August 10th, 2018, marks the 90th anniversary of the opening of Prince Albert National Park. To honour the occasion today, I drank some delicious home-made lemonade at the Waskesiu Heritage Museum (as was served on opening day to visitors 90 years ago) and went to track down some historical photographs of the park. Here are a handful of postcards I found:
Then Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie King came to dedicate Prince Albert National Park on August 10th and stayed in a rustic log cabin made especially for him (still standing on Prospect Point in Waskesiu). In his speeches, King spoke on the importance of nature and national parks to the well-being of the country:
“In the building of Canadian national life and in the moulding of our national character, it is of the utmost importance that we should cultivate an appreciation of all that is beautiful in our physical environment. In a young country so amply endowed with material resources there is always a danger that we may turn to the gods of the market place and sacrifice the beautiful on the altar of utility. . . It is indeed cause for deep satisfaction that Canada in her youth has learned the wisdom of conservation.”
- Prime Minister Mackenzie King, quoted by Bill Waiser in Saskatchewan’s Playground: A History of Prince Albert National Park, 32.
- The Waskesiu Heritage Museum Blog
- “Not just a ‘rich person’s paradise’: Prince Albert National Park celebrates 90 years”
- Peel’s Prairie Provinces, for all of your historic Western Canadian postcard needs!
- For a bit about the history of bison in Prince Albert National Park, check out my chapter “Roaming Far: National Parks and Historic Sites and Reintroduced Bison” in my book Like Distant Thunder: Canada’s Bison Conservation Story.
- Hart, Ted. J.B. Harkin: Father of Canada’s National Parks. Edmonton, AB: The University of Alberta Press, 2010.
- Waiser, Bill. Park Prisoners: The Untold Story of Western Canada’s National Parks, 1915-1946. Markham, ON: Fifth House Publishers, 1995.
- Waiser, Bill. Saskatchewan’s Playground: A History of Prince Albert National Park. Waskesiu, SK: Friends of Prince Albert National Park, 1989.