Moose Jaw

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Moose Jaw
City of Moose Jaw
City Hall Moose Jaw.jpg
City Hall
Canada Saskatchewan location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Moose Jaw
Location of Moose Jaw
Coordinates: 50°23′36″N105°33′07″W / 50.39333°N 105.55194°W / 50.39333; -105.55194 Coordinates: 50°23′36″N105°33′07″W / 50.39333°N 105.55194°W / 50.39333; -105.55194
Province Saskatchewan
Rural municipality Moose Jaw
  Mayor Fraser Tolmie [4]
  Governing bodyMoose Jaw City Council
   MP Tom Lukiwski (CPC)
   MLA Greg Lawrence (SKP)
Tim McLeod (SKP)
  Total46.82 km2 (18.08 sq mi)
  Total33,890 [5] [6] [7]
  Density710.7/km2 (1,841/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Moose Javian
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s) 306 and 639 [8] [9]

Moose Jaw is the fourth largest city in Saskatchewan, Canada. Lying on the Moose Jaw River in the south-central part of the province, it is situated on the Trans-Canada Highway, 77 km (48 mi) west of Regina. Residents of Moose Jaw are known as Moose Javians. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Moose Jaw No. 161.


Moose Jaw is an industrial centre and important railway junction for the area's agricultural produce. CFB Moose Jaw is a NATO flight training school, and is home to the Snowbirds, Canada's military aerobatic air show flight demonstration team. Moose Jaw also has a casino and geothermal spa.


Cree and Assiniboine people used the Moose Jaw area as a winter encampment. The Missouri Coteau sheltered the valley and gave it warm breezes. The narrow river crossing and abundance of water and game made it a good location for settlement. Traditional native fur traders and Métis buffalo hunters created the first permanent settlement at a place called "the turn", at present-day Kingsway Park.

The confluence of the Moose Jaw River and Thunder Creek was chosen and registered in 1881 as a site for a division point for the Canadian Pacific Railway, whose construction was significant in the Confederation of Canada. The water supply there was significant for steam locomotives. Settlement began there in 1882 and the city was incorporated in 1903. [10] The railways played an important role in the early development of Moose Jaw, with the city having both a Canadian Pacific Railway Station and a Canadian National Railway Station. A dam was built on the river in 1883 to create a year-round water supply.

Marked on a map as Moose Jaw Bone Creek in an 1857 survey by surveyor John Palliser, [11] two theories exist as to how the city was named. The first is it comes from the Plains Cree name moscâstani-sîpiy meaning "a warm place by the river", indicative of the protection from the weather the Coteau range provides to the river valley containing the city [12] and also the Plains Cree word moose gaw, meaning warm breezes. The other is that the section of the Moose Jaw River that runs through the city is shaped like a moose's jaw.[ citation needed ]

Military presence

The area surrounding Moose Jaw has a high number of cloudless days, making it a good site for training pilots. The Royal Canadian Air Force under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan established RCAF Station Moose Jaw in 1940. After the war, the RCAF remained in the community and used the facility for training pilots through the Cold War. The facility changed its name to CFB Moose Jaw in 1968 and is now Canada's primary military flight training centre and the home of 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron (aka the "Snowbirds").

CFB Moose Jaw's primary lodger unit is "15 Wing". In the Royal Canadian Air Force the lodger unit is often called 15 Wing Moose Jaw. The base usually holds an Armed Forces Day each year.

The Saskatchewan Dragoons are a reserve armoured regiment with an armoury in the city's north end.

Royal presence

Moose Jaw has been visited by many members of the Royal Family. Edward, Prince of Wales, who owned a ranch in Pekisko, Alberta, visited in 1919, 1924, and 1927. Prince Albert, future king and father of Queen Elizabeth II, paid a visit in 1926. King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth (later known as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) visited during the Royal tour in 1939. Queen Elizabeth II first visited in 1959, and has come to the city a few times since.

The Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward) became Colonel-in-Chief of the Saskatchewan Dragoons of Moose Jaw on visiting Saskatchewan in 2003, when he congratulated the regiment on its "contribution to Canada's proud tradition of citizen-soldiers in the community." Involved in peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, the Golan Heights, Bosnia and Croatia, the regiment has also provided aid during floods and forest fires in the prairies. The Prince returned to visit his regiment in 2006.

The Earl of Wessex also inaugurated the Queen's Jubilee Rose Garden in Moose Jaw on his visit in 2003. Other royal connections to the city include King George School and Prince Arthur Community School, both named for members of the royal family. Before it shut down and became the separate Cornerstone Christian School, the South Hill school was formerly named King Edward Elementary School.


Moose Jaw's climate is transitional between semiarid and humid continental (Köppen BSk and Dfb, respectively) Moose Jaw's winters are long, cold and dry, while its summers are short, but very warm and relatively wet. The coldest month is January, with a mean temperature of −12 °C (10 °F), while the warmest is July, with a mean temperature of 19.3 °C (66.7 °F). The driest month is February, in which an average of 11.1 mm (0.44 in) of precipitation falls, while the wettest month is July, which brings an average of 63.0 mm (2.48 in). Annual average precipitation is 365.3 mm (14.38 in).

The highest temperature ever recorded in Moose Jaw was 43.3 °C (109.9 °F) on 5 July 1937. [13] The coldest temperature ever recorded was −47.8 °C (−54.0 °F) on 4 February 1907. [14]

Climate data for CFB Moose Jaw, 1981−2010 normals, extremes 1894–present [lower-alpha 1]
Record high humidex 12.416.222.831.937.542.845.441.439.331.422.211.245.4
Record high °C (°F)13.9
Average high °C (°F)−6.9
Daily mean °C (°F)−12.3
Average low °C (°F)−17.7
Record low °C (°F)−47.2
Record low wind chill −57.0−58.0−49.0−36.0−15.0−−18.0−32.0−46.0−57.0−58.0
Average precipitation mm (inches)16.8
Average rainfall mm (inches)0.4
Average snowfall cm (inches)21.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)0.750.762.35.610.212.410.
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 106.1141.4164.4229.5262.6289.1331.8301.2194.0168.8102.086.22,377
Percent possible sunshine 40.049.944.755.654.959.
Source: Environment Canada [15] [16] [17] [18]


Moose Jaw City Council consists of an elected mayor and 6 city councilors. [19] From 1881 to 1903 the community was represented by a Town Council and thereafter by City Council.

Moose Jaw City Hall, on the 2nd floor at the old Moose Jaw Post Office (c. 1911), has been council's home since the late 1960s

Provincially the city is represented by two MLA and federally by one MP.


These neighbourhoods are divided into four community associations: South Hill, East Side, North West and Sunningdale/VLA/West Park. [20]


Historical populations
1911 13,823+787.2%
1996 32,973−1.8%
2001 32,131−2.6%
2006 32,132+0.0%
2011 33,274+3.6%

Moose Jaw's population was 33,274 according to the 2011 census, which showed a very small increase (3.6%) from 2006.

Canada census – Moose Jaw community profile
2011 2006
Population:33,274 (3.6% from 2006)32,132 (0.0% from 2001)
Land area:50.68 km2 (19.57 sq mi)46.82 km2 (18.08 sq mi)
Population density:656.5/km2 (1,700/sq mi)686.3/km2 (1,778/sq mi)
Median age:41.6 (M: 39.9, F: 43.1)
Total private dwellings:15,37014,691
Median household income:$45,299
References: 2011 [21] 2006 [22] earlier [23]
Population by ethnic origin, 2011
Ethnic group [24] !! PopulationPercent
European 26,100
Other North American9,200
Asian 1,150
Métis 905
First Nations 825
African 420
Latin, Central and South American140
Oceania 105
Caribbean 90
Total respondent population32345100%


Hammond Building (1912) Moose Jaw, SK.jpg
Hammond Building (1912)
Mac the Moose, a fiberglass moose statue in Moose Jaw Mac (86395457).jpg
Mac the Moose, a fiberglass moose statue in Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw is a city of 33,000 at the intersection of the Trans Canada Highway and Highway 2. [25] A Snowbird aerobatic jet and Mac the Moose are large roadside attractions on the No. 1 highway at the tourist info center. [26] Moose Jaw Trolley Company (1912) offers trolley tours of Moose Jaw. Temple Garden's Mineral Spa, [27] Tunnels of Moose Jaw, [28] and History of Transportation Western Development Museum. [29] are major sites of interest. [30] The juncture of Moose Jaw and Thunder Creek produced the best source of water for steam engines, and Moose Jaw became the CPR divisional point. [31] Large-capacity concrete grain terminals are replacing the smaller grain elevators that were numerous along the highway, sentinels of most communities along the route. Improved technology for harvest, transport and road construction have made the large inland terminals more viable economically. [32] The rural governing body around Moose Jaw is Moose Jaw No. 161, which serves 1,228 residents (2006 census) and includes the Moose Jaw Canadian Forces Base. Meat-processing plants, salt, potash, urea fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia and ethanol producers abound in this area with easy transport access to the Trans–Canada Highway. [25] [33]

The Town 'N' Country Mall is Moose Jaw's only indoor shopping centre.

Many retailers and grocery stores operate in Moose Jaw. These include Federated Co-operatives, Safeway, Giant Tiger, Canadian Tire, Real Canadian Superstore, Walmart Canada, Staples, The Brick, Rona, McKarr's Furniture, Peavey Mart, Shoppers Drug Mart, PartSource, Mark's Work Warehouse, Your Dollar Store With More, Dollar Tree, Home Hardware, Castle Building Centres Group and Westrum Lumber. The fourth Army & Navy Stores store in Canada operated on Main Street from 1933 to 2000. Beaver Lumber had a location on High Street until the company was bought by Home Hardware and the store was converted to Castle Building Centre.

In 1917 a group of local residents banded together to purchase enough automobile parts to build 25 cars. These were to be manufactured under the name Moose Jaw Standard. Each member of the group received a car, but no further buyers were found, and production did not continue. [34]

Arts and culture

Avro Anson bomber trainer in the SWDM museum Avro Anson bomber trainer.JPG
Avro Anson bomber trainer in the SWDM museum

Visual Arts

The Moose Jaw Art Guild is a community arts association made up of local artists dedicated to exhibiting, educating and fostering appreciation for visual arts. [35]


Moose Jaw is home to one of four Saskatchewan Western Development Museums. The Moose Jaw SWDM museum specializes in the history of transportation and has a Snowbirds gallery. [36]

The Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum is south of Moose Jaw on Sk Hwy 2. The car club at Moose Jaw agreed to the restoration of Tom Sukanen's ship at their museum site. Sukanen was a Finnish homesteader who settled near Birsay and hoped to travel home again on a ship he assembled near the South Saskatchewan River. The Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum features a typical village replete with pioneer artifacts and tractors, cars and trucks restored by the Moose Jaw car club, and is run by volunteers. [37]

The Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery is located in Crescent Park at the centre of the downtown area, in the same facility as the Moose Jaw Public Library. [38] The art gallery hosts community exhibits, travelling exhibits, and rotating exhibits from the gallery's permanent collection. The museum also has a heritage gallery, which curates and hosts exhibits on local history, including an upcoming "Pandemic Time Capsule" exhibit scheduled for Spring 2021. [39] [40] The Museum & Art Gallery also hosts classes and events. [41]

2SLGBTQ culture

In 1978, Anita Bryant visited Moose Jaw as part of the anti-gay Save Our Children campaign. In response, approximately 85 lesbian and gay protesters marched down Main St. to Crescent Park, where an estimated 150 people gathered to speak out against Bryant. [42]

In 2008, the Gay and Lesbian Association of Moose Jaw (GLAMj) requested and was granted the first official proclamation of Pride Week in Moose Jaw, and raised the Rainbow Flag over Moose Jaw’s City Hall for the first time. [43] The city's first pride parade since 1978 was held in 2015, [44] and similar parades have been held annually in late May or early June, usually from Main Street to Crescent Park.

Moose Jaw Pride is a LGBT community organization that was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2014. Moose Jaw Pride was a founding member of the Saskatchewan Pride Network, started in 2016, [44] which serves to connect and support 2SLGBTQ people in small communities across Saskatchewan, [45] many of which do not have an established local pride organization.

Since 2019, Moose Jaw Pride has been working with local partners to promote Moose Jaw as a safe and attractive tourism destination for 2SLGBTQ people. [46] 2SLGBTQ tourist attractions include a rainbow-coloured bench [47] on Main Street, in front of the Rainbow Retro Thrift Shop, and a mural on the back of the Rainbow Retro building that depicts events and symbols from local 2SLGBTQ history, including representations of the Anita Bryant march, the Indigenous two-spirit presence in Saskatchewan, the potluck and coffee social events that were central to 2SLGBTQ community development, and several landmark pride flag raisings. [48] [49]


The mineral spa in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Moose Jaw spa.JPG
The mineral spa in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Tourist attractions include the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, The Moose Jaw Trolley, the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort, The Western Development Museum, Casino Moose Jaw, Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, Yvette Moore Art Gallery, the Murals of Moose Jaw, and the historic downtown. Every July the four-day Saskatchewan Festival of Words showcases top Canadian writers in a wide variety of genres. The weekend after Canada Day, the free three-day Sidewalk Days Festival draws tens of thousands to Main Street. The Snowbirds flight demonstration team is based at CFB Moose Jaw, south of Moose Jaw in Bushell Park, where the now defunct airshow was performed every summer. It will be brought back in 2019.

Moose Jaw has many parks. Crescent Park is located in downtown. It features a creek, picnic tables, library, art museum, playground, outdoor swimming pool, water park, tennis court, lawn bowling field and an amphitheatre. Casino Moose Jaw and Temple Gardens Mineral Spa are across Fairford St. E. and 1st Ave. NE. from Crescent Park. "Wakamow Park" follows the Moose Jaw River and features both natural and maintained areas. There are many trails throughout the park for hiking and cycling as well as picnic tables, barbecues, a burger restaurant and two playgrounds. There is also an RV park, known as River Park Campground, which was founded in 1927 and is the longest-running campground in North America. Canoe and kayak rentals are available across the road from the campground. The Moose Jaw Canoe and Kayak Club has been around since the late '90s and is inside the campground.

Skyline of Moose Jaw from Chateau St. Michaels Retirement Home, overlooking Wakamow Valley Park Moose Jaw Skyline.jpg
Skyline of Moose Jaw from Chateau St. Michaels Retirement Home, overlooking Wakamow Valley Park

Old Wives Lake, a saline lake is 30 km southwest of the city on Highway 363. Buffalo Pound Lake a eutrophic prairie lake is 28 km north on Highway 2 and is the city's water supply. Buffalo Pound Provincial Park is on the south shore and can be accessed by Highway 202 and Highway 301.

Tunnels of Moose Jaw

The tunnels present two tour attractions: Passage to Fortune and The Chicago Connection. While Passage to Fortune is construed by many visitors to be historically accurate, [50] there is no evidence to suggest that Chinese Canadians lived in the tunnels of the tours outside of minimal anecdotal testimonies. [51] [52] [53] Historically accurate information such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese Head Tax and the case of Quong Wing v R which occurred at the site of 1 Main street across the location of the tunnels are mentioned throughout the tour. However, Passage to Fortune also circulates misinformation about Chinese Canadians in Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw Tour attendees are called "Coolies" at an early stage of the tour. [54] Tour attendees are then guided through the tunnels from the position of Chinese workers indentured to the fictional laundry owner Mr. Burrows who were forced to live underground. In actuality, early Chinese Canadians were often proprietors of their own laundries, a labor intensive industry many found themselves in due to prejudice barring them from entering other industries. [55] In 1890, the first Chinese business opened in Moose Jaw, was a Chinese laundry. [56] in 1908, nine laundries can be found in the City directory, with eight businesses notably Chinese-run. [57]

The tunnels became a hub of renewed activity in the 1920s for rum-running during Prohibition in the United States. They were reported to have warehoused illegal alcohol that was shipped to the U.S. via the Soo Line Railroad. The tunnels were also used for gambling and prostitution, all without interference from the corrupt police. [58] There has long been anecdotal evidence that American mobster Al Capone visited Moose Jaw or had interests in the bootlegging operations. No written or photographic proof exists of Capone's presence, but several firsthand accounts from Moose Javians who claim to have met him have been documented. [59] Capone's grandniece also confirmed he had been in Moose Jaw before his 1931 conviction for tax evasion. [60] In the 21st century, the city capitalized on this notoriety to restore the tunnel network into the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, a tourist attraction that opened in June 2000. [61] The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, however, states that there is no "evidence that he ever set foot on Canadian soil." [62]

Sports and recreation

As in most Canadian cities, hockey has played a large part in Moose Jaw's sporting culture. Baseball has also been an important part of Moose Jaw since its first days; the city won the territorial championship in 1895. Most recently, the 2004 Junior All-Star team (age 13/14) won the Canadian Championship and became the first team from Saskatchewan to win a game at the Little League World Series.

Notable Moose Jaw teams include:

Defunct sports teams


Local institutions include five high schools and 15 elementary schools. The schools are in the Prairie South School Division and the Holy Trinity Catholic Schools.

École Ducharme offers preschool to grade 12 and is Moose Jaw's only Francophone school. École fransaskoise de Moose Jaw offers French Immersion from preschool to grade 9.

Moose Jaw is also home to a campus of Saskatchewan Polytechnic.


Health care

Moose Jaw Union Hospital, part of the Five Hills Health Region, was the main health care provider for the city since 1948, [63] but closed in 2015 and was replaced by Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital in the city's northeast end. The new location was picked in part for its proximity to the Trans-Canada Highway. The Wigmore Hospital uses LEAN methodology to save time and money in healthcare.


The Moose Jaw Fire Department (est. 1906) is a 57-member fire and rescue service that provides fire suppression to the city and CFB Moose Jaw. It has two stations, North Hill Fire Station (Headquarters) and South Hill Fire Station. It is also contracted out to CFB Moose Jaw to provide structural fire suppression services.

Ambulatory (EMS) services is provided by Five Hills Health Region, which operates an EMS station in Moose Jaw; [64] non-emergency services are provided by St. John Ambulance.

The Moose Jaw Police Service provide policing with 54 sworn members for the city and hold both municipal and provincial jurisdiction, in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


Moose Jaw Transit
Moose Jaw Transit logo.png
Founded1957 [65]
Headquarters1010 High Street West
LocaleMoose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Service area urban area
Service type bus service
Website Transit Division

Moose Jaw Transit provides local bus service to urban areas of the city. This small system operates four routes from a downtown hub on weekdays between 7:15 am and 9:45 pm and on Saturdays from 7:15 am to 6:15 pm, with no Sunday or holiday service.

The bus fleet was replaced in 2008 by new low-floor accessible vehicles, under the federal government's one-time public transit capital funding program. [66]

Moose Jaw Municipal Airport is 7 nautical miles (13 km; 8.1 mi) east-northeast of Moose Jaw. CFB Moose Jaw's airfield is also used by civilian aircraft, with civilian operations at the base referring to the facility as Moose Jaw/Air Vice Marshal C.M. McEwen Airport.





Notable people

See also

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Explanatory notes

  1. Climate data was recorded at Moose Jaw CHAB from March 1894 to May 1954, and at CFB Moose Jaw from January 1943 to present.

Further reading