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Qu'appelleRiverCulture

Kaposvar Historic Site Museum
Homesteading Hungarian history in the lower Qu'appelle Valley has been preserved at the Kaposvar Historic Site Museum, south of Esterhazy on a scenic river valley road. A stone church, built in 1906, stands solidly at the heart of the site, surrounded by a rectory, grotto, log buildings and one-room school.

Hungarian Heritage at Esterhazy
When Canada's first Hungarian immigrants arrived in the valley north of the Qu'appelle River, just west of the present-day border between Saskatchewan and Manitoba, many expected to find a ready-made agricultural paradise. They had emigrated to western Canada in 1885 on the strength of glowing reports from Canadian Pacific Railway immigration agent, Count Paul Oscar Esterhaus (of dubious ancestry), who had neglected to tell his pioneer recruits about forests to be cleared, or cold prairie winters to be endured.

Despite years of hardship, and an early existence in crude sod hut homes, Esterhazy's Kaposvar colony eventually flourished. The Hungarian settlers were among the first to harvest wheat from the fertile prairie, and the town of Esterhazy, named for their illustrious immigration agent, was established just north of their original settlement.

Esterhazy's first colonists laid the foundation for the eventual arrival of 8,000 Hungarian immigrants to the Canadian prairies, and helped pave the way for Qu'appelle Valley settlers of many other nationalities. In the latter years of the 19th century, English immigrants established the Sumner Parish north of the town, and a large Swedish colony was founded in New Stockholm to the west.

First Nations Gallery in Regina
With a life-size alabaster and bronze sculpture of the "Trickster," a principal character in First Nations creation stories, guarding the entrance, 10,000 years of history, art and culture of Saskatchewan's aboriginal peoples unfolds in the First Nations Gallery of the Regina's Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

The symbolic design of the tipi, daily life in a bison-hunting encampment, the importance of family and sacred places, ceremonies and rituals, the role of horses, and the history of trade and treaties are conveyed through sculptures, murals and life-size and miniature dioramas.

The First Nations Gallery was designed and constructed by representatives from all of Saskatchewan's 5 First Nations - Nakota (Assiniboine), Dakota/Lakota, Cree, Saulteaux and Dene - and was the first Canadian gallery of its kind when it opened in 1993.

Czechoslovakians settled to the southwest, Germans to the northeast, and Welsh to the northwest. A Scandinavian community was established further west, and at a Jewish settlement southeast near Wapella, Canada's famous Bronfman family made their first home in the west.

Today, the Potashville Multicultural Council, based in Esterhazy, promotes the ethnic flavour of the eastern Saskatchewan Qu'appelle region.


Francophone Flavour in Lebret

Fiddling, jigging and reeling. Rue St. Joseph, Rue Tache, Place L'Eglise - the avenues and amusements of the village of Lebret, on the north shore of Mission Lake in the Qu'appelle Valley, reflect the area's francophone heritage.

Winding up the hillside overlooking the town are the 14 Stations of the Cross, leading to the small Sacred Heart Shrine Chapel. On the shore of the lake stands the Gothic-style Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, and an adjacent 19th century rectory, all part of the Lebret Roman Catholic Mission Site heritage property.

Each summer, the Lebret Métis Farm Cultural festival recalls the area's combined French and aboriginal heritage, featuring, bannock making, chuckwagon races and traditional musical entertainment.

Treaty Four Days in Fort Qu'appelle
Each September, jingle-dress dancers, traditional drummers, and old-fashioned fiddling bring music and motion to the town of Fort Qu'appelle, when the Treaty Four Days Powwow celebrates the First Nations heritage of the Qu'appelle Valley. Drawing thousands of people, hundreds of dancers and dozens of drum groups to the week-long festival, the crowd-pleasing powwow is organized by the Touchwood File Hills Tribal Council, Yorkton Tribal Council and other First Nations organizations in Saskatchewan.