150 years of history is being celebrated this weekend with Canada Day across the country and as part of the event, that history is being put on display. From the fur trade to agriculture, trains and exploration. There were a lot of factors that helped Canada reach 150 years old.
Moose Jaw was part of that and local historian Brian Bell says this area helped to open up the entire western half of the country.
"Moose Jaw's beginning in 1881 was with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway surveyors." said Bell. "They were looking for a place to put a divisional point in and the Moose Jaw River and Thunder Creek was the best place to cross the valley. It became a departure point for the rest of the North West Territories."
At one time, Moose Jaw was the hub of western Canada, allowing explorers and immigrants to settle the west. It allowed supplies to be delivered, allowing for homes and businesses to be established on the prairies. That divisional line, with east, west, north and south rail traffic, also created access to international commerce and trade with the United States.
Bell says we often forget how key Moose Jaw was, but the railway made Moose Jaw more important than Regina for a period in history.
"When they tried to buy things at a store in Regina, they weren't interested in money, they needed firewood." joked Bell. "It didn't take off like Moose Jaw did because the key was the railroad being a divisional point here. That was the highway across the country."
"Why we didn't become the provincial capital is a question that still remains."