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Moose Jaw, SK

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Artifact Articles


Saskatchewan Cares for its Own


Saskatchewan has a long tradition of caring for the sick and the elderly. From the farm women who campaigned for improvement in rural housing and health, to the Saskatchewan Anti-Tuberculosis Commission which pioneered the testing of school children for the disease, to the first government-operated air ambulance service in North America in 1946, to the provision of free treatment for cancer patients, to the implementation of Medicare in 1962, Saskatchewan has been a leader on the world stage in providing quality treatment at no charge to all residents.

Ask almost any Canadian about what it means to be Canadian, about our core values and way of life, and universal free medical care is sure to be near the top of the list. It was in Saskatchewan, some would say a rather unlikely place, that Medicare was born. But when the system came into effect on July 1, 1962, it did not come out of nowhere – it was the culmination of a dream, of decades of innovation by people of vision.


Discover why Saskatchewan was the natural birthplace of Canada’s system of universal free medical care as you see a host of authentic artifacts, including a medicine chest, symbolizing a treaty made with First Nations peoples.

Artifact Highlights:

Scintillation Scanner

Scintillation scanner

Diagnostic medical device that detected abnormalities in internal organs by measuring the radiation they gave off after a patient ingested a dose of a radioactive substance. In 1962, Saskatoon Cancer Clinic senior physicist Sylvia Fedoruk, graduate student T. D. Cradduck, and machinist John McKay, developed the machine.

Iron Lung

Respirator used at Saskatoon’s St. Paul’s Hospital during the polio epidemic in the early 1950s.