In 1892, the CPR railroad from Brandon, Manitoba reached the future site of Weyburn and in 1893, the Soo Line from North Portal on the US Border arrived. Weyburn is still an important railroad town in Saskatchewan. Weyburn is reputedly a corruption of the Scottish “wee burn” or small creek.
A post office opened in 1895 and a land office opened in 1899, in expectation of a land rush, which soon developed. Weyburn, located on the banks of the Souris (“mouse” in French) River became a village in 1900, a town in 1903 and a city in 1913. From a population of only 113 in 1901, the City has grown steadily to a population of 10,870 as of the 2016 census. It is the 10th largest city in Saskatchewan.
Weyburn was previously home to the Souris Valley Mental Health Hospital. When opened in 1921, it was the largest building in the British Commonwealth, the most expensive building erected in Saskatchewan at the time and was considered to be on the cutting edge of treatments for people with mental disabilities. At its peak, 2,500 patients were housed here. The facility was closed in 2006 and the building demolished in 2009. All that is left is a nicely treed lane and the grounds.
Weyburn is the largest inland grain gathering facility in Canada. Well over half a million tons of grain pass through its terminals each year. Oil and gas exploration make up the other major component of its economy.
Neither of us had ever been to Weyburn before and were quite surprised by how tidy and prosperous the whole place looked. Our reason to stop here was to visit cousin D and her husband R. When we first planned our visit with them, D said jokingly that she would pray for a prairie blizzard, so we could stay longer. On arrival, we were welcomed with open arms (and no blizzard, thank heavens). After a bit of break, they set out to show us their City. We were mightily impressed and think we may have to go back for another visit.
Weyburn is home to some grand old homes…
…not to mention Prairie sculptures…
…and Tommy Douglas, father of modern Medicare and Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944-61. Actor Kiefer Sutherland is his grandson.