Monthly Archives: February 2014

Loving Winterfest

Gull Lake’s Winterfest Fireworks were the perfect end to the day’s celebrations.

By Craig Baird

Layla and I have lived in many different places, and each place has its own unique festivals. Stony Plain, the town I grew up near, had its annual Farmer’s Days, a celebration of the area’s agriculture industry. Edmonton had Klondike Days, and later Capital X, while Calgary had the Calgary Stampede. High River had Guy Weadick Days, celebrating the ranching history of the area, while Fairview had a summer festival to mark the end of the warm season. Rossland had its Winter Carnival, which was the oldest Winter Carnival in Canada. One of the more unique things about Rossland’s Winter Carnival was that people could build bobsleds and then race them down the streets of this mountain town.

I love festivals, and, having experienced my first Winterfest, I have to say that Gull Lake ranks right up there with all the festivals I have experienced.

Months ago, when Layla and I were asked if we wanted to sit on the Winterfest board, we jumped at the chance to begin planning the second edition of this great winter festival. Sure, winter is a long and sometimes annoying season, but as Canadians, winter defines us. We should celebrate it and Winterfest was all about celebrating winter. Nearly every activity, except the Winterfest Art and Trade Show, the meals, and bingo, were outside. There were the usual winter treats like taffy on snow-cones, and, of course, hot chocolate, along with the Canadian-tradition of hockey outside in the snow and cold. There were also some other great activities, like snow painting with coloured water, and my favourite, snow mini-golf.

I loved it all. I was able to meet and speak with many local residents, have some fun in the winter sun, and celebrate what makes winter great. The weather was perfect too; crystal blue sky and just the right amount of cold. You don’t want it to be too warm for a winter celebration after all.

The timing of Winterfest was perfect too. Have it in November and you are celebrating winter before winter has really begun. There are still several long and cold winter months ahead. In January, well, that can be a depressing month…

The end of February was perfect. The winter is beginning to wane (except for this week) and spring is really just around the corner. It is a great send-off to winter, and, in a way, a welcoming of spring.

Oh, and the fireworks! I have seen many fireworks shows in Western Canada and Gull Lake’s Winterfest fireworks certainly rank among the best, which is pretty amazing for such a great small town.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to next year’s edition of Winterfest, a celebration that I think will only get bigger and better.

Gull Lake In the 1950s


Pictured are the Grade Two Students who attended Gull Lake School in 1958.

By Craig Baird

Gull Lake has changed a lot over the years, and, just like the rest of the world, great change came in the 1950s. The Second World War was over, the economy was booming, and society was changing, and Gull Lake was no exception.

Mayor F. Logan was elected to council in 1950. That same year, council got down to installing propane gas in the town through Mid-Way Propane Ltd. Council was also petitioned to provide a barn for farm teams. George Hawthorne resigned as the utility man, to be replaced by C. Huntley who would be both constable and utility man.

In 1951, Mayor F. Logan was re-elected and the town began upgrading the street lighting in the business area through Power Corp. The town also received some good news when it received the highest sanitary score in the entire health region.

In 1952, Logan was once again elected as mayor, and the town purchased a well from J.F. Melville at lot 9, block 21. The town also sold its old light standards for one dollar each. New road signs were ordered in town, including signs to enforce the 20 Miles Per Hour speed limit in town. Pioneer Co-op purchased several lots near block 100.

In 1954, Council ruled that all buildings being moved into town had to pass an inspection. Council allocated block 48 and 101 for a school site after being approached by Larger School Unit. Mercury vapor lights were installed on Station Hill, and Gull Lake once again received the highest score in the health region for sanitation.

Mayor Partridge was elected in 1955 and Lloyd Turner took over as utility man before resigning in April. C. Huntley would take over Turner’s position. Town council spoke with the police to cut down on speeding in town, especially near Station Hill. Council passed a by-law that required only pasteurized milk and cream to be sold in town.

Mayor Partridge continued in his post in 1956, and the new high school was officially opened. A request was sent to Power Corp to have natural gas piped into town, and cement sidewalks were built. Natural gas was officially installed thanks to the Saskatchewan Power Corporation, which purchased lot 9 block 12 for purpose of installing gas control equipment.

Mayor Partridge was elected again in 1957, and council donated $2,500 to the Rink Committee to pay for heating equipment and new wiring in the rink. The United Church approached council for the purpose of building a new church. The installation of TV antennas were also discussed by council.

Mayor D. Schoneck took over as mayor in 1958, and council implement complicated rules relating to dogs running at large and dog licenses. The mill rate for the school was set at 31 mills and town streets were officially opened with bulldozers when it snowed. A site for the new hospital was chosen and the RCMP spoke to council about purchasing two different properties in town. Council ordered that Glory Café be cleaned up or it would be closed down. Cemetery road had gravel put down and more cement sidewalks were constructed.

Mayor Schoneck continued in his post for another year. Council and the Canadian Legion suggested the formation of a community band. Fire chief Gamble resigned and W. Bowes was appointed. The fire department decided to limit the fire calls to within three miles of town. Council looked into issue debentures for $88,000 to bring in a new water and sewage system, and the town purchased five acres south of the cemetery for an addition cemetery. The truck route was also established in town.

The 1950s were certainly a busy time for Gull Lake as the municipality continued to grow and change with the times.

Winterfest Wonderment!


The smiles on there faces says it all.  Gull Lake’s 2nd Annual Winterfest was held on Saturday, February 22. Madison Munt (left) and her coiusin Logan Gedneynwere bundled up to go on the hay ride. More photos can be found on our Facebook Page.

Twitter: @gladvance

Gull Lake’s 2nd annual Winterfest celebration Was held this past Saturday and although the weatherman wasn’t as cooperative as the inaugral event, organizers were still happy with how things turned out.

“We were expecting winter weather, so it was nice to see such a great turnout for breakfast this mourning,”  said Gull Lake Recreation Director Sara Kuntz.

The days activities began at the Community Hall with a pancake and sausage breakfast.  New this year was a Art and Trade Show put on by SW Quest which featured several different exhibitors including home made chocolates, hand-crafted jewelry, photography, and much more.

Other events during the day included hay rides, bingo, 3-on 3 hockey tournament, snow bowling, snow minigolf, a beef-on-a-bun supper. The festivities came to a close with a fantastic fireworks display at the ball diamonds.

Kuntz summed up the days activities.  “the day went so well.  The organizing committee did such a great job, and everyone helped or attended made the day a huge success!”


M. Kate Winquist

Publisher / Editor
“Your Southwest Community Newspaper”
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