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Twin Rivers

Welcome to Twin Rivers District!

Our communities welcome you with open arms and are excited to show you what there is to see and do.  If you enjoy arts, culture, history, recreation, shopping, dining or finding your spiritual connection, you will find what you are looking for here.  Take your time to explore!

The Twin Rivers group formed in February 2008 with the desire to build inter-municipal relationship s and identify regional opportunities.  The Twin Rivers Group is comprised of council members and administrators from nine municipalities including the Town of Duck Lake, Town of Hepburn, Town of Waldheim, Town of Rosthern, Town of Hague, Village of Laird, RM of Rosthern No. 403, RM of Laird No. 404 and the RM of Duck Lake No. 463

Twin Rivers is located in Central Saskatchewan in an area approximately 20km southwest of Prince Albert and 40km north of Saskatoon between the borders of the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers.

Plan & Land Development

The Twin Rivers Planning District is a voluntary effort.  It has been formed to assist the member municipalities with growth and development inasmuch as to sustain and retain current services and to meet the needs of the current population and economic activities.  The opportunity exists to promote and address the need to continue stimulating economic development, provide guidelines to reduce conflicts between land uses, protect sensitive environmental areas and to develop strategies to support community revitalization and population growth.

This Plan encourages some degree of change in the rural and urban areas to manage the impacts and promote development opportunities.  Guiding future population growth to support social-economic development in the District, within the Rural Municipalities, Towns and Village is needed to assure a better future for the area.  A dynamic District requires a strategy to successfully promote agricultural diversification, business enterprises, job creation, and a variety of residential options and community amenities to attract new residents.  The potential benefits that will accrue to the greater community include employment, tax revenue, support for local business, as well as other economic and social opportunities.

Early History

The Twin Rivers District has a rich history with settlements developing in the late 1800s and brought to life by the CNR Railway in the early 1900s.  It was a key access point to western Canada, during the early years of the Northwest Territories and the Canadian fur trade.  The fertile land was a ideal for grain growing and attracted homesteaders to the area.

The first group of settlers arrived in the district in July 1891.  As with many rural Saskatchewan settlements, ethnic groups tended to settle together so they could build support networks for religion, language and customs.  The first recorded settlers in Waldheim were the Heppners from Manitoba and the Neufelds from South Dakota in 1893.  The years of 1899 – 1901 brought many homesteaders from both Manitoba and South Dakota.  These homesteaders were predominately of Mennonite faith although there was a group of Seventh-day Adventist and Lutheran families that also homesteaded in the area.

The First World War (1914 – 1918) and the Russian Revolution (1917) impacted greatly on the history and population growth of this area.  Originally one of the Articles of Faith for Mennonites was the opposition bearing arms.  During the First World War, the American government revoked conscientious objector status, and many Mennonite men of military ages, often along with their parents and families, settled in the Twin Rivers area.  At the same time the Russian Revolution brought severe hardship and persecution to the Mennonites of that country, and many of them fled, settling here.

By the end of the 19th century, many farmers were homesteading between Tiefengrund and Rosthern.  With the area being recognized for ideal grain growing, the Canadian Northern Railway acquired approximately 40 miles of land and right-of-ways between Dalmeny and a point near the old trading post of Carlton.  Surveying for several townsites along the planned railroad, one of the townsites was surveyed at mile 28.  The land was purchased from David Heppner, one of the first homesteaders in the area, and Mile 28 was given the name “Laird” after the Honorable David Laird.  David Laird was First Resident Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories and resided in Battleford, which was the capital of the NWT then.

Gerhard Ens, who arrived in April 1892 from Manitoba, built the first store in Rosthern and was the town’s first postmaster.  Over the next several years other businesses started to crop up, including a hardware store, blacksmith shop, a general store, elevators, a creamery, a hotel, boarding house, a liquor store, a bank, a flour mill, a newspaper, drug store, a jewellery store and others.  A proclamation establishing the Village of Rosthern was issued December 23, 1898 and Rosthern was incorporated as a town on November 20, 1903.  The first Town Council meeting was held January 16, 1904.

With the development of the first post office in 1900, Waldheim officially came into being as a hamlet.  Village status was conferred with the arrival of the C.N.R. in 1908 and the steady increase in population.  These building years brought a post office, blacksmith shop, watch repair shop, butcher shop, a tin smith, cobbler, barber, shoe store, pool hall, general stores, cafes, livery stable and dray service, trucking business, hardware store, hospital and a veterinarian.

In anticipation of the completed rail line, the townsite of Laird experienced a building and population boom in 1910.  With grain elevators, multiple retail business, two churches and a school, in addition to more homes being built, it was a very busy year!  On May 4, 1911, the townsite of Laird was officially incorporated as a village and continued to attract new residents and businesses, a third grain elevator, and the Laird Rural Telephone Company.  Near the end of 1911, the first election was held to elect a Village Council for 1912.

The settlement of Hepburn grew quickly in the first two decades of the 20th century before being declared a village.  Progress was evidenced by the construction of the first store and two elevators in 1908, the commencement of train service in 1909 and the construction of a lumber yard and a church in 1910.  During the next decade, the Hepburn Trading Post, Cockshutt dealership, a telephone company, garage, livery barn and other businesses were built.  Other establishments such as various stores, garages, implement and vehicle dealerships, drug store, restaurants, grain elevators and more were built after it became a village.  Hepburn was officially recognized by the name  on July 5, 1919, obtaining its name from the first post office on the farm of Rowar Hepburn (the home of Gordon Hepburn, his brother, is still there).  Hepburn became a town in October of 2012.

The Town of Hague was named after Mr. J. Hague, an engineer for the C.N.R. when the track was laid to connect Saskatoon and Prince Albert.  The community was incorporated as a village in 1903 and incorporated as a town on November 1, 1991.

Historically, the strength and growth of any community is tied to the hard work and vision of the founding families.  The early years set the stage for success or failure.  Enduring through WW1 and WW2, the Great Depression, fluctuating grain and stock prices, economic boom and busts, the decommissioning of the railroad and grain elevators, these strong communities have stood the test of time.  The “founding fathers” of this district lobbied for the railroad, saw the need for commerce, developed the schools and churches, built the roads and sidewalks and later brought amenities and services such as telephone, electricity, gas, water and sewer.  The spirit of the early pioneers lives on today in the hearts of local people who continue to serve the area with commitment and creatively.

Source:  Twin Rivers District Directory 2015