Biggar, Saskatchewan

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Town of Biggar
Town
Biggar's Main Street
Biggar's Main Street
Motto: "New York is big, but this is Biggar."
Town of Biggar is located in Saskatchewan
Town of Biggar
Town of Biggar
Location of Biggar
Coordinates: 52°03′32″N 107°58′44″W / 52.059°N 107.979°W / 52.059; -107.979
Country Canada
Province Saskatchewan
Region Saskatchewan
Census division 12
Rural Municipality Biggar
Founded 1907
Incorporated (Village) 1909
Incorporated (Town) 1911
Government
 • Mayor Raymond Sadler
 • Town Manager R. G. (Bob) Tyler
 • Governing body Biggar Town Council
 • MLA Biggar Randy Weekes (SKP)
 • MP Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Kelly Block (CON)
Area
 • Total 15.75 km2 (6.08 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 2,161
 • Density 137.2/km2 (355/sq mi)
Time zone CST
Postal code S0K 0M0
Area code(s) 306, 633
Highways Highway 4
Highway 14
Highway 51
Website Official Website
[1][2]

Biggar is a town in central Saskatchewan, Canada. It is located on Highway 14, 93 kilometres (58 mi) west of Saskatoon, the province’s most populous city.

Biggar has become well known for its unusual town slogan, an Olympic athlete, and a world-record deer. The town was featured on American morning newsmagazine The Today Show in February 2010 as part of an ongoing Canadian-oriented segment during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

History[edit]

Biggar was incorporated as a village in 1909. It was named after William Hodgins Biggar, general counsel of the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP) railway which had come through the area in 1908. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTP) made Biggar a divisional point on its line, building a large station and roundhouse. The population grew as Biggar became a home terminal where train crews were changed.[3]

In 1911 Biggar was incorporated as a town. Settlement continued and the population increased to greater than 2,000 by the mid-1920s, peaking at 2,755 in 1966.[3] According to the 2011 census, Biggar is now home to 2,161 people.[4]

The town is known for its slogan "New York is big, but this is Biggar." It was created in 1914 by a survey crew who painted it onto a town sign as a drunken prank. According to The Biggar Museum and Gallery, the graffiti remained unchanged until 1954 when the slogan was officially adopted.[5]

Demographics[edit]

Climate[edit]

Economy[edit]

The Biggar railway station was constructed in 1909-1910 and is serviced by Via Rail with The Canadian serving the station three times per week. Biggar’s prosperity was directly tied to the railway for many years. Up to 500 local people were at one time employed by Canadian National Railway (CN), which took over the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTP). That number has now dropped to under 200. As the railway industry has decreased, Biggar has shifted its economy to agriculture and related industries.[10]

Biggar is home to Prairie Malt Limited, a large barley processing plant. The malthouse has an annual capacity of 220,000 metric tonnes. Malt is a primary ingredient in beer and whisky. Prairie Malt employs approximately 70 full-time employees. It creates significant spin-off employment among local trucking firms such as Biggar Transport, with a fleet of over 50 trucks.

The Town of Biggar lists more than 150 businesses and services on its website.[11] These include a manufacturer of petroleum and hazardous material containment tanks, a sodium sulphate plant, a large greenhouse and a variety of financial, farm and health services.

Biggar railway station (1909-1910) National Historic Site
Majestic Theatre
Eamon Block (1911) and Post Office

Education[edit]

Two school divisions operate in Biggar. The public school is Biggar Central 2000,[12] a kindergarten to grade twelve school run under the Sun West School Division. St. Paul's RCCSD operates St. Gabriel's,[13] a Catholic kindergarten to grade nine school.

Great Plains College[14] offers post-secondary certificates and diplomas in nursing, emergency medical technician, electrician and truck driving.

People[edit]

Biggar elected Major James Coldwell, the leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, as their Member of Parliament from 1935–58. He was noted as the person that fought for and won old-age pensions, as well as other social democratic reforms in both the William Lyon Mackenzie-King and Louis St. Laurent governments.[15]

Biggar is the hometown of Sandra Schmirler, a 1998 Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion in women's curling. Schmirler died in 2000 at the age of 36 of cancer.[16] Her funeral was broadcast nationally by CBC Television and TSN, a first for a Canadian athlete. Biggar honoured Schmirler’s contributions to sport and her hometown by constructing the Sandra Schmirler Olympic Gold Park, which houses a gazebo, playground, memorial and wall of fame.[17]

The town is home to the world famous "Hanson Buck." Milo Hanson is a Biggar-area farmer and hunter who in 1993 shot a white-tailed deer that was awarded the Boone and Crockett Club world’s record. Hanson reported that after the award was made public, he received hundreds of calls from journalists, photographers and artists wanting to tell the story.[18] His record remains unbeaten.[19]

Government[edit]

Biggar's current mayor is Ray Sadler. The Town of Biggar is located within the Rural Municipality of Biggar #347. Provincially, Biggar is represented by MLA Randy Weekes of the Saskatchewan Party. Federally the town is within the riding of Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, whose current MP is Kelly Block of the Conservative Party of Canada.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ National Archives, Archivia Net. "Post Offices and Postmasters". Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Government of Saskatchewan, MRD Home. "Municipal Directory System (Town of Biggar)". Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b McLennan, David (2008), Our Towns: Saskatchewan communities from Abbey to Zenon Park, Canadian Plains Research Center, p. 32-33, ISBN 978-0-88977-209-0
  4. ^ Statistics Canada. 2012. Biggar, Saskatchewan (Code 4712046) and Division No. 12, Saskatchewan (Code 4712) (table). Census Profile. 2011 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-316-XWE. Ottawa. Released September 19, 2012.
  5. ^ Biggar Museum
  6. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  7. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  8. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  9. ^ Environment Canada Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000, accessed 23 July 2010
  10. ^ Saskbiz
  11. ^ Town of Biggar Business Directory
  12. ^ Educational Services
  13. ^ St. Gabriel's School
  14. ^ Great Plains College
  15. ^ Stewart, Walter (2000). M.J. Toronto: Stoddard. 
  16. ^ CBC. 2000-03-02. Retrieved 2010-04-12.
  17. ^ CBC Sports. 200-08-06. Retrieved 2010-04-12.
  18. ^ "Story of the World Record Whitetail Deer". King's Outdoor World. Archived from the original on 7 June 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  19. ^ Boone and Crockett Club Records. Retrieved 2010-04-12.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°03′32″N 107°58′44″W / 52.059°N 107.979°W / 52.059; -107.979