are Too Ill to Give Them Care

The mayor stated that the city will try to establish a home in the city, run by volunteer women, for children with sick parents to go to be cared for until their parents are healthy.

 Mrs. W. H. Stiles Died Thursday of Influenza

Mrs. W. H. Stiles died of pneumonia as a result of the Spanish Flu. She fell ill ten days before at the same time of her husband, W. H. Stiles, the machinist in charge of The Evening Times linotype battery. She was thirty years old and had a three year old son.

Help Badly Needed for Kiddies Whose Parents Have Influenza

There are twenty four children in the Children’s Home, nine of whom have the flu. They can’t take in any more children even though there are many requests for children whose parents are ill. The Children’s Aid Society is asking any healthy people who have room to take in children whose parents are too sick to care for them.

Use the Phone as Little as Possible Now

A request to use the phone for “business only” because the operating staff of the telephones are falling ill with the flu and can't keep up with all of the phone calls.

Ladies of St. Andrew’s Start Soup Kitchen

The St. Andrew’s Ladies’ Aid has opened up a soup kitchen in the basement of St. Andrew’s church for those who need it during the epidemic.

Mrs. Harry Mead Died Thursday of Pneumonia

Mrs. Harry Mead, the wife of the proprietor of the Royal George Hotel died at home of pneumonia after having the flu for one week.

11 Influenza Deaths Here in Past 24 Hours

Eleven deaths, twenty-four new hospital admissions and an unknown number of private home cases have been reported in the last 24 hours. There is a new rule that only doctors can report cases but they cannot be found so the number of new cases is unknown. The death toll is now at twenty-eight.

Deaths so Many Graves Can’t Be Dug for Bodies

The city cemetery cannot find enough men to dig graves fast enough for the amount of deaths. The bodies are being placed in the cemetery vault until graves can be dug. There are not enough physicians available to get death certificates for the deceased.

Local Older Boys’ Conference Also Postponed

The Older Boys’ Conferences all over Saskatchewan are postponed because of the influenza epidemic.

Friday, October 25, 1918

Organization of Energetic Health Committee was Completed to Take All Steps to Stamp Out Flu

Local organisations met to discuss and form a Citizen’s Health Commission to prevent the spread of the Spanish Flu. They decided that masks should be made compulsory and vaccines free for all. They set up an office that will be open until needed and will be the headquarters where they will search for volunteer canvassers and nurses and to find arrangements for children with sick parents.

City of Moose Jaw Victory Loan

There was a civic holiday on Monday October 28, 1918 that was cancelled due to the epidemic.

Notice to Parishioners of St. Joseph’s Church

Public services are cancelled for October 27, 1918.

CITIZENS Attention!

The Citizen’s Health Commissions needs 100 volunteers to take a census of those affected by the Spanish Flu. They also need 50 vehicles, volunteers for hospitals, homes and at the headquarters. Everyone is ordered to wear a mask which are free at the headquarters.

Dr. Turnbull Says All Should Wear Masks

Dr. Turnball, Medical Health Officer, said in an interview that everyone should wear masks for preventative measures. They can’t be worn more than two hours and must be boiled to be sterilized.

Half Holiday on Monday has been Cancelled

Mayor Davidson decided to withdraw the half holiday for the Victory loan that was planned for Monday, October 28, 1918 because of the influenza epidemic.

Eleven Deaths Past 24 Hours Total Now 39

There have been thirteen new cases since Thursday, October 24 at noon and eleven patients discharged. However, there have been eleven deaths since Thursday bringing the total to Thirty-nine. There are believed to be many cases in private homes.

Today's Deaths From the Flu

Morris Bacon age 25, Conductor Blake Scott age 40, Joseph Yemoto age 39, George Cousins, William Steele age 49, Hessie Marwood age 26, Charles Switzer age 19, George Eric Dell age 3, Adam Gabel age 2 and Annie S. Latimer age 32 died from the flu.

If You Need Help Phone Headquarters

The Citizens Health Committee will be open day and night and can send volunteers to help with the flu.

Big Parade of Victory Loan Called Off

The parade for the Victory loan was cancelled due to the epidemic. If people would like to buy Victory bonds they should do so voluntarily instead of waiting for canvassers as there will be much less volunteers.

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