No stranger to fast growth

Mortlach's First Boom Began 1904. One source claims that the village was named after an English village; a Gaelic variation - low hills; French for dead lake or Lac du Mort. Scottish people claim the name was derived from a church in Dufftown, Banffshire, Scotland. This church dates back to the 17th century and is called the Church of Mortlach.

In 1904, the Canadian Pacific Railway's new line became operational and the Village of Mortlach came to life on land originally homesteaded in 1902 by Mr Khamis Michael, previously of Iraq.

By the spring of 1905, many people who had homesteaded during the summer before along with new homesteaders began building in Mortlach. The first store, post office and lumber and coal supply was owned by Mr. E.B. Tedford. Partners Scribner and Wheeler built the first hotel in 1905 and the first school was built that fall.

In 1905, at only one-year-old, Mortlach already had a board of trade with a strong business section. This included a general store, lumber and coal suppliers, a post office, livery, hotel meat market and an implement and harness dealer. In the fall of 1905 there was a section house but the station was not established until 1906. The train station was built at the same time as the first grain elevator.

The first Royal North West Mounted Police were stationed here in 1905. In May of 1905 the Province of Saskatchewan was created! These were exciting times. The first weekly Mortlach newspaper was printed in Caron and the Methodist Church was also organized in that year. Mortlach's first doctor came to town in 1905 and Mortlach quickly became a popular place to stop and visit.

1907 witnessed the establishment of many additional businesses which included hardware and implement dealers, vendors of dry goods, general stores, harness shops, butchers, a tinsmith, livery, real estate and insurance agents and a hotel and restaurant.

1907 was also the year of a small pox epicemic. A new house in the village became an isolation hospital and vaccinations became routine.

The Bank of Hamilton opened a branch on Rose Street and Khamis Michael built a rink on Dean Street. The first exhibition was held in that rink on August 4th, 1908.

Mortlach incorporated as a village in 1909 with about 700 residents. The Star Theatre was built in 1910 by A.C. Baker. Soon there were many more businesses in the thriving community, a Red and White Store, two restaurants, a blacksmith, grocery store, two cobblers, a butcher, baker, undertaker, embalmer, flour miller, electric repair shop, Chinese laundry, veterinarian, a Beaver Lumber yard, Imperial Lumber, The Bank of Toronto, a photo studio, newspaper publisher, livery stables, an auto repair garage and another farm implement dealer.

This has been a brief summary of Mortlach's beginnings. For more information please refer to our community history book - "A Time to Remember - A History of Mortlach and District".

May 31, 2016 | Village Office