Swift Current

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This article is about the city in Saskatchewan, Canada. For other uses, see Swift Current (disambiguation).
Swift Current
City of Swift Current
Nickname(s): "Speedy Creek"[1]
Motto: Where life makes sense
Swift Current is located in Saskatchewan
Swift Current
Swift Current
Location of Swift Current in Saskatchewan
Coordinates: 50°17′17″N 107°47′38″W / 50.28806°N 107.79389°W / 50.28806; -107.79389
Country  Canada
Province  Saskatchewan
Established 1883
Incorporated (village) September 21, 1903
Incorporated (town) March 15, 1907
Incorporated (city) January 15, 1914
 • Mayor Jerrod Schafer
 • Governing body Swift Current City Council
 • MP David L. Anderson (CON) - Cypress Hills—Grasslands
 • MLA Brad Wall (SKP) - Swift Current
Elevation 817 m (2,680 ft)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 15,503
 • Density 644.9/km2 (1,670/sq mi)
 • Agglomeration 17,535
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
Website www.swiftcurrent.ca

Swift Current (Assiniboine: Miníȟaȟa [3]) is a small city in southwest Saskatchewan. It is situated along the Trans Canada Highway 170 kilometres (110 mi) west from Moose Jaw, and 218 kilometres (135 mi) east from Medicine Hat, Alberta. Swift Current grew 3.7% between 2006 and 2011 ending up at 15,503 residents.[2] The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Swift Current No. 137.


Halifax Provisional Battalion fording a stream near Swift Current, Saskatchewan, 1885
Census Population
1901 121
1911 1,852
1921 3,518
1931 5,296
1941 5,515
1951 7,458
1961 12,186
1971 15,415
1981 14,747
1991 14,815
2001 14,821
2006 14,946
2011 15,503

Swift Current's history began with Swift Current Creek which originates at Cypress Hills and traverses 100 miles (160 km) of prairie and empties into the South Saskatchewan River. The creek was a camp for First Nations for centuries. The name of the creek comes from the Cree, who called the South Saskatchewan River kisiskâciwan, meaning "it flows swiftly." Fur traders found the creek on their westward treks in the 1800s, and called it "Rivière au Courant" (lit: "river of the current"). Henri Julien, an artist traveling with the North-West Mounted Police expedition in 1874, referred to it as "Du Courant", and Commissioner French used "Strong Current Creek" in his diary. While it took another decade before being officially recorded, the area has always been known as "Swift Current".[4]

The settlement of Swift Current was established in 1883, after the CPR surveyed a railway line as far as Swift Current Creek. In 1882, initial grading and track preparation commenced, with the first settlers arriving in the spring of 1883. During the early part of its settlement, the economy was based almost exclusively on serving the new railway buildings and employees. There was also a significant ranching operation known as the "76" ranches. It included 10 ranches raising sheep and cattle and stretched from Swift Current to Calgary. The ranch located at Swift Current dealt with sheep. At one point there were upwards of 20,000 sheep grazing on the present day Kinetic Grounds. The head shepherd was John Oman, originally from Scotland. He donated land to build Oman School in 1913.[5] Other early industries included gathering bison bones for use in fertilizer manufacturing, the making of bone china and sugar refining. Métis residents also ran a successful Red River ox cart "freighting" business to Battleford until the late 1880s. During the Riel Rebellion of 1885, Swift Current became a major military base and troop mustering area due to its proximity to Battleford but this was only for a short time. On February 4, 1904, the hamlet became a village and then a town on March 15, 1907, when a census indicated a population of 550. Swift Current became incorporated as a city on January 15, 1914, with Frank E. West being the mayor at the time.

The Swift Current Airport was taken over by the city of Swift Current from Transport Canada in 1996. Airport services were then contracted out. There have been recent (2005–2006) plans to expand and revitalize the airport alongside the rural municipalities surrounding Swift Current.

Swift Current is sometimes known as "Speedy Creek", "Swift", or "Swifty".

Swift Current's official slogan is "Where Life Makes Sense".


Lyric Theatre in downtown Swift Current

Swift Current is home to Saskatchewan's oldest operating theatre: the Lyric Theatre, built in 1912 at a cost of $50,000 is the "crown jewel" of Swift Current's historical downtown buildings, with instantly recognizable advertisements painted on the north and south sides of the building dating back to the early 1920s. The building has served many functions over the years: at first it housed glamorous vaudeville performances by traveling companies, was later converted into a movie theatre and, in the mid-1980s, a bar and nightclub. A volunteer non-profit group (Southwest Cultural Development Group) purchased the facility in 2005 and is raising money for its preservation while staging cultural events, such as a mock Chautauqua annually in July, since 2008, open mic nights throughout the year, and administering rentals of the building. The current musician in residence is Al Hudec.

Swift Current's tallest commercial building is the EI Wood Building in downtown.

The longest running business in Swift Current is the Imperial Hotel, also known as "The Big Eye" due to the large eye painted on the side. It was built in 1903 and was used as evidence that Swift Current should be granted village status. The owner, R.H. Corbett of Medicine Hat, needed the designation to obtain a liquor licence.[6]

The Swift Current railway station has been designated a historic railway station in 1991. [7] The Court House is also a designated historical building.



Swift Current experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) that does not fall far from being classified as semi-arid (Köppen BSk). Winters are long, dry and cold, while summers are short, warm and relatively wet. The coldest month is January, with a mean temperature of −12.2 °C, while the warmest month is July, with a mean temperature of 17.9 °C. The driest month is February, with an average of 14mm of precipitation, while the wettest month is June, with an average of 68mm. Annual precipitation is low, with an average of 377mm. Its location in southwest Saskatchewan gives it slightly milder winters than Regina, even though it is higher in elevation. Chinook winds happen several times a year allowing residents to enjoy unseasonably warm weather for short periods of time.

Climate data for Swift Current
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11.7
Average high °C (°F) −7
Daily mean °C (°F) −12.2
Average low °C (°F) −17.2
Record low °C (°F) −42.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 16.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 98.4 122.7 166.4 230.1 275.6 299.8 340.4 301.1 202.5 175.6 110.4 83.9 2,406.9
Source: Environment Canada[11]

Arts and culture[edit]

Swift Current Museum

The city is home to the Swift Current Museum, the Art Gallery of Swift Current, the Lyric Theatre and the Swift Current Library. The city is also host to the Windscape Kite Festival, which is the largest festival of its kind in Western Canada. A group of local talent started up a movie company called Dead Prairies and their first feature-length film "Zombageddon" was filmed in Swift Current. Zombageddon's premiere took place at the Living Sky Casino on October 31, 2012. They made over $4,000 for the Swift Current SPCA. They are in the process of making a new movie called "Swift Nightmares."

Notable Residents[edit]

Brad Wall - Current Premier Of Saskatchewan

Sports and recreation[edit]

Swift Current is home to the Swift Current Broncos, a hockey team that plays in the Western Hockey League. They play in the 3,239 seat Credit Union iPlex in the east end of town. The team has developed some of the world's greatest hockey players to the professional level, such as Dave "Tiger" Williams, Joe Sakic, and Bryan Trottier. The Credit Union iPlex is also the home of the Swift Current Rampage a junior box lacrosse team.

Swift Current is also home to the Swift Current Indians, a baseball team that plays in Canada's premier summer collegiate level baseball league called the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL). Former Major League Baseball players Reggie Cleveland (Boston Red Sox), Jim Dedrick (Baltimore Orioles) and Shawn Wooten (Anaheim Angels) all played for Swift Current before being drafted into professional baseball. Since 1992, Swift Current has won an unprecedented 10 league championships (1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, and 2010). The Indians play at Mitchell Field, located just north of the Iplex.

Other sports institutions in the city include:

  • Speedy Creek Racing Club
  • Chinook Golf Course
  • Elmwood Golf Course

Lake Diefenbaker and Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park are 50 km north of the city on Highway 4. The park provides recreational activities like fishing, swimming, boating, camping, hiking and 4 RV parks.

Swift Current Motorcross Club has a track on the west side of town, just off 11th Ave NW.

Swift Current is also home to Canadian professional track and field/cross-country athlete Kelly Wiebe.


  • Channel 12 - CKMC-TV, CTV (analogue repeater of CKCK-DT Regina)
  • Southwest TV News is an internet-based news program focused on Swift Current and area. It is sometimes broadcast on Citytv Saskatchewan.

Swift Current was previously served by CJFB-TV channel 5, a private CBC Television outlet; this station would close down in 2002, with its transmitter becoming CBKT-4, a repeater of CBKT Regina. CBKT-4 would close down on July 31, 2012, due to budget cuts handed down by the CBC.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Saskatchewan slang". canada.com (Postmedia Network Inc.). November 7, 2007. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "2011 Census Profile". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ "AISRI Dictionary Database Search--prototype version. Assiniboine. "Montana"". Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  4. ^ Tourism Swift Current
  5. ^ McGowan, Don C. The Green and Growing Years: Swift Current, 1907-1914. Victoria: Cactus Publications, 1982.
  6. ^ McGowan, Don C. Grassland Settlers: The Swift Current Region During the Era of the Ranching Frontier. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, University of Regina, 1975.
  7. ^ "Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada - The Directory of Designated Heritage Railway Stations in Saskatchewan". Parks Canada. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  8. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  9. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  10. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  11. ^ Environment CanadaCanadian Climate Normals 1971–2000, accessed July 27, 2012.
  12. ^ Speaking notes for Hubert T. Lacroix regarding measures announced in the context of the Deficit Reduction Action Plan
  13. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-384, July 17, 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°17′17″N 107°47′38″W / 50.28806°N 107.79389°W / 50.28806; -107.79389