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Memory Mondays – Temporary Settler Shelters

For this month’s Memory Mondays, we’re sharing photos of temporary shelters used by early settlers in Saskatchewan. When many settlers first arrived on their homesteads, one of their first tasks was to build a house. While they waited to save money or gather supplies to build a new home, they would often create makeshift shelters to stay in until something more permanent was constructed. These photos show a few (often rather creative) ways settlers protected themselves from the elements.

The caption on this photo reads “W. J. Logan, May 1911. First morning on the homestead near Beadle.” It shows a man and dog seated in front of a makeshift shelter made of hay bales, barrels, and wood planks.

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This 1903 photo shows two men in what became the village of Riversdale in 1905. They turned a wagon box upside down for shelter until they could build a more permanent structure. In 1906, Riversdale joined the towns of Saskatoon and Nutana to form the City of Saskatoon.

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This photo shows food and supplies such as cooking pots spread out on a blanket. In the background are numerous white tents. This likely shows the Barr Colonists somewhere along their journey to what is now Lloydminster in 1903, though there is no date noted on the photo.

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This photo was taken by Frank Hembrow-Smith, who came to Canada from England with the Barr Colonists. It shows a group of people standing in front of a makeshift dwelling. 1908.

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Further Reading

To learn more about the Barr colonists, check out these articles on the Canadian Museum of Immigration’s website:

Barr Colonists part 1

Barr Colonists part 2


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