FTLComm - Moose Jaw - May 13, 2000
Moose Jaw, the city with the funny name, known throughout the world for its quirky nature is Saskatchewan's most attractive community. Citizens of Saskatoon are unlikely to agree with this assessment but it is hard to image a more balanced community with its urban forest, interesting stream, picturesque main street and simply outstanding architecture both old and new.

Today's look at Moose Jaw is just a quick survey
because I want to show you
more detail at some other time and dwell on some the fascinating aspects of this city with its North and South Hill and a history unlike anywhere else.

The first picture on this page is the corner gate into the best public park in Saskatchewan, Crescent park with its ornate, almost European layout, its swans, water, and historical swimming pool.

The trees in the second picture are on High street and are just coming into leave. In the middle of
summer these darken this
street with their crowns filling the sky above the pavement.

The junk yard is shown to give you some indication of the city's quirky nature. Antiques surround this metal yard and there are two piles of derelict vehicles heaped into artistic piles that immediately evokes ideas of an illustrious past and a fun way of looking at that past.

The city is a banquet of murals. This one is one of the oldest and simplest but the huge art works are found throughout the downtown area and each have themes and messages that warrant extensive consideration.

The mansion below needs only to be seen for a moment to realise that this is a special place and sits less than a block from the cities main street.

It is clear that the people of this city have begun to recognize the remarkable nature of their community and have begun to add to its considerable heritage with elements like this wonderful gazebo with its cut crystal glass.

Main street is actually impassible in the first block North of the wonderful CP station as crews uncover and restore some of the latest underground tunnels that honeycomb the old River street area. It is disappointing to notice that some of the seediest and most decrepit hotels from this area have been removed and without them the rich texture of this urban blight
seems to be missing in this
revitalised and somewhat sanitised version of Moose Jaw.

While there is this vitality and reviving attempts to focus on the cultural and architectural heritage there are still many signs of the shift in economic conditions. Most of the BA refinery, now an asphalt plant is a rusting confusion. The building on the right once housed the CN headquarters for the area but now the building stands boarded up
and looking pretty tough.

A block from the new tourist hotel/spa stands the burnt out hulk of the Harwood hotel which once was the finest lodging in the city.

The spa complex sits on the site of the former dance hall, Temple gardens, the almost mythical dime a dance wartime dance pavillion that rivalled Regina's Triannon Ball room. Even the names of these places in some trigger memories of Mark Kenny and Guy Lambardo.

The sign below is likely to have come from Temple
Gardens in its hay day.

Moose Jaw is all of the above and more. It was the home of the prairie headquarters of the CP when Railways meant something, a centre that trained thousands of wartime fliers and post war cold warriors. It is the future home of NATO aviators. Moose Jaw is not real, it lives in the minds of all whole savour its funny name and wish to make it what it once, could be or might have been. Moose Jaw is worth many more images and reflection.

If you have a Moose Jaw story we who read and write Ensign would love to hear that story in what ever form you might like to send us.