This Week in History
And Then There Were Nine
This story was initially published in 1999
September 1, 1905 changed the map of Canada in a momentous way. From the enormous piece of land between Manitoba and British Columbia were created the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The more populated part of the territory was divided into four districts in 1882: Athabasca, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Assiniboia (where the capital, Regina, was located). As the immigrant population grew, the settlers demanded political autonomy. In 1888, the first territorial legislature was created and from the beginning it pressured the federal government for more political power. The insistence grew after Sir Frederick G.W. Haultain became premier in 1891.
In 1897, the territory was given responsible government but Haultain wanted more. In 1900, he proposed that the NWT press for provincial status. The assembly agreed and contacted Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior. He and Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier decided that settlement was still too sparse. This angered those in the territories leading the Calgary Herald to predict another North West Rebellion!
Alberta was named for the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and the name Saskatchewan was derived from the Cree word for "swift-flowing river," kisiskatchwanisipi. Both the Creation of Alberta and of Saskatchewan are of National Historic Significance and are plaqued in their respective provincial capitals, Edmonton and Regina. Furthermore, Sirs Frederick G.W. Haultain, Clifford Sifton and Wilfrid Laurier are all Persons of National Historic Significance with plaques in Regina, Brandon, and Laurentides respectively.
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