For centuries, long before Europeans ever arrived in the area that would be Saskatchewan, the land was the domain of the Cree, Blackfoot, Saulteaux and Assiniboine peoples.
The bison’s northern reach came to the area of what is now Warman, and were a vital part of the lives of the Indigenous peoples there. The nearby North Saskatchewan River also proved to be a major highway for travel, as well as a place to gather flora and fauna to sustain Indigenous tribes through the year.
The abundance of high quality furs in the area would lead European fur traders to the area, changing the culture of the Indigenous people forever in the process.
As time went on, a new Indigenous group emerged, the Metis, who would have a major impact on the history of Western Canada.
Today, Warman sits on Treaty 6 land.
The Village of Warman did not always have that name. When the railroad was built through from Regina to Prince Albert, the original settlement had the name of Diamond due to the diamond shape made by the intersecting railway tracks nearby.
This name was not approved through and it would become known as Warman. That name was given in honour of Cy Warman, a journalist, author and author who was called the Poet Laureate of the Rockies. He would never visit the place that was named for him, as he spent much of his life in the United States before he moved to London, Ontario where he lived until he passed away in 1914.
After the town was named, and with the railway built through, Warman soon became a bustling community where a quarter section of farmland could be bought for $10. Before long, it had a newspapers, large school, churches, two hotels, a bank, a blacksmith shop, wooden sidewalks and several general stores.
It was not smooth sailing for the community in those early years. With a lack of good water nearby, the population growth was slow.
On Dec. 20, 1908, the community was hit by a terrible fire that started in a restaurant next to the Commercial hotel and quickly spread, destroying two stores and the post office, as well as the hotel itself. Only the pool room was saved by the fire brigade, and the barber shop next door. It is not known what caused the fire but damages were put at $50,000, or $1.5 million today. Of that, less than half was covered by insurance.
Only two years later, a tornado hit, further impacting its growth and destroying several buildings in the area.
The other issue for Warman was that it was close to Saskatoon, which took a lot of the people and business away from the community.
By the end of the First World War, the population was declining and by 1927, there were less than 100 people living in Warman.
This would not be the end of Warman. After the Second World War, in the 1950s, Warman became one of the first bedroom communities in the province as people lived in Warman and commuted to Saskatoon.
By 1961, the population had increased to 659, and the next year Warman reincorporated itself as a village. By 1966, it was a town and over the next 40 years the population continued to grow. Today, it has a population of 11,000 people and officially became a city in 2012.
Today, Warman is the ninth-largest city in Saskatchewan, and the fastest growing one with a 12.7 per cent growth rate since 2016.
One of the most historic buildings in Warman is the Warman Senior Drop-in Centre. This structure was built between 1905 and 1907, and was originally the train station for the community, serving the Canadian Northern Railway and then the Canadian National Railway until 1942, when it was moved from its original location.
The building still stands and is an excellent example of early railway construction in rural Saskatchewan. The station closed officially in the 1980s, and then was moved once more. Its interior was renovated and the exterior was restored as it became the senior drop-in centre. In 2004, it became a Municipal Heritage Property.
Leave a Reply