Saskatchewan News Index
Top News Stories


50 Years Of City's History Spanned For Queen, Phillip; Grain Threshing Show, University Visit Highlights

Saskatoon Star Phoenix
July 22, 1959. p.[?]

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip spanned 50 years of history during their visit to Saskatoon, the City of Bridges, today.

Within minutes of their arrival, the royal couple were treated to a demonstration of grain threshing as it was done in Saskatchewan in the early days of the province. Before their departure they saw the magnificent University of Saskatchewan buildings where nothing existed just 50 years ago.

The threshing demonstration was provided in a miniature version of Saskatoon's unique Pion-Era show presented at the Western Development Museum. The royal visitors showed animated interest in the display, which featured threshing in all its forms from the almost pre-historic flail to the steam engine and separator.

Whistles of the steam engines provided a noisy royal salute as the visitors left the museum grounds.

A link with an earlier period of Saskatchewan's history was provided at the Pion-Era grandstand with the presentation to the royal couple of Jean Dumont, 100-year-old nephew of Gabriel Dumont, trusted lieutenant of Louis Riel.


The Queen so enjoyed the show at the museum that she was reluctant to tear herself away. When the royal limousine drove up to take her to city hall she remained sitting on a small stage, firing questions almost a mile a minute.

The Queen first toured the Museum and then went to the grandstand where old but still functioning wood-and-straw - burning steam tractors, reapers, binders and threshers passed in review, wheezing, hissing, clanking and spitting cinders, one of which went into the Queen's right eye. She blinked it out unaided.

The Queen and Prince Philip obviously enjoyed the snow and the Queen looked like a tennis fan at Wimbledon. She craned around to watch activities in the infield.

In one of the oddest but most enjoyable parades of the royal tour-and one of the best events staged anywhere-covered wagons, surreys, buggies and machinery went by, the drivers doffing their caps.

Treadmills and threshers were going like mad in the infield and the scene was one long burst of noise and activity.

The Queen laughed as she hasn't laughed for days.

She looked completely rested.

In the museum itself, the Queen saw a portrayal of early Prairie homesteading life with women making butter spinning and the like. Philip went off on his own to inspect the old steamers which helped turn Saskatchewan into Canada's great wheat province.

There was so much to see that the Queen kept turning around to catch something she had missed.


The threatening clouds of Tuesday night had turned to fleecy white and warm sun beamed down as the Queen and her Prince stepped from the Royal Train at Avenue Y and Elevnth Street promptly at 10 a.m. The temperature was 64 degrees.

The Queen, looking fresh in the flag-snapping breeze, was wearing a two-poece flowered outfit in thunder blue, a small, soft turquoise hat and white accessories. Philip was wearing a subdued grey checked suit.

The city's population of about 85,000-already swollen by crowds attending the annual exhibition-was increased to 125,000 for the royal day. An estimated 1,000 of that number were on hand to greet the royal visitors as they were piped from the train by the Saskatoon Pipe Band, augmented for the occasion by a number of additional pipers and drummers.

The drive to the museum and, later, to the City Hall and the University, was made through with cheering crowds. Members of the armed forces were in evidence everywhere, as were RCMP, city police and Civil Defence emergency police, who kept crowds in check. [continued]


When King George VI visited here, the main function took place near the Massey-Harris building and thousnads of youngsters in red, white nad blue formed a monster Union Jack as a background for the ceremonies. Mayor of the city at that time was Carl Niderost.

In 1939, in violent contrast to this decade, Saskatoon was still in the throes of the depression. Thousands were jobless and money was a scarce commodity. Despite that, farmers and rural folk contrived to get to the city somehow. It was estimated that more than 100,000 persons converged on Saskatoon. Hundreds spent the night on the river bank and in City Park and the Royal Visit gave the entire area a real "shot in the arm."

There was no TV; radio had not been so well perfected. To get a feeling of intimacy with the event. It was necessary to visit the city. That's just what thousands did.

Groups of vets and small detachments of soldiers marched along the streets to checking points throughout this morning. This phase of activities was in charge of R.J. Sanderson, president of the Canadian Legion.

On University Drive, spectotors began taking up positions by 9 o'clock. Many of them had light lawn chairs and sat on the boulevard enjoying the sun while assured of a good spot to see the Queen.

Stanley Burke, columnist for the Star-Phoenix at United Nations and who is travelling with the Royal Tour, told the Star-Phoenix editor today that Esmond Butler, secretary to the Queen, that Her Majesty had said today she was "deeply touched with the reception at all the western cities and small town."

A little lad in a Cub uniform who was selling programs long before the Royal Party arrived was bragging that he had sold $6 worth but he wasn't sure just how much he would collect out of the deal.

Crowds were lined three and four deep along most of Second Avenue as shops and offices emptied of staff in time to see the royal procession. Some enterprising spectators took up favored positions as long as an hour before time and provided themselves with comfortable chairs for the long wait. Every office window had its cluster of faces and many peered from the rooftops of buildings.