The Plaza Theatre was constructed in 1927 by contractor Edward (Ted) Strickland for Lewis Benjamin (Charley) and Lily Durham as a dance pavilion at a cost of $25,000. This two storey building with partial basement contained offices, lodge room, ladies' restroom, men's smoking room, a large entrance, and a dance hall with a hardwood floor. In 1930, the building was renovated to become a Famous Players Corporation “talkie” movie theatre with seating for 640. The renovations included the changing of the building's interior colours from brown and gold to lime green, the colour used by Famous Players in the 1930s. Hand-painted posters and the 1946 addition of the marquee were used to advertise the movies. Interestingly, the movies were often new releases, playing in Shaunavon prior to viewings in the cities. The ground level areas of the theatre were rented by various businesses such as barbers, insurance and real estate agencies and ladies wear. Today a portion of this area houses Andersboda, a jewellery and gift store. Though changes have occurred to the building, the equipment and its operations, the involvement of five generations of the Durham family remains to this day.
02. Binkley Furniture Company, Ltd. (The Shaunavon Standard) 346 Centre Street
This one storey 25 x 70 ft. wood frame building was built in 1914 for Glen and Manse Binkley by Abrahamson Bros. contractors. An addition followed to the rear of the building in 1917. The front appearance is very much like the original with two exceptions – false brick front and the loss of indented doorway. It began as a furniture store with funeral facilities at the rear until Binkley Brothers added a new funeral parlor on its north side in 1919. In the next decade, Cooperman Furniture, a general store, a billiard hall, barbershop, club room, and bowling alley operated in this building. A Safeway Grocery Store followed by Kilburn's Groceteria, and then Central Groceteria occupied these premises for the next forty years. The Shaunavon Standard, a weekly newspaper business, now occupies this building. A gift shop was added to the front portion in the late 1980s. The Shaunavon Standard will celebrate 100 years of weekly publishing in 2013.
03. Lehodey & Horsey Building 322 Centre Street
This building was constructed in 1928 by contractor Edward (Ted) Strickland for Lehodey & Horsey, a firm which handled notary public, insurance, real estate, and a land conveyance business. This 40 x 24 ft. brick building was divided into two offices, one for the firm and the other was available for rent. The building's north side was occupied at various times by lawyers, doctors and a barber. Fred Horsey continued on the south side until 1972, when he sold to Mike Stark who began Stark's Agency, an insurance business which later became Western Financial Group which occupied the building until 2012. In 1981, the building was expanded by an addition of two rooms to the east of the building. One entrance was removed and the front has been refaced with new bricks.
04. Underhill Building (Anderson & Company Law Office) 23 3rd Avenue East
The excavation for this one storey 26 x 34 ft. building began in July of 1926. Imperial Lumber Yards of Shaunavon was the contractor for this brick and tile building which had a stone stucco front, often covered by vine. Horace M. Underhill, a barrister, practiced law on the west side while he and his wife, Anne, resided on the east side. Barrister Cecil Bradley, next occupied the west side of the building. Following the death of Bradley, Anne Underhill occupied the entire building as her residence. In latter years, it has housed a variety of small businesses, including a book store, massage therapy, hair design and ice cream shop. It has now returned to accommodate a lawyer's office.
05. Grand Hotel (Grand Hotel) 3rd Avenue East
The Grand Hotel, Shaunavon's third operating hotel, was built in 1929 by contractor Carl Kjarsgaard of Moose Jaw. Built under the ownership of Fred Mah and Mah Hop, the 34 x 86 ft. two storey brick and tile structure, provided thirty-eight rooms for guests. Hot and cold water, steam heat, two lavatories and one bathroom for each floor were amenities guests would find here. Another five rooms on the east side of the building were used as a clinic for Doctors MacNeil and Story. The entrance led to the office and rotunda on the left of the hallway and two larger rooms on the right. This hotel was the scene of a dynamite blast, a fire and three murders before it was bought by George A. Baird, who changed it into an apartment block known as Beverly Court. Robert Connolly was the next proprietor followed by Danny Mah and presently Brad Bakken. Well known residents Ruth and Everett Baker lived in this apartment block for many years. It ceased operation as an apartment block in the late 1970's. This building received Municipal Heritage Designation in 1999.
06. Union Bank (Rural Municipality of Arlington) 264 Centre Street
This two storey solid, red brick building, presently occupied by the Rural Municipality of Arlington, has been a part of Shaunavon since its construction in 1917. The Union Bank conducted business on the main floor and the bank manager had his “posh” apartment upstairs. The Union Bank merged with the Royal Bank of Canada in 1925. In 1949, the owners added a 25 x 12 ft. structure to give the staff a more comfortable work space. Other renovations included the replacement of the roof and both the floor and the aging oak furniture with “modern gray hardwood”. In 1968, the Rural Municipality of Arlington took over the building using the main floor for their offices and the second level for storage. Note the unusual alcoves on either side of the building.
07. Canadian Bank of Commerce (Binkley's Funeral Service) 206 Centre Street
This building was constructed in 1917 by contractors Murphy & Martin of Regina. A 30 x 33 ft. two storey structure was built with an additional vault on the ground floor for the Canadian Bank of Commerce. This sturdy structure had a waterproof basement and was steam heated. The Bank of Commerce ceased to operate here in 1942 and various businesses utilized the building until the latter part of 1945. In 1946, Glen R. Binkley purchased it, refurbished it as a funeral parlour and redecorated the upper living quarters. A 34 x 32 ft. addition of brick and tile construction with a slate roof and cement floor housing a preparation room and a two car garage was soon added. Russ Markell joined the business in 1957 and became the building's next owner. In 1976, Rick Schneider joined Markell and in 1985 became the sole owner.
08. Former Canadian Pacific Railway Depot (Great Western Railway) 1st Avenue
The construction of a large 38 x 100 ft. station depot was completed in the fall of 1914. The building, which is no longer standing, was a special design by Sharp and Son of Winnipeg. This location was chosen because of a good supply of soft water, critical to maintaining the steam locomotives. The CPR had targeted Shaunavon as a divisional point on the line extending from Weyburn to Lethbridge and it is important to note that the coming of the railway led to the rapid growth of Shaunavon.
The building included living accommodations as well as offices for three main personnel, a large waiting room and an attached single storey freight and supply shed. The station was equipped with a large heating plant and a water system including sanitary plumbing. Fourteen side tracks and a ninety-six foot diameter turn table were other features of this CPR station yard.
Unfortunately in 1987, this beautiful depot was demolished and the landmark at the end of Centre Street disappeared forever.
09. Shaunavon Hotel (Historic Shaunavon Hotel) 189 Centre Street
This site was originally the location of the Empress Hotel, a three storey 72 x 102 ft. building constructed in 1913 by proprietors Peter Hoban and John Keefe for $30,000. Following a fire in 1914 which destroyed the building, the same contractor, Erick Abramson, and architect O.M. Akers rebuilt it. Hoban and Keefe renamed it “The Shaunavon Hotel”. The re-naming was due in part to the fact that the Empress of Ireland, the Empress Hotel of Moose Jaw and the Empress Hotel of Shaunavon had met disastrous ends. A change to a new name was looked upon more favourably! The hotel had fifty-four larger rooms; sixteen with baths, and was steam heated. Other features included a large rotunda with a huge curved staircase, a dining room, kitchen, bar and living quarters on the main floor and two entrances, one for women. In 1928, contractor Edward (Ted) Strickland constructed a 32 x 112 ft. addition on the south side creating thirty five new rooms, fifteen with baths, at a cost of $25,000.
The 209th Battalion occupied this hotel during World War I as barracks for recruits in training and the Canadian Pacific Railway officials used the hotel as their residence for many years. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA), conservation officers and optometrists have also had offices here at one time. The hotel, bar, restaurant and dining room have changed ownership many times and the present owner intends to gradually restore this tall free standing structure to its former glory. This building was granted Municipal Heritage Designation in 1999 and in 2003, the name ‘historic' was added to the title.
10. Rex Cafe (Conway's Restaurant) 205 Centre Street
In early 1914, this property was purchased from George Limerick for construction of a restaurant. Traverse and Bond Construction Co. developed a one storey 30 x 30 ft. frame building, with an angled front entranceway, which became the Rex Café. The official opening of the café occurred on March 26, 1914. The second storey 13 room addition was soon added by contractor R. E. Orr and was used as living quarters . In 1916, the Rex Café was considered to be a heavy tax payer - $76.50 for the year!
The majority of proprietors through the ninety years have been predominantly of Chinese / Canadian background. Other café names used for this building were Alhambra, Mac's, Star, M and M, Hui Kee, Lily Chop Suey and Bell's as well as the present Conway's.
* The exterior of the restaurant has been painted red, a symbol of prosperity, luck, joy and celebration in Chinese culture.
11. Naismith & Brown Hardware Store (Joz Cloz) 299 Centre Street
Peter Lawrence Naismith and Hugh Brown purchased the southwest corner lot on September 17, 1913. By December of 1913, Naismith & Brown Hardware Store was operating in this two storey, wood framed, modern building. Excellent workmanship prevailed and the interior was fitted with golden oak furnishings. Throughout the years, the hardware store was operated by several businessmen including Peter Naismith, Oscar Aos, John Fieve, and the MacLeods Hardware chain. In 1960, Morris Leach Ltd. opened for business as a clothing store, followed by Ivan Eng's Ready-to-Wear, who in 1975 expanded the building to the west and to the south to provide more room for ladies wear. This location has continued to operate as a clothing store with the following owners; Bruce Van Raalte - Van Raalte's Total Image, Ken Johnson - Ken's Men's Wear and presently Joe Gregoire - Joz Cloz.. The second floor of this building currently houses a second business, Images by Prairie Portraits owned by Joanne Gregoire.
12. Wetterstrand Rooming House (King's Hotel) 90 3rd Avenue West
This building was constructed by Ole W. Wetterstrand in 1928 as a twenty four room facility at a cost of $12,000. It was originally called the Wetterstrand Rooming House until the addition of seven more rooms saw the name change to the Strand Hotel. A year later, Ed H. King, the new owner, changed the hotel's name to the King's Hotel. Additions occurred to the east side in 1961 and 2002, as well as many interior renovations, often with the change of ownership or when damaged by fire. Some of the interior renovations saw changes to the beer parlor, the addition of Video Lottery Terminal machines and café facilities. Some former proprietors include: Shannon, Pearpoint, Rolick, Bratvold, Armstrong, Dawson and Hassman.
13. Avon Building (Rexall Drugs) 353 Centre Street
The Avon building, constructed in the fall of 1926 by Smith Bros. & Wilson of Regina for $33,637, was of steel and brick construction. William Stevenson was the first owner of this prestigious building. The building was 50 x 100 ft. with a full sized basement and two storeys, all of which were steam heated. The basement and ground floor were occupied by businesses. The second level had fourteen double suites and two single rooms all with hot and cold running water and only two bathrooms for use by all of the occupants! Seven department stores occupied these premises for the next sixty years followed by a furniture business and finally, a drug store. Smaller businesses which occupied this building throughout the years included a music store, children's clothing store, an accountant, beauty parlor, a music teacher, a dentist and a grocery store. A public rest room with two sanitary water fountains could also be found in this building. In 1996, the Avon Building received a Heritage Building Award by the Saskatchewan Architectural Heritage Society.
14. Shaunavon Court House (Town of Shaunavon) 401 3rd Street West
The Shaunavon Court House was one of five identical court houses planned for Saskatchewan under the direction of the Provincial Architect Maurice. W. Sharon. In 1926, Smith and Wilson of Regina constructed it at a cost of $42,500. The two storey 38 x 67 ft. building featured brick walls and fireproof floors. It was faced with Ruf-Tex brick made at Claybank, Saskatchewan. A shingled pitched roof with an ornate cupola, wooden cornices projecting from the structure, a wooden columned entranceway and copper covered front doors were all features of this building. The basement housed a steam-heating plant, storage vaults and cells. The ground floor accommodated the Sheriff's office, general offices, vault, chambers, library, District Judge's room and bathrooms. The upper level had a 24 x 50 ft. court room and several other rooms. Some renovations for maintenance as well as the conversion to town office space in 1958 have taken place but many original fixtures, terrazzo floors and woodwork remain. This impressive structure of tile and brick with Tyndall stone trimming is one of Saskatchewan's finest public buildings similar to structures built in Wynyard, Gravelbourg, Assiniboia and Melfort. This building received a Municipal Heritage Designation in 1984.
** In 1929, George Watt, Provincial Landscape Gardener of Regina had supervised the planting of a number of trees and shrubs on the grounds of the courthouse. The plan for the grounds called for groves of trees on the sides and the back of the building. The front of the building included caragana hedges and flower beds surrounding the flagpole and bordering 3rd Street East. Though many of the trees are no longer a part of the grounds, the flowerbeds and well manicured lawns continue to make this site an impressive one.
15. All Saints Anglican Church of Canada 404 3rd Street West
In September 1913, the Girls' Friendly Society in England donated money to purchase two lots during the original sale of town property. On November 1, 1915, the congregation awarded Strickland Bros. the contract to build a small but handsome 24 x 50 ft. frame structure that was to be completed by December 22, 1915 at a cost of $2200. It was used for services for the first time on Christmas Day. In 1917, a small rectory was moved from the rear and a new church manse was built on 2nd Street West. A parish hall was erected in 1924 on the east side of the church and in the early 1960's, it was moved and attached to the north side of the church with the addition of an office, vestibule and narthex. A kitchen and a basement were also added at that time. A copper bell was installed in the belfry in 1955. During its history, furnishings, stained glass overlay windows and wheelchair accesses have been added.
**This church is an excellent example of a Railway Mission church. The Railway Mission, whose objective was to establish Anglican parishes along the expanding railway line, commissioned standard rural church designs to accommodate approximately 75 to 100 people. Priests often traveled the railway lines preaching to the communities and initiated the ideas for the construction of new churches.
16. Shaunavon Masonic Temple (Darkhorse Theatre Clubroom) 404 1st Street West
Shaunavon Masonic Temple Company, incorporated in 1921 with a capital of $20,000 which was divided into 400 shares at fifty dollars for construction of this building. Shortly thereafter the Royal Arch Masons began construction on the corner lot they had purchased for $600. It was a two storey brick-veneer building, with a full concrete basement. The main floor had a large room with maple hardwood flooring and windows on the south side. Two smaller rooms and a staircase were also located on the ground level. The upper Main Lodge room was 30 x 60 ft., with linoleum floor covering, as well as two smaller vestibule rooms. The lodge rooms were used by Masons, Oddfellows, Rebecca's and Eastern Star organizations. The main level had a variety of uses throughout the years such as a liquor store, Alliance Tabernacle, square dancing hall, day care, play school and a meeting room. Darkhorse Theatre currently owns this sturdy building.
*Note the cornerstone dating to 1922, on the bottom of the southwest corner of the building.
17. Former Campbell Block 401 and 407 Centre Street
Postmaster Thomas Joseph Edgar Campbell financed the construction of this red brick building to become known as the Campbell Block in the summer of 1925. The main floor was used as a post office while the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks rented the basement as a lodge room. The upper level was used as apartments and rooms on the north side ground level were optometrist offices. In 1950, the Dominion Government bought the building and completely renovated the post office at a cost of $31,000. Individual mail boxes were installed on the south portion as well as a new entranceway. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police occupied the 2nd level as well as the basement in the 1950s. Other tenants have included Morgan Law Office and Benison Law Office on the north side ground level and Sears and Legacy Computers on the south side. The building is currently occupied by CJSN Radio and Service Canada.
18. Former First Baptist Church Alano Club 407 1st Street East
In October of 1913, volunteers agreed to erect a small Pioneer Baptist Church. The sum of $500 was collected to purchase the lumber for a 20 x 24 ft. beaver-board lined building. Church members hauled the lumber from Gull Lake, a three day trip with horses and oxen. By November of 1913, the church was dedicated and in addition to its use as a church, it was used as the first school in Shaunavon with 24 students. The congregation grew so rapidly that a 10 foot addition was added in 1914 and a 16 foot addition followed three years later. In 1918, the parsonage was constructed on the lot located just north of the church. In 1947, a basement was constructed under the chapel, large enough to house Sunday school classes, a kitchen, and a furnace room. A new front porch and front steps were added shortly after. In 1955, a complete renovation of the church's interior was undertaken with new pews, paneling and linoleum giving a modern look to the chapel area. With dwindling congregation size, the church closed in 1979. The Alano Club become proprietors until 2005, when this property was purchased by Cindy Whyte. At this time, the floors were restored with repairs done to the church, in order for this building to become home to Browzer's Christmas Store and later converted to rental accommodations.
19. Memorial Park and Cenotaph 390 1st Street East
The southern part of our municipal Memorial Park began in 1923 in a six acre public reserve which had been marked out in the 1913 town survey, but delayed in implementation by World War I. Approximately 200 to 300 trees planted each year for 3 years were watered from the Town Hall, which was originally located at the south end of the park. Elm, ash, maple, poplar, willow, spruce, pine and caragana trees and lilac, honeysuckle and spirea shrubs came originally from nurseries at Estevan, Brandon and Neville. The planting of the lawn began in 1925; its green expanse kept lush by water pumped from the skating rink well at the northern end of the park. This greenery required fencing for a time in order to prevent wandering livestock from entering. A cement walkway replaced gravel paths in 1945. Reforestation and flower beds continue to enhance this “oasis in the prairie”. The skating and curling rinks gave way to a Shawnee campground and a children's playground on the north end of the park in 1971. The cenotaph, erected in 1925 – 26 and unveiled in November of 1926, was a memorial to all those who gave their lives during World War I. At that time, a scroll, with the names of the 600 men who enlisted from the town and area, was placed in a cavity inside the war memorial. The cenotaph now commemorates the contributions of our war veterans from World War I, II and the Korean War. Take some time to enjoy our Memorial Park before you return to the Grand Coteau Heritage and Cultural Centre.
20. Museum - 440 Centre St.
The Grand Coteau Museum, was organized on December 6, 1931 by members of the Canadian Club. At that time, a willing group of individuals met to establish the museum in order to preserve a part of history before it disappeared. This vision led to the establishment of an extensive natural history and historic collection housed in a former two room school house located on the north side of the Shaunavon Public School grounds. This foresight was a tribute to the volunteers who were in charge of various fields of interest. Each department at the time was headed by a volunteer who had the authority to add to his staff of assistants in order to increase the collection and display of artifacts. Some of these departments included: bird, insect, and animal life, geology, paleontology, natural resources, "curios" and botany, police and pioneer life. The volunteers included Judge S.A. Hutcheson (chair), Joseph C. Hossie (vice-chair), Elliott Neese, W.A. Mitchell, Robert L. Sanburn, Jack F. Hughes, Chas. F. Holmes, Dr. Harry V. Morgan, B.W. Wallace, J.Russell Martin, Stanley Coxon, Frank O. Bransted, and Horace M. Underhill to name just a few.
The museum remained active until 1936 with a large group of volunteers. From 1936 to 1957, however, activity and volunteers declined. Frank Bransted remained the sole volunteer willing to tour visitors through the collection. In 1957, interest was again active and a revival of the museum was undertaken. The school board sold the building to the Town of Shaunavon for the costly sum of $1.00. The building was moved to its present site on Centre Street with assistance from the Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Shaunavon an d the Shawnee Club. The building was renovated and its operation turned over to a management committee with representation from the Town of Shaunavon, Chamber of Commerce, various local school boards the Shawnee Club and two members at large. The committee began their work in July of 1959 and the museum was officially re-opened in 1963 in time for the Town of Shaunavon's 50th Anniversary.
Since 1963, ideas were already expressed to incorporate a library and the need for more space was becoming an issue. In 1973, preliminary plans were initiated to provide more space, particularly to house heritage artifacts. A comprehensive cataloguing system was also a part of the new plans and in June of 1976, a more extensive cataloguing system was instituted. In 1977, the Grand Coteau Management Committee presented a proposal to the Town Council to have the museum enlarged to include an art gallery, and a branch of the regional library. The plan received approval and the new municipal facility was opened on July 12, 1980 under the guidance of a Board of Directors with one staff person hired as Curator.
Today, the Grand Coteau Heritage & Cultural Centre includes the Shaunavon Branch of the Chinook Regional Library, an art gallery, a natural history and heritage rooms as well as a community meeting space. The Centre is open year round and continues to provide visitors with a variety of cultural experiences. The cataloguing system has again, been updated and computerized, school tours and research have become an integral part of the operations as well as a number of other projects in order to reflect the growing interest in heritage.