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Transportation and Communication - Introduction
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Ref Number
R-A135-5
Item Date
1920


Railways and grain elevators were the symbols for the new prairie towns.


Saskatchewan’s vast distances and land locked position within the country made transportation and communication networks essential to its success. During the settlement years between 1870 and 1930 it was the railway in particular that allowed the massive number of immigrants to reach their homesteads and to take the grain to the world markets. The railways quite literally built the province and shaped the development of towns and cities.

Before the railways arrived in the 1880s, the transportation routes along the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers shaped the look of European settlement. With no easy access to the southern prairie, it was the land along the river systems that first attracted non-Aboriginal fur traders and settlers. While trains of Red River carts supplied the early outposts via overland routes, steamboats also became a common method to reach the settlements. The steamboat era ended in 1908 when the 'City of Medicine Hat' ran into a bridge at Saskatoon.

Second only to the railways in importance was the automobile age. The cars, trucks, and tractors made agriculture more efficient, and also spelled an end to the isolation that for so many years plagued the homesteaders. This was particularly true once the system of roads was improved.

Improvements in communication were just as important to prairie people. Similar to transportation systems, the newspapers, telegraph lines, phone systems, and the radio age all broke the isolation and allowed the homesteader to be in touch with the world.

Document Details
Reference Number:
R-A135-5
Media Type:
photograph
Keywords:
Better Farming Train; Elevators


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