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Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

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Title: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan  
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Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Moose Jaw
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Nickname(s): The Jaw, The Friendly City, Little Chicago

Coordinates: 50°23′36″N 105°33′07″W / 50.39333°N 105.55194°W / 50.39333; -105.55194

Country Canada
Province Saskatchewan
 • City Mayor Deb Higgins
 • Governing Body Moose Jaw City Council
 • MP Ray Boughen (CON) - Palliser
 • MLA Greg Lawrence (SKP) - Moose Jaw Wakamow
Warren Michelson (SKP) - Moose Jaw North
 • Total 46.82 km2 (18.08 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 33,274
 • Density 710.7/km2 (1,841/sq mi)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
Postal code span S6H to S6K
Area code(s) 306

Moose Jaw (Assiniboine: tácehubana [1]) is a city in south-central Saskatchewan, Canada on the Moose Jaw River. It is situated on the Trans-Canada Highway, 77 km (48 mi) west of Regina. Residents of Moose Jaw are known as Moose Javians. Best known as a retirement and tourist city, it serves as a hub to the hundreds of small towns and farms in the surrounding region of Saskatchewan. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Moose Jaw No. 161.

Marked on a map as Moose Jaw Bone Creek in an 1857 survey by surveyor John Palliser,[2] two theories exist as to how the city got its name. 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[3] and also the Plains Cree word moose gaw, meaning warm breezes. The other is on the map of the city, the Moose Jaw River is shaped like a moose's jaw.

Moose Jaw is an industrial centre and an important railway junction for the area's agricultural produce. It is known for its giant historical murals on the exterior walls of buildings in its business district, and its tunnels were used for rum-running during Prohibition. 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 Kingways Park.

The intersection 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 Confederation of Canada. The water supply there was significant for steam locomotives. Settlement began there in 1882 and the city was incorporated in 1903.[4] 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.

A network of underground tunnels connecting buildings in downtown Moose Jaw was constructed beginning around 1908. Its original purpose was to hide Chinese railway workers escaping persecution during the Yellow Peril or unable to pay the government-imposed head tax. Entire families lived in the tunnels and worked at above-ground businesses in exchange for food and supplies. 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 then 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 chief.[5] There has long been anecdotal evidence that American mobster Al Capone had visited Moose Jaw or at least had interests in the bootlegging operations. Although no written or photographic proof exists of Capone's presence, several firsthand accounts from people in Moose Jaw who claim to have met him have been documented.[6] Capone's grandniece also confirmed that he had been in Moose Jaw prior to his 1931 conviction for tax evasion.[7] In 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.[8]


Moose Jaw is a city of around 35,000 at the intersection of the Trans Canada Highway and Highway 2.[9] A Snowbird aerobatic jet and Mac the Moose are large roadside attractions of Moose Jaw on the #1 highway at the tourist info center.[10] Moose Jaw Trolley Company (1912) is still offering trolley tours of Moose Jaw. Temple Garden's Mineral Spa,[11] Tunnels of Moose Jaw,[12] and History of Transportation Western Development Museum.[13] are major sites of interest of this city.[14] 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.[15] Large capacity concrete grain terminals are replacing the smaller grain elevators which 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.[16] The rural governing body around Moose Jaw is Moose Jaw No. 161 which serves 1,228 residents (2006 census) which 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.[9][17]

The Town 'N' Country Mall is the only indoor shopping centre located in Moose Jaw.

Many retailers and grocery stores operate in Moose Jaw. These include Federated Co-operatives, Safeway Inc., Giant Tiger, Canadian Tire, Real Canadian Superstore, Sobeys, Walmart Canada, Staples (Canada), The Brick, MKarr's Furniture, Peavey Mart, Shoppers Drug Mart, PartSource, Mark's Work Warehouse, Liquidation World, Your Dollar Store With More, Dollar Giant, 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 and purchased enough automobile parts to build 25 cars. These were to be manufactured under the name Moose Jaw Standard. Each member of the group was able to receive a car, but no further buyers were found, and production did not continue.[18]

CFB Moose Jaw

Main article: CFB Moose Jaw

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. Following 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 it is currently 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 Canadian Forces Air Command, the lodger unit is frequently referred to as 15 Wing Moose Jaw. The base usually holds an Armed Forces Day each year.


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 -12.3°C, while the warmest is July, with a mean temperature of 19.3°C. The driest month is February, in which an average of 11.1 mm of precipitation falls, while the wettest month is July, which brings an average of 63 mm. Annual average precipitation is 365 mm.

Climate data for Moose Jaw Airport (1981−2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11.5
Average high °C (°F) −6.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −12.3
Average low °C (°F) −17.7
Record low °C (°F) −45.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 16.8
Rainfall mm (inches) 0.44
Snowfall cm (inches) 21.2
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 9.9 7.8 8.4 7.8 10.5 12.4 10.4 9.2 7.9 6.8 8.5 10.4 110.2
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 0.75 0.76 2.3 5.6 10.2 12.4 10.4 9.2 7.7 4.8 1.9 0.69 66.7
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 9.8 7.5 7.3 2.9 0.88 0.06 0.0 0.0 0.71 2.5 7.4 10.9 50.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 106.1 141.4 164.4 229.5 262.6 289.1 331.8 301.2 194.0 168.8 102.0 86.2 2,377
Percent possible sunshine 40.0 49.9 44.7 55.6 54.9 59.0 67.2 67.0 51.1 50.6 37.5 34.2 51.0
Source: Environment Canada[19]

Royal presence

Moose Jaw has had many members of the Canadian Royal Family visit the city. Edward, Prince of Wales, who owned a ranch in 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.

Sports teams

Like most Canadian cities, hockey has played a large part of Moose Jaw's sporting culture, yet baseball has also been an important part of Moose Jaw since its first days as the city won territorial championships 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 sports teams of Moose Jaw include:

Defunct sports teams


  • Moose Jaw Times-Herald, local daily newspaper
  • Moose Jaw Forum, a popular local news commentary and forum

The only television station local to Moose Jaw is CKMJ-TV channel 7, an analogue repeater of CTV station CKCK-DT Regina. Moose Jaw was previously served by CHAB-TV, a television station that existed from 1959 to 1969.

Notable residents

Arts and culture


Moose Jaw is home to one of four Western Development Museums which specializes in history of transportation and has a Snowbirds gallery.[53] The Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum is located 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. Tom Sukanen was a Finnish homesteader who settled near Birsay and hoped to travel home again on his 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.[54]


Tourist attractions include the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, The Moose Jaw Trolley, the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort, Captain Jacks River Boat Tour, The Western Development Museum, Casino Moose Jaw and the Murals of Moose Jaw. Every July the Saskatchewan Festival of Words takes place over a four-day period showcasing top Canadian writers in a wide variety of genres. 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 from every summer.

There are many parks in Moose Jaw. Crescent Park is located downtown and features a creek, picnic tables, library, art museum, playground, outdoor swimming pool, water park, gymnasium, tennis court, lawn bowling field and an amphitheatre. Casino Moose Jaw and Temple Gardens Mineral Spa are located 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.

Old Wives Lake, a saline lake is located 30 km southwest of the city on Highway 363. Buffalo Pound Lake a eutrophic prairie lake is located 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.


Moose Jaw's population grew to 32,132 according to the 2006 census, which showed virtually no increase from 2001.[55]

Racial groups


Local institutions include 5 high schools (includes Central Collegiate, etc.), 15 elementary schools, and the 57-member Moose Jaw Fire Department. The Moose Jaw Police Service provide policing for the city and hold both municipal and provincial jurisdiction, and is in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Moose Jaw is also home to the Palliser Campus of the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST).

In popular culture

In the fictional Harry Potter universe, Moose Jaw is the hometown of the professional Quidditch team the Moose Jaw Meteorites, which are considered one of the most accomplished Quidditch teams in the world. However, in the 1970s they were threatened with disbandment due to trailing fiery sparks from the end of their brooms during victory flights. Today, their games are considered a popular wizard tourist attraction.

In the 1980 movie Atlantic City, Susan Sarandon's character Sally says her late husband's family is "in Moose Jaw, near Medicine Hat."[59]

See also

Canada portal


Further reading

  • Earl of Wessex Visits Saskatchewan Regiment (2003)
  • Racist and other organized criminal organizations in Moose Jaw

External links

  • Buffalo Pound Provincial Park
  • Lil Chicago Roller Derby League
  • City of Moose Jaw Website
  • A listing of Moose Jaw churches and various other related agencies
  • Map of Moose Jaw at Statcan
  • Moose Jaw Tourism
  • Moose Jaw
  • The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan - Moose Jaw
  • Wakamow Valley Parks

Coordinates: 50°23′36″N 105°33′07″W / 50.39333°N 105.55194°W / 50.39333; -105.55194 pl:Moose Jaw

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