Big River Header

Businesses, Organizations
Service Groups

Business - Part Three

Excerpts from Timber Trails Book.

Danberg Welding and Machine Shop

Danberg's Welding & Machine Shop in Canwood, Saskatchewan is presently owned by Hugh and Stuart Danberg. The shop originated in 1922 by our grandfather Eric Danberg. Our father, Helge Danberg took over the business in 1949 and operated as Danberg and Sons until 1983. Hugh and Stuart took over the operation of the business at that time and in 1989 purchased the business and the name was changed to Danberg's Welding & Machine Shop. Due to the volume of work that was being done in the Big River area, we purchased the welding shop in Big River in 1994. Both shops are still in operation with full service and a mobile unit is available at both locations.

Danberg's Welding has operated as a family owned business in Canwood for 81 years, and is presently in the third generation of family ownership. We are now in our tenth year of operation in the town of Big River.

Stuart is married to Barbara and they have three sons, Ryan, Kyle and Cody.

Hugh is married to Shirley and they have one daughter Stacey.

Danberg's Welding & Machine Shop, 2004.
Danberg's Welding & Machine Shop, 2004.

Mike took over the shop from Jalmer Johnson and Dan Rogowski in the spring of 1952. The shop was located at 300 1st Street North in Big River.

Mike was a man who loved to work on machinery. He enjoyed the challenge of building or rebuilding things. He was a friend to the farmers, truckers, fisherman and loggers. He did his best to help anyone that needed repair, even the kids with their bikes and the ladies with their broken garden tools. If he couldn't order a part for someone, he would make one. Some how he would get the machinery running.

Many marveled at his ability to work on the most delicate, tiny pieces. His huge wide hands and stubby fingers were very quick and agile. He went out to many farms to repair things. Whether it was a tractor, baler, binder, mower, combine, threshing machine or the truck, Mike never refused to go out to the fields. If he were too busy in the shop, he would go to the farms in the evening.

Mike Skopyk calendar.
Mike Skopyk calendar

Mike taught many of his customers to fix their own machinery. One fellow asked Mike what he was doing wrong. It seemed that no matter what he tried, he could not fix the thing. Mike's reply was quick, "I'll show you, but you will DARN well have to do it yourself!"

Mike Skopyk.
Mike Skopyk.

Mike Skopyk retired at the end of 1979, at the age of 65 years. Many of his life long friends and customers came, or called him at home for help, even after his retirement. Sometimes they needed information or his opinion to get their machinery working.

Larry Postnikoff, a boiler inspector who travels throughout Saskatchewan, commented that to this day many remember and admire Mike's knowledge and work ethic. He noted that even 22 years after retiring Mike was still helping others and is fondly remembered.

Most people will remember his sense of humor, which could often be described as dry. His favorite trick was to pick up a piece of hot iron in his bare hands. Undoubtedly he would be asked by an unknowing customer, "Isn't that hot?" Mike's standard reply was "no, here hold this for me." Upon transfer of the metal piece his customer would quickly drop it and holler. Mike's reaction was always a grin from ear to ear.

RA General Repairs & Welding

Rogowski and Johnson Welding
and General Repair

Submitted By Dan Rogowski

Daniel Rogowski had purchased a blacksmith and machine shop from Alex South, which was situated one-half mile from Bodmin. He operated from there for two months, before tearing the shop down and then moved to Big River for the summer of 1948.

He then joined a partnership with Jalmer Johnson and built a shop and started operating a welding and general repair shop, working on cars, trucks and farm machinery. We ran this business until 1952 when they sold it to Mike Skopyk. Jalmer kept living in Big River and worked for Sundby. Dan left Big River and then went and worked on natural gas pipelines, until retiring and moving to Preeceville, Saskatchewan.

Rogowski and Johnson Welding and General Repair..
Rogowski and Johnson Welding and General Repair.


BR Concrete & Excavations

Rogowski and Johnson Welding and General Repair..
BR Concrete and Excavations, 2004.

C & C Cabinets

Cole Dunn Contracting

Cowan Lake Contracting

Jack Olsen Carpentry & Renovations

Ken Lueken Contracting

Northland Builders

Olson & Backstrom Excavating, Gravelling & Levelling

Richard Miller Shop, 2004.
Richard Miller Shop, 2004.

Richard Miller Trenching & Septic Tank Services

Ritchie Construction

George and Arlene Ritchie, owners of Ritchie Construction Ltd., moved to Big River in 1973, when George was hired as the Phys. Ed. Teacher. Arlene was hired to teach the Adult Upgrading program for the former Prince Albert Community College.

In 1975, they built their own home and did some other construction projects on weekends and during school holidays. In 1976, George quit teaching so that he could do construction full - time. Ritchie Construction Ltd. was started in June 1976. Arlene did the bookwork for the construction business and continued teaching full time until 1982.

During the first few years of operation, most of the focus was on residential construction. Although they still do residential work, the majority of their focus is now commercial and industrial projects throughout the province. Some of the work that they do includes concrete work, water treatment plants, sewage lift stations, building renovations, erection of metal buildings, construction using the ARXX block system, and landscaping. Ritchie construction is also a dealer for Behlen and Fairford steel buildings. The number of employees, two of which are inter - provincial journeyman carpenters, varies from six to twelve.

Ritchie Construction Ltd., 2004.
Ritchie Construction Ltd., 2004.

Ron Gilbert Carpentry

Ron Gilbert is an independent Journeyman Carpenter who has been in the business for close to 20 years. Ron first started working for Jackie Olsen. Ron is very knowledgeable in his work and has great ideas about renovating and is reasonably priced.

Whitebear Construction
Road building. Push and Pull with TS14 Scrapers.


Double R Bison

Eagle Ridge Buffalo

Emde Apiaries

Halvor Ausland and Son.

West Cowan Apiaries.

Submitted by Christopher Warriner

West Cowan Apiaries is owned and operated by Christopher Warriner and has been in operation on a commercial basis since 1980. Before the purchase of the hives in 1980, West Cowan Apiaries operated on a hobby type basis since the mid-1970s.

The federally inspected extracting plant is located three miles west of Big River on the family farm purchased from John Hoehn in 1946. The hives are located in a belt south and east of Big River extending as far as the Cookson area.

2003 marks the final stage of a $250,000.00 expansion project, with May being the delivery date and installation of a state of the art, Cowen High Production Air Ram stainless steel Honey Extractor. This, along with the recent additions to the equipment, the new plant, and rolling stock, make this a world-class operation.

The extracting plant operates from mid-July to the beginning of September. West Cowan Apiaries has as many as nine full-time seasonal staff, thus creating jobs for students who are willing to work.

Most of the honey produced is shipped bulk in 45 gallon drums to BEEMAID HONEY in Winnipeg for distribution throughout the world. Northern Saskatchewan Honey, is noted as among the best in the world, as it is very mild in flavour and extremely light in colour.

Although most of our annual production is sold bulk, we do carry an inventory of consumer - sized containers on a year-round basis.

Though Honey is our main interest, the farm has always been there. Black Angus Cattle have been a part of this operation from the start. Recently we have been developing our herd with some of the better bloodlines in the North American Angus industry. A limited supply of Registered Black Angus bulls and quality female breeding stock will be available on an annual basis. If interesting tours can be arranged.

West Cowan Apiaries.
West Cowan Apiaries.

Winter Lake Apiaries

Winter Lake Apiaries and Forages has been owned and operated by Wally and Pat Weibe since 1986. The primary focus of the business is forage seed sales and specialized seeding equipment rentals. They also have a leafcutter bee operation where they use the bees to custom pollinate alfalfa fields and combine the alfalfa seed to resell locally.


Big River Medical Clinic

Big River Wellness Centre

B R Taxi & Ambulance Service, GV Wilson

Brenda Hanson


Misty Olson

Patricia Lobe Massage Therapy

Public Health Office

Shelly Trudel

Sherry Richards

Spiritwood/Big River Ambulance

Spiritwood Ambulance was formed in 1974 and was run by Michael Dutchak and his son Wayne in the town of Spiritwood and provided service to Big River and area. In 1994 ownership was transferred to Gary and Gail St. Onge, (daughter and son-in-law). On November 1, 1995, Spiritwood Ambulance in partnership with Parkland Health District opened the Big River base.

Spiritwood Ambulance provides a 24-hour pre-hospital emergency medical service for both Spiritwood and Big River area. It currently staffs three full-time ambulances, 24 hours a day; one operates in Big River and two in Spiritwood. With the support of a well trained and experienced staff of nine full-time employees, consisting of EMT's, EMT-Advanced and Paramedics along with the essential contributions of eight part-time staff and countless first responders throughout our service area, we have a well-trained group of medical staff to meet the needs of our community.

Spiritwood Ambulance Care offers a variety of First Aid and CPR training courses as well as many safety orientated workshops, public presentations and medical standby services to our community.

Statistically, in 2000, Spiritwood/Big River staff responded to a total of 119 emergency calls and travelled 211,131 kilometres. There has been a steady increase in our annual number of calls due to the constant evolution in our service area. You can rest assured that regardless of how well developed your community becomes; Spiritwood/Big River Ambulance Care will be with you every step of the way.

Big River Ambulance Care Base, 2004.
Big River Ambulance Care Base, 2004.

Susan Lamothe


Mac Scriven Insurance

Panter Agency Ltd.

Panter Agencies Ltd., 2004.
Panter Agencies Ltd., 2004.

Pat and Donna purchased M.L. Scriven Insurance on February 1, 1985. Panter Agencies Ltd. is now located on 103 1st Avenue North.

Panter Agencies Ltd. provides complete servicing and sales of all classes of property and automobile insurance for residential, agricultural, commercial and industrial clients of Big River and the surrounding area. Clients have several private insurance companies to choose from, as well as Saskatchewan Government Insurance. Other services include motor license issuing, referrals for life insurance, RRSP's, and investments. We also handle Health/Travel Insurance. Our agency is a member of the Insurance Brokers' Association of Saskatchewan and has four licensed brokers in the office: Pat, Donna, Amanda, and Jana.

Pat and Donna are both originally from the Big River area. They moved back to Big River after being away for eighteen years. A career change brought us back to the north and we have never looked back.

SGI - John Hoehn

Specialty Odds & Ends

Big River Billiards

Big River Glass

Bruce's Computer Services

Creative Embroidery & Crafts

Creative Embroidery and Crafts
Creative Embroidery and Crafts

Darby's Stoves

Department of Highways

Department of Highways, 2004.
Department of Highways, 2004.

Diamond Willow Meats

Gordon Dumais Appliance Repair

KCM Motorsports

Michel's Laundromat

Porter's Printing, The Gateway

The Gateway, Big River and area community newsletter, had it's beginnings in the house of Bonnie Porter in December of 1991, with the help of Bonnie's sister-in-law, Della Thompson (who now does her own home-based business called Hemp 'n' Stuff). They began selling, advertising, and the process of publishing the Gateway.

They approached Big River Lumber in helping them photocopy for the first six months of the paper. This was agreed to, so the first issue of the Gateway was published in February 1992. It started as one page, which was double-sided into being eight to twelve pages!

For the first year, the Gateway was done out of Bonnie's home. She expanded the business into the printing of business cards, letterheads, envelopes, logo designs, etc. In doing all of this, Bonnie discovered that more space was needed, so she moved into Big River.

Bonnie is presently located in the post office building and is still doing the Gateway, as well as odd jobs including photo reproductions, photocopying, faxing, letterheads, business cards, posters, flyers, invoices and anything that needs printing.

Service Groups and Organizations

Big River Ceramic Club.
Big River Ceramic Group:
Ladonna Sundby, Lil Randall, Ivy Johnson, Marjorie Skopyk,
Bernice Swanson, Dorothy Kuxhaus, Shirley Yurach.

We started our Ceramic's Club in January 1978 in Marjorie Yurach's basement at 119 6th Avenue North. She had just moved into her new home in November 1977 and the basement was empty.

Darryl Guy was town administrator at the time and knew a little about ceramics as his mother did it in Saskatoon. He knew where we could get a cheap kiln for five hundred dollars. This was set up in Marjorie' s basement.

Let's say we all learned by our many mistakes. Our worse mistake was when we cleaned our pieces, washed them off, then we polished them so smooth it was a wonder any paint stayed on them.

In November 1978, Mike Skopyk and Marjorie were married. He was faced with the ceramic group. They were there first so he couldn't kick them out.

Mike was a great help because the kiln was damaged and in need of repair. Mike did the electric work and Marjorie repaired the cracks.

We used to go to the city in the fall and buy our pieces to work on for the winter. It was always a fun day that was enjoyed by all.

We made many nice pieces. We had some errors but we learned from them.

We donated pieces to different fundraising events. Our last project was the pieces that we made for the Lakewood Lodge Christmas Party.

The school came for two terms with Extra Special program and did ceramics. Marjorie fired the pieces for them.

The group used to have potluck suppers once or twice a year in the basement, which we all enjoyed. In 2000, we lost our repairman Mike, and then after Mrs Lil Randall, Mrs Bernice Swanson, Mrs Norrie Pederson and Mrs Ivy Johnson passed away, we haven't done any more ceramics.

Big River Christmas Organization

Submitted by Janice Wood

The idea of reaching out to those in need during the Christmas season is not a novel one and during the '80s, the Michel, Lamothe, and Wood families began a Christmas tradition of packing Christmas gift boxes. With the help of neighbourhood carolers, they delivered surprise hampers to people in their community and churches. A group of generous people was soon contributing to this tradition by donating turkeys, toys and money and helping with the deliveries. Dick Shea, a local beekeeper supplied honey for the boxes and being a bachelor enjoyed making the deliveries to homes with children. Growing teens and their friends brought new ideas to the yearly gift-giving and for a few years, they dressed as Santa to make the house calls. One cold night when making an out of town delivery the car was hidden far from a farmhouse and Santa walked the last half mile bearing his sack of toys for the children. The elves left to amuse themselves in the car, backed it off the road and into the ditch; needless to say Santa had to return to the farmhouse a second time to ask the farmer if he could give the reindeer a tug or boost. He did, and coming up to the driver's window he leaned in and said, "For years I've wondered who this Santa was, now I know".

In the early '90s, several groups involved in this kind of ministry began to talk of merging into one organization. Tracey Halkett, Karen Carruthers, Linda Van Omme, Faye Becker and Janice Wood, officially formed the Big River Christmas Organization with each person representing a network of generous community members.

It is interesting to note that three of the five members were new to the community enabling ideas from other communities to be incorporated. The mandate of this group was simple. It assessed the needs and discarded the Secret Santa idea that focused on children. A caring and sharing format was adopted and care packages were delivered to any person in the community expressing a need. The following year Leah Scriven and Judy Watson joined the group. A bank account was opened and local businesses and individuals donated funds, a contact was advertised and people began to phone in requests and suggestions for hamper recipients and the Big River Christmas organization began its official existence. The first few years were full of challenges and clarifications; the committee based its changes on responses from recipients of the deliveries. Several people who received hampers came into more affluent and peaceful times and desired to serve on the committee, bringing much wisdom and suggestions for meeting and accessing real needs.

As trust developed, the organization grew and drew up a policy forging deeper commitments to act for the community in a caring and sharing manner during the Christmas season. Some of the acts of service provided are as follows: remembering families that have lost loved ones during the year, singing carols and delivering a small token of Christmas cheer to shut-ins and seniors *over 40 in 2002, helping single parents and low income families with a food and gift hampers *over 35 in 2002, welcoming newcomers to the area *5 in 2002, only those phoned in are delivered to, delivering surprise gift packages *stipulation being committee must know what they contain, supporting the church leaders in their busy season with a hamper, responding to urgent needs *these can include illness, sudden loss of employment, financial burdens, or other emergencies that are noted. Every year there has been an emergency call on Christmas Eve of some sort although situations have varied. One year the deliveries had been made early to allow the mom to access what she still needed; we had even supplied a Christmas tree with ornaments. Christmas Eve, there was a panic call; relatives had broken in and stolen the presents and the tree; could the organization supply something for the kids to open in the morning. The answer was a resounding yes! Deliveries are made to those who phone in requests themselves and to places phoned in by caring neighbours and friends. It is the organization's policy to not deliver packages unless the recipient has given permission, allowing individuals to assess their own needs. Exceptions are made in the cases of welcome and bereavement trays. Over the years, the organization has received many thank-you letters and words of appreciation.

Valerie O'Connell takes a break from wrapping gifts for Secret Santa.
Valerie O'Connell takes a break from wrapping gifts for Secret Santa.

To function this service depends on the generosity of a great many people. There are hours of planning, wrapping, shopping, packaging and delivering to be done in a very busy season. The unique ways some organizations and individuals contribute to this project are truly amazing and too varied to list here but the following are some examples: two people who have moved away from the community sent all the mugs and Christmas candy that was delivered to the seniors for Christmas 2002, one family grows all the fresh vegetables used for the food hampers, several people come to wrap gifts for a day, a pair of sisters bake all cookies for the trays, a sewing group makes hand made articles and the nuts-n-bolts, one person makes a dozen buns for each hamper, one person supplies all the socks and toothpaste for each hamper, one business supplies the honey, the local R.C.M.P. donated all the gifts from their gift exchange, some groups adopt a family, supplying all the food and gifts for that particular package, sides of beef have been donated and a local merchant allowed the group to use his equipment to cut and wrap it one evening, the ideas from the Big River community have been endless and creative. Serving on this committee is a pleasure and all who give and receive are to be commended for there trust and support.

"Living in a small community enables each person to take an active part in the joys and sorrows of those around them. It truly provides an opportunity to share. I am humbly grateful for the Christmas seasons my counter was filled with communal care. I accepted generous baking gifts as entirely mine for the time I needed them. In response, I shall keep my heart and eyes open and hopefully, I will be granted a way to gently place them where they can be used in another's time of need; knowing full well they shall return to me should I need them again. It has been an honour to serve the community in this capacity for the past 35 years."

Christmas Organization Committee Members 2002: Leah Scriven (secretary), Lynn Lomsnes (treasurer), Rhonda Theissen, Colleen Honig, Jelaine Kennedy, Janice Wood (Public Relations). Appreciation is extended to all those who served on this committee in the past.

Big River Community Choir

Submitted by Betty Gendron

We began our community choir before 1999 when a group of people, Vivian Zinovich, Eva Miller, Kay Warren and Pat Hanson got together to form a choir. These people were representatives from different churches.

We are often asked to sing at funerals and because of a full church, they are often seated at the front of the church or hall where others do not wish to be seated. By helping with singing, it is the final way we can honour the deceased. Most of the people that sing in the choir are church attendees who know most of the hymns are able to come to the services.

We do not have time to practise but are willing to volunteer our time in any way we can.

Big River Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs

Submitted by Bertha Smith

In the spring of 1972, members of the Shellbrook Kinsmen Club approached George Yurach with a proposal. The intention was to form a Kinsmen Club in Big River. After contacting interested young men in the area, and holding several meetings, the Big River Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs were formed.

Both clubs were chartered on November 11, 1972. In attendance at Charter night were members of several Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs, and the National President, Pierre Blanchard from Montreal, Quebec. Big River Kinsmen Club was the 500th club formed. Shellbrook Kinsmen and Kinettes were the sponsoring clubs. Charter presidents were George and Shirley Yurach.

Kinsmen were a young men's service club and had members up to the age of forty years. Over the years changes have been made and men of any age can now belong to the Kinsmen.

When Kinettes were chartered in Big River, the club was an auxiliary to the Kinsmen Club, and members were wives of Kinsmen. The Kinettes are no longer an auxiliary and any woman can now join.

The Kinsmen and Kinettes did a wide variety of things to raise money to help in the community. Just to name a few: cutting logs and selling them, holding bake sales, raffling many things, including cars and shopping sprees. They started a local lottery, which raised many thousands of dollars. One year the Kinettes had a fun fashion show with the Kinsmen as models. They also had some regular fashion shows. The Kinettes spent many hours preparing items to sell at the local Hobby and Craft Fair.

National Kinsmen President Pierre, presenting the charter to Big River Kin President George Yurach.
National Kinsmen President Pierre, presenting the charter to
Big River Kin President, George Yurach.

One year, George Yurach, Harvey Martin and Grant Pryznyk, local Kinsmen members, rode bikes from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Big River. Kin Dave Krawetz accompanied them in a motor home. They took pledges along the way. Many dollars were raised.

Kinettes worked at Bingo's in Prince Albert to raise funds for projects they carried out. Ladies night out was a popular event where Kinsmen hosted the ladies.

Kinsmen and Kinettes, being service clubs, carried out many service projects to benefit the community. Their motto is "Serving the Community's greatest needs". The clubs saw many needs and tried to help wherever they could. From a gift for the New Years baby to Santa Claus Day, the Kinsmen and Kinettes were always involved.

National Kinsmen and Kinettes initiated Heritage Day. Local clubs carried this out in their communities. Senior Citizens in Big River and area were invited to share a meal prepared and served by Kinsmen and Kinettes. After supper, they were treated to entertainment and a dance. Heritage Day was much anticipated and enjoyed by all involved.

When baby car seats became necessary, the Kinette Club purchased several car seats for newborn infants. Mothers could rent these seats to be used in their cars.

Many groups benefited from the work of the Kinsmen and Kinettes. The local seniors, Hospital and Lake Wood Lodge and some individual members of the community were recipients of various kinds and amounts of help. The skating and curling rinks received thousands of dollars raised by Kin members. They fully supported both facilities. One Kinsman made street signs for Big River.

Kinsmen and Kinette members served on committees and boards in town and area. The Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs supported the Big River Rodeo idea. They, along with other service clubs and many interested people formed a rodeo association. For several years the Big River Rodeo was a very popular summer event. Kin members spent many hours helping to organize and carry out the rodeo each year. Several Kin members served on the Rodeo Association Board.

Telemiracle is a twenty-hour telethon run by Kinsmen and Kinettes. It airs on local television once a year. Pledges are made to raise money for the Telemiracle Foundation. Some local Kin members have helped with Telemiracle. The telethon has raised millions of dollars to help people with severe medical problems. Big River was the recipient of a bus to transport the handicapped. Several local people have been assisted in various ways.

Kinsmen and Kinettes didn't only work; they had a lot of fun. Each year there was a wind-up camping trip. The family of Kin included our children. The annual Christmas party was a highlight for them.

When Kin took part in rodeo parades the children were included also. They were included anytime it was possible.

Kin has several inter-club sporting events including hockey, volleyball and curling. Some local teams were quite successful.

Many hours were spent simply enjoying fun and fellowship.

We had some long-term members. Kinsmen George Yurach was granted life membership.

For close to 30 years the Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs were very active in Big River, "Serving the Community's Greatest Needs". As of 2002, both clubs have become inactive, mostly due to difficulties in recruiting new members.

Big River Library

The Big River Library opened in 1968 in the New Centennial Building. It was and is part of the Wapiti Regional Library system. There are fifty-four libraries in our region.

The first librarian for the library was:

Barbara Warriner - (1968 - 1973).

Other Librarians over the years were:

Ruth Isley (1973 - 1974)
Elsie Vaudreuil (1974 - 1976)
Mabel Hodgson (1977 - 1993)
Norah Anderson (1992 - 1993 and 1996 - 1998)
Joyce Ahearn (1994 - 1996)
and to our present librarian
Karen Leach (1998 - present).

Big River Lodge #256 Benevolent and
Protective Order of the Elks

Big River Elk's Hall, 2004.
Big River Elk's Hall, 2004.

The Big River Lodge #256 Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks
was granted their charter on May 15, 1935.

The following Officers were installed:

Exalted Ruler - J.S. Friedman
Leading Knight - P.N. Green
Loyal Knight - C.E. Potter
Lecturing Knight - L . J. Waite
Secretary - W.R. Gould
Treasurer - C.G. Otte
Chaplain - N. Calland
Esquire - R.M. Bell
Inner Guard - G.T. Hartnett
Tyler - F. Buckley
Trustees - S. Kowalyk, J. S. Forbes and J. Waite.

The Charter Members were the above Officers and:

E.C. Over, A.R. Eddie, C.E. Upson, M.P. Mellin, A.B. Panter, G.A. Anderson, C.P. Hoffman, J.K. Johnson and C.J. Brownfield.

Title to lots 9 and 10, both in Block 6, Big River Plan AA 4863,
was transferred on November 30, 1936.

Big River Meeting, 2004.
Back Row:
Cliff Felt, John Jezowski, Brad Darbyshire, Raeleen Leach,
Bob Mutukistna, Sam Miller.

Middle Row:
Kristen Hodgson, Michelle Gilbert, Carolyn Piche, Amber Hartnett,
Jolene Yuzdepski, Brett Reed, Lance Arcand.

Front Row:
Krista Teer, Brent Martin, Janene Scriven, Maxine Reimer, Ryan Hartnett,
Kyle Darbyshire, Devon Darbyshire.

There was a house on this property belonging to Ed Zeigler, which was converted to a hall. Lot 10 was sold for taxes on December 1, 1934, and the value on the title was $300.00.

In the minutes dated September 4, 1952, George A. Anderson estimated the cost of extending the hall by 50'x 40' and adding on an extension for the kitchen to be $5800 and the Lodge accepted this. The hall now was 100' x 40' with a 12' x 16' entrance. The kitchen was 12' x 30'. There were bathrooms and a basement entrance at the back.

In 1975, major renovations were made to the basement. Space was excavated and steel beams were placed under the floor. Other renovations included a cemented basement floor, cement blocks for the walls, ceiling tiles and a carpet laid in 1978, for clubrooms.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s when a new skating and curling rink complex was being built, the Elks and Royal Purple helped by raising funds for several years. The "Klondike Days" event will always be remembered by many. There was a Wagon Wheel Saloon, gambling wheels, games of chance, and dancing girls who performed for two hours each night and in the afternoons. The "Klondike Days" remained a popular event for several years. For several years, the Elks put on Walk-a-thons where 50% of the proceeds was for the rink and 50% for their building fund. Since the hall was just over forty years old, the Elks saw the need to start the fundraising for the construction of a new hall.

The Elks also had weekly afternoon Bingo to raise funds for their building funds.

In 1984 and continuing until 2003, the Elks were taking 10% of their gross revenue and budgeted this to replace the Elks hall. In 2003, the Elks turned $120,000 from their building fund over to the New Hall Committee.

In 1987, the Elks and Royal Purple from Big River, together with other Lodges in the District, raised funds to purchase and operate Dialysis Machines, which were government-approved, at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert. By working at monthly Bingo's in Prince Albert, these generous donations have facilitated the purchase of 14 Kidney Dialysis machines. Several people from this area are now able to travel to Prince Albert, instead of Saskatoon, for their kidney dialysis.

The Elks have helped raise funds for the Nursing Home, new health Centre, air conditioning units at the Health Centre and Ski Timber Ridge. The Elks provide a community service by helping the T.D. Michel School Easter Bingo and providing a birthday party at the Lakewood Lodge.

For the past 34 years, the Elks run two bingos a month. All proceeds are used for charitable purposes. The Elks Lodge has served Big River District through the years supporting and promoting all sports activities. The hall has been serving the community for many years, free for funerals and rented for weddings and dances at a reasonable cost. The Elks and Royal Purple have worked on many joint projects for the benefit of the community.

Big River Multiple 4H Club

Submitted by Alicia Panter

In 1985, Carole Poche started up a Light Horse Club. She had gone away over the winter months and approached Lorna Rice to oversee the club in her absence. This club ran for two years. With the absence of 4H for a few years in Big River, Holly Reimer and Cindy Epp started up multiple clubs in 1997. Holly took on the leadership of a beef club and Cindy started a light horse club. This being the first year, the kids learnt a lot about the animals. They also participated in judging clinics, public speaking, curling, and many different other fun activities, which have carried on throughout the years. The leadership has changed hands throughout the years in the Light Horse Club with Cindy Epp, Jodie Gear, Alicia Panter, Carla Whitrow, Cindy Olson, Rebecca Beebe, Brenda Bradley, and Cory Wall. The beef leaders have been Holly Reimer, Carolyn and Barry Moule and Dennis Nicholson. The General leader has been passed on from Roxanne Smith, Shawn MacFadden, and Carolyn Moule within the last few years.

The children involved in 4H take part in an achievement day usually held at the beginning of summer. The beef participants then take part in a District Show held in Spiritwood at the beginning of June.

The Executive of the 4H Club through
the years has been as follows:

1997 - 1998

President - Maegen Panter
Secretary - Becky Panter

1998 - 1999

President - Becky Panter
Vice President - Robin Donald
Secretary - Maegen Panter
Treasurer - Michelle Honig
Reporter - Keri Hyllestad

1999 - 2000

President - Becky Panter
Vice President - Robin Donald
Secretary - Maegen Panter
Treasurer: Beef - Amanda Proulx
Light Horse: Michelle Honig
Reporters: Beef - Melanie Proulx
Light Horse: Lindsey Olson

2000 - 2001

President - Michelle Honig
Vice President - Maegen Panter
Secretary - Chelsey Crashley
Treasurer - Tanielle Cossar - Bowes
Reporter: Beef - Duncan Smith
Light Horse: Becky Panter

2001 - 2002

President - Amanda Proulx
Secretary - Melanie Proulx

2002 - 2003

President - Amanda Proulx
Secretary - Michelle Honig

2003 - 2004

President - Joanne Reimer
Secretary - Keri Hyllestad

2004 - 2005

President - Joanne Reimer
Secretary - Melanie Proulx

Reserve Champion Cow/Calf.
Reserve Champion Cow - Calf and Champion Female
shown by Tyler Meyers, Big River, winning the Wasden Hereford banner
presented by Roberta Wasden.

Reserve Champion Steer.
Reserve Champion Steer shown by Keri Hyllestad, Big River.
Winning the Cadieu Ranching Ltd. Banner, presented by Grant Cadieu.

4H Beef group.
4H Beef Group.

Back Row:
Dan Breker, Cory Breker, Nathan Lamothe, Kathy Donald, Joanne Reimer,
Holly Reimer, Roxanne Smith, Brendan Smith, Brandon Reimer.

Middle Row:
Amanda Proulx, Tyler Meyers.

Front Row:
Robin Donald, Adrian Proulx, Melanie Proulx,
Lisa Proulx, Jessica Meyers, Duncan Smith.

4H Beef group.

4H Light Horse Group.

Back Row:
Mark Chretien. Riley Epp.

Middle Row
(standing): Maegen Panter, Lindsey Olsen. Michelle McLean.

Front Row:
(sitting): Becky Panter, Keri Hyllestad, Chelsey Crashley,
Aaron Honig, Gwen Bradley. Michelle Honig.

Big River - Park West Multiple 4H Club

Submitted by Darlene Vaadeland

Carl and Marion Sward started the Big River
Multiple 4-H Club in 1976.

1977 - 1978

General Leader - Carl Sward
Assistant - Marion Sward
Heifer Project Leader - Norman Aarrestad
Assistant - Kate Young
Feeder Calf Leader - Pat Curtis
President - Mervin Vaadeland
Secretary - Dulcie Young
Treasurer - Jeanette Wicinski

1978 - 1979

General Leader - Shirley Wicinski
Beef Project Leader - Norman Aarrestad
Assistant - Ruben Vaadeland
Clothing Project Leader - Eva Miller
Assistant - Eileen Aarrestad
President - Jack Harty
Secretary - Jeanette Wicinski
Treasurer - Kathy Wicinski

1979 - 1980

General Leader - Ruben Vaadeland
Assistant - Darlene Vaadeland
Beef Project Leader - Norman Vaadeland
Light Horse Leader - Wendell Hiltz
Cooking - Leona Billinger
Cosmetology - Audrey Hiltz
President - Darren Kennedy
Secretary - Dulcie Young
Treasurer - Gord Vaadeland

1980 - 1981

General Leader - Ruben Vaadeland
Assistant - Darlene Vaadeland
Beef Project Leader - Norman Aarrestad
Assistant - Jane Hildebrand
Macrame Leader - Wanda Hartnett
Cooking - Bernice Fells
President - Merlin Park
Secretary - Myrna Young
Treasurer - JoAnn Park

1981 - 1982

General Leader - Ruben Vaadeland
Assistant - Darlene Vaadeland
Beef Project Leader - Norman Aarrestad
Assistant - Leonard Park
President - JoAnn Park
Secretary - Dulcie Young
Treasurer - Cathy Hildebrand

1982 - 1983

Changed the name from Big River Multiple 4-H Club
to Park West Multiple 4-H Club

General Leader - Ruben Vaadeland
Assistant - Darlene Vaadeland
Beef Project Leader - Norman Vaadeland
Assistant - Jane Hildebrand
Cooking Project - Eileen Aarrestad
Junior Leader Project - Darlene Vaadeland
President - Merlin Park
Secretary - JoAnn Park
Treasurer - Maxine Aarrestad

1983 - 1984

General Leader - Ruben Vaadeland
Assistant - Darlene Vaadeland
Beef Project Leader - Norman Aarrestad
Assistant - Jane Hildebrand
Cooking Project - Eileen Aarrestad
President - Gord Vaadeland
Secretary - Myrna Young
Treasurer - Greg Vaadeland

1984 - 1985

General Leader - Ron Dzuirzynski
Assistant - Jeanette Dzuirzynski
Beef Project Leader - Isaac Hildebrand
Assistant - Pat Curtis

The Curtis's remained with the club until it dissolved in 1988-1989. Anyone still interested in 4-H went and joined other 4-H clubs in the area. Members of this club came as far away as Big River, Ladder Valley, Lake Four, Park Valley, and Stump Lake and beyond.

Some of the things that the members participated in were as follows: curling competitions, calf tours within their club and to others, Walk - a - thons, craft sales, Public Speaking competitions and Debates. They went roller-skating at the Good Times Roller Rink in Prince Albert and they toured the sawmill at Bodmin. They participated in their Achievement Days, which were held at Big River Rodeo Grounds, Ladder Valley Curling Rink and School site and the ball diamond at Norman Aarrestad's. They also showed their calves at the finished beef Show and sale in Prince Albert. This was an event put on especially for the 4-H Clubs in the surrounding area to show and sell their animals, to give the members some experience in this line. The members did quite well with their calves, record books, judging competitions and uniforms, placing first one year. They also entered floats in the Big River Parade, placing first one year here.

Some members also attended Camp Raynar, a 4H Camp on Lake Diefenbaker. This camp was held yearly. In the summer of 1983, Dulcie Young went on a 4-H Exchange trip to Nova Scotia and in the summer of 1984, three of our Club members were lucky enough to be picked to go on an exchange trip to New Brunswick. They were Lisa Harty, Cathy Hildebrand and Greg Vaadeland.

Boys Scouts

Submitted by Betty Gendron

The Boys Scouts were organized in Big River in the late 1920s. This was a group of boys, eleven years and older, who were training for mental, moral and physical development. Camping out in the forest or near one of the many lakes in the area was part of the boys training to increase their knowledge of the outdoors. It was also a pleasant and healthful way for the boys to spend their summer.

Mr Gordon Walker was the group leader in 1929, when the boys were given a special treat. They were flown to Waskesui to attend a Boy Scout Jamboree. A plane from the R.C.A.F. base at Ladder Lake was used to take the boys. The pilot of the plane was "Wiggie" Grace.

The names of some of the boys who went on this trip were Dick Smith, Alex Afanasieff, Gordon Dunbar, Blake Mathews, Jackie Maxwell and Tommy Michel.

In the 1930s, Mr Frank Michie (schoolteacher) was the leader of the Boy Scouts and the Wolf Pack.

The Wolf Cub Pack was made up of boys under eleven years of age. The boys, with Mr Mickie in attendance, would meet each Saturday morning on the hill overlooking the town. In nice weather, they would gather around a "council rock" on the hill.

If the weather was unsuitable, the meetings would be held in the basement of the Roman Catholic Church.

Scouts restarted in Big River in 1969, with meetings being held at the new multi-purpose United Church until the TD Michel School Gym was available in 1981.

Throughout the years, the residents led the Beavers, aged five to seven yrs, Cubs, age eight to eleven yrs, Scouts, over twelve yrs and Ventures, a co-ed group of older teens. Also helping to lead the groups and to help in any way were the RCMP and the Kinsmen.

Scout Camp - November 1950.
Scout Camp, November, 1950.

Rapid Bend School.
Back Row:
Del Lomsnes, Paul Doucette, Ken Lomsnes, Lee Cooper,
Scott Meiklejohn, Betty Braidek.

Middle Row:
Greg Cookman, Kelly Schneider, Michael O'Neil,
Jackie Becker, Neil Billinger.

Front Row: Greg Sundby, Kent Buckingham. 1973.

Gerry Warren with his dad Dave and Leader Steve Raymond.
Gerry Warren with his dad Dave and Leader Steve Raymond.

The Big River Group were part of the Norwood Lakes District, which included Big River, Debden, Leask and Spiritwood. From 1985-1993 members met for a weekend in June for a camping experience. Big River parents, with tents and campers, were involved. The district camp was held in a different place each year. Ladder Valley, Emerald Lake, Ness Lake, Big River Bible Camp, Sturgeon Lake, Canwood Park, Victorie and Chitek Lake became a small community when groups of children and adults came to spend a weekend of fun and learning in the wilderness. Many memories and friendships have been made from a weekend attending one of these campouts.

The group also decorated a float for the Rodeo Parade, which was held in Big River during Rodeo Days. Cubs took part in a Kub Kar construction, making a wooden toy car from a kit and then competing in different events, which were held at the T.D. Michel School. They all worked hard at earning their different badges throughout the years.

At the Remembrance Day Services, held at the school, the Cubs parade behind the Canadian Flags as part of the ceremony.

It appears that 1992 was the last year of scouting in our community.

Empty Quiver Archery Club

The Empty Quiver Archery Club was the idea of and formed by Kevin Olson and Rod Martel in the fall of 1996. During the winter of 1996/1997, the ten members of the newly formed club met and shot on the second floor of Waite's building. That spring they began raising money to purchase 3-D targets.

In the spring of 1998, the club membership had risen to twenty-four and they purchased 20 3-D targets for the club. They held their first annual 3-D shoot and joined the Saskatchewan Archery Association. They continued to shoot winters at Waites.

By the spring of 1999, the club had thirty-two members and hosted their 2nd annual sanctioned 3D shoot, this time at the Timber Ridge Ski area on and adjacent to Bodmin Hill. They held their first measured distance shoot as well as several fun shoots. They had purchased eight more targets and conducted introductory youth clinics. They continued their winter agenda at Waites once again.

The third annual sanctioned shoot in 2000, was held on the hill and with the purchase of more targets for a total of 43, it was possible to set two twenty target shooting lanes. The original course retained all the vertical challenges and level of difficulty that impressed our many visitors over the years. One course was comprised of exotic game targets and was a big hit.

The club hosts an indoor shoot at the Big River Recreation Centre every April and continues to host their sanctioned shoot in May of every year at the Ski Hill. Their indoor shooting lane is now located in the Big River Metis Hall, the old theatre. The rest is the future!

Hobby Fair

The Hobby Fair was started in 1972. The idea was to get people doing and showing their crafts and handy work. Marjorie Yurach and Helen Riddle convened this. This was a big success and has been continued ever since.

Therese Bevan at Hobby Fair.
Therese Bevan at Hobby Fair.

Mrs Ruth Gibson and Mrs Lena Keller at the Hobby Fair.
Mrs Ruth Gibson and Mrs Lena Keller at the Hobby Fair.

Ladder Valley - Lake Four Beef Club

Submitted by Darlene Vaadeland

Art Kennedy of Ladder Valley started this Baby Beef Club in the 1956-57 year.

Besides the regular club meetings, a tour was arranged to the Muirhead and Pugh farms in the Holbein area and Burns in Prince Albert. They travelled in the back of a big truck.

The Agricultural Representative at that time was Tom Rowles. He came out to the school and showed a movie and gave a talk on 4-H. He also toured the 4-H member's farms and looked at their calves.

There were eleven members, and the first Achievement day was held in 1957. Kate Vaadeland placed first, Harold Amundson placed second and Norman Aarrestad placed third.

They also showed their calves at the Big River Sports day and were judged by Allan Muirhead. The members in this club came from the Ladder Valley and Lake Four Districts.

In the 1957-58 year, there were nine members in the club. It disbanded in that year.

Rapid Bend School.
4H Boys and Girls Group.


Pat Kennedy, Herman Thiessen, Harvey Amundson, Pat Harty, Bob Kennedy,
Sally Archibald, Norman Aarrestad, Kate Vaadeland, Lois Kennedy.


Lynn Haltorff, unknown, unknown, Howard Smith, Leonard Smith.

Lakewood Lodge Auxiliary

Big River and District have always been concerned about it's elderly and weak, so as soon as the Lakewood Lodge opened in 1987 an auxiliary was formed. The Auxiliary wanted to be actively involved in providing for the needs and comfort of the residents, particularly those things which make life in the Lodge a little nicer and more "homie", and especially those things the health division does not provide.

Lakewood Lodge Auxiliary

Some of the first Members were:

Laura Wilson (President), Grace Gould, Ivy Johnson, Bertha Smith, Doris Wreford, Exelda Emde and Therese Chenard.

The Auxiliary has never had a large membership, but the
members have always been enthusiastic and worked hard.

Some Members in the later years were:

Pat Hansen, Grace Colby, Sylvia Martin, Gladys Aarrestad,
Noreen Aarrestad, Marjorie Hannigan, Shelly Callow, Esther Gear,
Kate Young, Pam Sharp, Rogie Thibeault Deanna Dunn,
Simone Wilson, Wendy Michel, Darlene Vaadland, May Fabish,
Ellen Fonos, Shirley Beaulac and Mary Lou Bush.

The Auxiliary has made its funds in different manners. For many years they took a hot noon meal out to Bodmin Mill for the workers (about once a month). The mill workers were very supportive and thoroughly enjoyed the hot, home-cooked meals. If the mill needed a meal for a special occasion, a barbeque, or a luncheon, they called on the auxiliary.

Members called on the community for donations of money, food, and help with the meals, and the community always came through.

Members also put on quilting lessons, sold cabbage rolls and other goodies at the Trade Show, ran raffles on a quilt one member had made and donated, among other things to make funds for the Auxiliary's use.

The last couple of years the Auxiliary has put on a talent show, silent auction, and lunch, which has been very well received by Big River and very profitable for the Auxiliary.

Auxiliary members have organized birthday parties and a Christmas party each year at the Lodge. Danny Michel has become our resident Santa for many years. The members have also taken an active part in planting and maintaining the perennials, annual flowers, and vegetables in the flower beds, gardens, and flower boxes outside each resident's window. The Auxiliary has also helped prepare for and work at the Christmas Craft Sale and garage sales put on at the Lodge. Some of the funds pay for the residents' handibus, a cable outlet in Respite, a cable outlet in the front lobby where many residents gather and the upkeep on the fish tank. Some articles the Auxiliary has bought for the residents' pleasure have been the fish tank and fish, shuffleboard, used piano, guitar, tea dishes, Lazy Boy chair, a large TV for the common area, tape recorders, pictures, and many more items that they enjoy.

Hercule Laplante sweeping the sidewalk.
Back Row:

Esther Gear, Ruth Amundson, Ellen Fonos.

Front Row:

Darlene Vaadeland, May Fabish, Noreen Aarrestad, Louella Park.

Dane Beaulac and Hercule Laplante, sweeping the sidewalk.

Royal Canadian Legion Big River Branch #136

Submitted by Rob Warriner and Kathy Hartnett

Rapid Bend School.
Royal Canadian Legion, 2004.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 136 was granted its Charter by a motion of Dominion Executive Council on April 23, 1930. The charter members who worked so hard to originate a "spoken voice" for a local and area veterans are as follows:

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #136
Charter Members:

Edwin Baskott, Dick Bell, William Brown, Medard Clement,
W. R. Gould, John Hackett, Henry Jones, Joe Lamothe,
George W. Martin, Arthur Moores, Ivery Newton, James O'Connor,
Cycil Potter, R. J. "Scotty" Purcell and George McKnight.

Life Memberships were awarded to:
Joseph Dundas and Mike Thibeault.

These men met in their homes and organized and amalgamated with what was then known as the British Commonwealth Ex-servicemen's League, or the B.C.E.L. Their job was to always ensure that area veterans in need found the proper channels to get help, continued "Remembrance" through November 11th programs and that each veteran who requested a 'soldier's burial' received one. The first military funeral in the area was for Joseph Lamothe of Bodmin.

Dick Bell was elected the first Branch President and plans were made to locate or construct a hall or meeting room. The first Legion Hall was located beside the Elk's Hall on 3rd Avenue South. Later, in 1950-51 a garage on Main Street was purchased and after a lot of hard work by volunteer members and several additions, the Legion had its new home. The addition of a kitchen and clubroom with a new roof overall and the Legion was open for business. In the early years, community activities included the Sports Day, library, card parties, dances and socials. Later on, all sorts of meetings, bingos, dances, teas, baking and craft sales, and of course the November 11th Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph, have all helped keep the Legion and it's Auxiliary visible within the community. Many groups, such as the senior citizens, hockey and ball teams, children's groups, the schools, Recreation Board and Minor Sports have benefited from the local Legion's fundraising activities. Recently, donations have also been made to the new hospital, the rink and the Big River Timberkings Junior B Hockey Organization. Membership numbers started small but grew to around 100 in the 1990s, and with a new lounge and clubroom, we had over 225 members in July 2003.

The Legion also created a sporting program for its membership with members competing against each other at Branch level. These events include curling, cribbage, golf, darts and bowling where available. The winners of the Branch competition compete against other Branches through their zone, district, provincial and dominion playdowns. So far, several curlers, dart throwers and crib players have been successful at these competitions, with a few trophies around for proof. Other open sporting events include a yearly shuffleboard and dart competition, as well as the 'Mini Olympics' held every fall. Card parties were and still are a great reason to get together and socialize.

Each year, our Remembrance Day Poem, Poster and Essay Competition highlights the talents of the students at our Big River schools, with judging at all age levels. Big River school children have done very well, with many provincial awards and an honourable mention at the Dominion level.

As a symbol of remembrance the Branch constructed a Cenotaph in 1953-54, and every year since then many wreaths are placed there in memory of fallen veterans and comrades at the November 11th service. The minute of silence is always observed on the 11th hour or the 11th day of the 11th month, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I in 1918.

Today, the Royal Canadian Legion is going through a major change. Our World War II veterans are ageing and therefore, the Legion Executive is made up of Associate Members, with little or no military background. A few of the veterans who are still active are "charged anew" with helping the younger crew keeps the Legion as it was meant to be, a veteran's service organization with many community service ideas on the agenda. As of November 2004, the active elders are Bill and Beryl McKnight, Opal Swedberg, Aileen Daley, Jack Hartnett, Harold Magrath, and Bob and Bernice Snell, among others. Some of the more active Associate Members are: Lawrence Vandal, Phil Devonshire, Pam Sharp, Rosie Bickert, Byrle Friesen, Ilsa Magrath, Rob Warriner and Kathy Hartnett.

Recently, we awarded several (but not nearly enough) honours, with the late Bill Potts receiving a Life Membership, and the late Glenn Swedberg receiving the Meritorious Service Medal, the Legion's highest honour for duties performed on an ongoing and lengthy basis. Harold Magrath had previously received a Life Membership for his efforts and long service from the R.C.L. Estevan Branch, services that he continues as a member of Big River Branch today.

Active members who have moved up to Provincial Command are as follows: Glenn Swedberg - Zone 3 Commander and District 6 Commander, Opal Swedberg - Zone 3 Representative and District 6 Representative and Provincial Color Party for the Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Bill McKnight - Zone 3 Deputy Commander, Beryl McKnight - Zone 3 Representative for the Legion Ladies Auxiliary and Provincial Auxiliary Color Party, Rob Warriner - Zone 3 Commander and District 6 Commander, Provincial Vice-President.

Big River Branch #136 has always had many hard-working and dedicated members who have helped create a stronger Legion and a more successful community in the past, as well as into the future, always holding the Legion mandates first and foremost in their everyday lives. These mandates will be the focus of our plans for our 75 Anniversary celebration, coming in June 2005.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them."

The Royal Canadian Legion Act of Remembrance
Royal Canadian Legion Saskatchewan
Command Ladies Auxiliary
Big River Branch #136 Zone 4 District 6

Submitted by Opal Swedberg, Secretary

In June of 1950, Legion President Bell approached the wives of the Legion members with a request to serve a meal for the mill opening in Big River. The Legion held this money until the Auxiliary started in 1951. Their first meeting was held April 10, 1951, and they were chartered on August 3, 1951.

Charter Members were: Stella Boran, Eileen Dube, Beryl McKnight, Mary Potts, Kate Brown, Edith Lafontaine, Blanche Morrison, Cora St. Arnaud, Marie Clarke, May Lamberton, Doreen Mumm, Marjorie Yurach Skopyk, Aileen Daley, Nora McCully, and Mary Pankoski.

The first president was Marjorie Yurach Skopyk and the first secretary-treasurer was Beryl McKnight. Meetings were held every month in the Legion Hall.

Heating for the hall was an old barrel wood heater and it was some feat to get the fire going, let alone balance a container of water on this round surface to heat water for floor washing and coffee. Coffee was made in a copper boiler and the birch floor was washed with a scrub brush on hands and knees. Needless to say, many containers of water and coffee were lost due to the makeup of the heater. Water had to be carried from different wells and wastewater carried out. Several years later, an old wood range was acquired and placed in the kitchen to cook on. In the '60s, a brand new four-burner electric stove was purchased from Yurach's Hardware at wholesale price. Oh what, a joy!

For tables, sawhorses and boards were used. Benches were brought over from the show hall. For catering, everyone brought dishes, cups flatware, pots and pans. The ladies marked their flatware with thread and if two or more ladies used the same colour it was quite a chore trying to sort it out. Once the dishes were dried with a baby diaper (clean one of course). The members think that the diapers belonged to one of our present members. The ladies saved their Robin Hood and Nabob coupons and acquired their first set of dishes. It was a rose design edged with 22-carat gold and quite a number of pieces can still be found in the cupboards. They also purchased linoleum for the kitchen floor. Through the years folding tables were purchased along with chairs and cooking utensils.

The Auxiliary held lots of different parties, games, cards, and bingo. Bingo cards were held in one hand and the other hand was used to cover the numbers with washers. If the power went out, which it did quite frequently, they moved to the out-of-doors and finished the game there. Benches were borrowed from the show hall for bingo also. Many singsongs were held and Barb Warriner played the piano for these. A pancake supper was served to the Auxiliary by the Legion on the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday. On November 11th supper was served to members, veterans and their families. A Christmas party was held, and Santa brought gifts for all the children.

The Health nurse used the Legion Hall for her clinic. Auxiliary members went to the hall at 7:00 am, in the winter to light the barrel heater and then stayed to help the nurse till 5:00 PM.

The Auxiliary catered to teas, weddings and group suppers. $100.00 was charged for 100 people. The payment was made by instalments and quite often was never received in full. Revenue from tea and bake sales, on a good day, was $30.00.

On sports days, salad and sandwiches were taken out to the sports grounds along with all the supplies. Ice cream was served and you must remember no refrigeration was available at that time. Nor was there a booth to shelter them from the weather.

Once a year, auxiliary members spent a day out at the cemetery for a general clean up. They also planted maple trees, which stand today.

The Auxiliary visited the sick and needy. They also helped the Legion sell poppies, and went from house to house taking their children with them. The Auxiliary was very family-oriented in the early years.

In 1985, renovations were made to the Legion Hall and the ladies built an extension on their kitchen. Our stove today is natural gas, six-burner, two ovens and grill. The Legion hall is heated with natural gas and fully modern.

The Auxiliary continues to cater and hold bingos. They have made very generous donations to the two schools, nursing home, ski hill, curling and skating rink, drama club, winter carnival and helped the Ice Sculpture Team travel to Lillehammer for the Olympics. Major pieces of equipment have been purchased for the local hospital. Donations are made annually to the Red Cross, Liver, Cancer, Heart & Stroke Foundation and Sask. Lung Association. They canvass the community for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. All Veteran Graves at the cemetery are marked with a Canadian Flag.

Lunch is served to the public after November 11th service, and a potluck and socializing in the evening for members. Visiting the sick and needy is still a top priority. The Legion serves us a full course meal on St. Patrick's Day.

We hold a Hobby and Craft Fair in November. This has been held yearly since 1973. We have some raffles and are great ticket sellers. Special 90 Birthday Formal Tea's have been held for members.

The 0 & S Line Canoe trip down the Cowan was made for 10 consecutive years by two of our members. Opal Swedberg and Stella Hartnett paddled the 30 miles with proceeds going to the Recreation Center.

CURLING: Zone 4 is still very active in curling. Zone winner's 1985/ 88/ 89/ 94 - Stella Hartnett rink. 1991/92/93 - Josephine Warriner rink. District Winners 1993 - Josephine Warriner rink.

A special Zone Curling Fun Spiel is now held at Zone Level hosted on a rotation basis by the branches. We have three Charter Members still active in our Auxiliary: Aileen Daley, Beryl McKnight and Marjorie Yurach - Skopyk.

Highest Membership was 1987, 64 members; 1995, 61 members; 2000, 30 members.

On May 9, 2000, a special meeting of the Auxiliary was held with matters about the direction the Big River Legion Auxiliary will take concerning the disbanding of the Provincial Sask. Command of the Ladies Auxiliary and the closing of their office.

It was decided that the Auxiliary would disband after 50 years of service to the Veterans, their families and the community of Big River.

Our last meeting was held on June 5, 2000, with 12 members present. It was a sad day for all those present.

Presidents over the years are as follows:

1951 - 1952 - Marjorie Yurach Skopyk
1953 - 1955 - Doreen Mumm
1956 - 1957 - Irene Baskott
1958 - 1962 - Mary Pankoski
1963 - 1965 - Mary Jane Potts
1966 - 1967 - Flora Kemp
1968 - Elsie Vaudreuil
1969 - 1973 - Aileen Daley
1974 - 1976 - Beryl McKnight
1977 - 1978 - Ruby Scrimshaw
1978 - 1980 - Susan Gilbert
1980 - Stella Hartnett
1981 - 1986 - Aileen Daley
1987 - 1988 - Arlene DeVlaming
1989 - Helen Weir
1990 - Mary Jane Potts
1991 - 1994 - Stella Hartnett
1995 - 1996 - Josephine Warriner
1997 - 1999 - Ilsa Magrath
2000 - Aileen Daley

Secretary Treasurers were:

1951 - 1952 - Beryl McKnight
1953 - 1963 - no records
1964 - 1967 - Barbara Wariner

Secretaries were:

1968 - 1969 - Dorothea Beebe
1970 - Elizabeth Hargreaves
1971 - 1973 - Mary Pankoski
1974 - 2000 - Opal D. Swedberg

Treasurers were:

1968 - 1973 - Mary Michel
1974 - Ruth Ilsley
1975 - 1976 - Stella Hartnett
1977 - 2000 - Beryl McKnight

Zone Representatives were:

1988 - 1994 - Opal D. Swedberg
1994 - 1999 - Beryl McKnight

District Representative was:

1994 - 2000 - Opal D. Swedberg

Life Member was Sylvia Martin.

Royal Purple Lodge #95

Submitted by Laura Wilson and Barbara Phillips

BPO Elks Lodge #256.

Guilda Brownfield, Bernice Tremblay, Norrie Pederson, Eva Martin, Laverne McNabb, Grace Colby, Rubina Wenzel, Grace Gould, Eva Mellon, Margaret Hanson, Pearl McNabb.

The very first meeting of the Big River Lodge was held on December 5, 1946. This came about by the BPO Elks Lodge #256 who was instrumental in organizing the ladies of Big River to form an Auxiliary Lodge to the Elks Lodge.

At this time the Exalted Ruler was John W Philips. The slate of officers consisted of 14 ladies, plus 16 members. The criteria for joining were each person must have someone in the Elks Lodge, (a husband, son or brother). These ladies were called charter members. Today we have two remaining charter members of the original group that belong to the Lodge. They are life members. Lillian Wopenford, who resides in Calgary, Alberta and Belroy Wirtz, who has her home here in Big River, and takes an active part in all our undertakings.

There have been many changes in the regulations over the years. Now any lady may join when asked to do so by a member of the Lodge.

The Lodge has always been able to take part and in organizing projects of interest and betterment of our town. Some of the real early projects were the Big River Hospital. The Lodge undertook to act as an auxiliary to the hospital until one could be formed in the community. On June 24, 1951, a playground was opened at the Swimming Hole on the river. Playground equipment was installed.

We had members on the rink committee, homecoming committee, had a library and assisted with the Public Health Nurse. We also contributed to Pineview Terrace in Prince Albert. We have given a scholarship for high scholastic standing at the Big River High School and given generously to many projects at the schools. We have donated to the building fund for the Lakewood Lodge, the New Hospital Building Fund and the New Community Hall. We have assisted with brownies, cubs, sports clubs, and seniors, sponsored figure skating, had a booth at the local sports days and took part in the Winter Carnival.

We are joint owners with the Elks on the Elks hall.

The first Wednesday in June is Royal Purple day throughout Canada. Each year on that day we do something special in the community.

BPO Elks Lodge #256.
Back Row:

Laura Wilson, Fran Crux, Guilda Brownfield, Grace Colby,
Jean Apps, Jean Johnston, Mona Meyers.

Front Row:

Grace Gould, Bernice Tremblay, Dorothy Patrick, Ruth Buckingham.

We are a national Women's Charitable Organization. We support our communities and our National Charity, the Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children. We have a network of friends across the country and offer our members personal development.

The Royal Purple of Big River Lodge #95 is part of the organization of the Royal Purple of Canada with a membership of approximately 17,000 ladies. The Purple Pansy is our emblem. At our meetings held once a month, we open with the Lord's Prayer, sing 0 Canada and place the Holy Bible on the centre station, present and salute the flag. We close the meetings with a prayer and singing of God Save the Queen.

We welcome any visitors and ask other women of Big River and district to join our Lodge.

OORP 75th Anniversary, 1990.
O.O.R.P. 75th Anniversary. 1990.

Senior Citizens

Senior's Station.
Senior's Station.

Youth Group

Submitted By Marge Skopyk.

Youth Group Class.
Youth Group Class.

Youth Group Accomplishments.
Youth Group Accomplishments.

Youth Group Instructors: Mrs Reed and Mrs Walters.
Youth Group Instructors: Mrs Reed and Mrs Walters.

In 1938, the government-sponsored a Youth Group for young girls to learn different aspects of life. This included things like cooking, cleaning rooms, washing clothes, and ironing. During the winter the snow was brought in for wash water. We were also taught how to serve tables, crocheting, knitting, rug hooking, and quilting and how to get along with other members in your group.

This was held at Ladder Lake in the old airbase building and the young girls stayed right at the base. While there, they were put into groups of six where they learned the basics of housekeeping. This was held to help teach everyone how to be independent as they went out into life. Our instructors were Mrs Reed and Mrs Walters.

e-mail me.

Author: Webmaster -
"Date Modified: March 22, 2004."

Links to all Webpages:

| Ausland Lake |
Northern Saskatchewan

| Deep River Fur Farm |

| Deep River Trapping Page |

| Deep River Fishing Page |

| My Norwegian Roots |

| Early Mink of People Canada |
E. Rendle Bowness

| The Manager's Tale |
Hugh McKay Ross

| Sakitawak Bi-Centennial |
200 Year History.

| Lost Land of the Caribou |
Ed Theriau

| A History of Buffalo Narrows |

| Hugh (Lefty) McLeod |
Bush Pilot

| George Greening |
Bush Pilot

| Timber Trails |
A History of Big River

| Joe Anstett, Trapper |

| Bill Windrum, Bush Pilot |

| Face the North Wind |
By Art Karas

| North to Cree Lake |
By Art Karas

| Look at the Past |
A History Dore Lake

| George Abbott |
A Family History

| These Are The Prairies |

| William A. A. Jay, Trapper |

| John Hedlund, Trapper |

| Deep River Photo Gallery |

| Cyril Mahoney, Trapper |

| Saskatchewan |
A Pictorial History

| Who's Who in furs |
1952 to 1956

| A Century in the Making |
A Big River History

| Wings Beyond Road's End |

| The Northern Trapper, 1923 |

| My Various Links Page |

| Ron Clancy, Author |

| Roman Catholic Church |
A History from 1849

| Frontier Characters - Ron Clancy |

| Northern Trader - Ron Clancy |

| Various Deep River Videos |

| How the Indians Used the Birch |

| The Death of Albert Johnson |

| A Mink and Fish Story |
Buffalo Narrows

| Gold and Other Stories |
Berry Richards