The Kinistino Hotel, built by George Stalker of Prince Albert in 1905.
From: Kinistino: The Story of a Parkland Community in Central Saskatchewan, 1980.
Friday, 18 February 2011
Hotel Glory Days
When they were first built in the early 1900s, there was good money to be made in Saskatchewan’s small-town hotels. The spikes holding the steel to the ties of the Canadian Pacific Railway had barely been driven in the late 1800s before hotels began springing up like mushrooms along the line. Their 20 or so guest rooms were filled to capacity - at times with beds in the hallways - with railway crews, construction workers and families arriving to settle in the West.
There was always plenty of excitement at the hotels when commercial travelers pulled into town by train or in big horse-drawn wagons with as many as 15 trunks full of merchandise. The salesmen set up their goods for display in special sample rooms in the hotels. In the evenings, shopkeepers came and placed orders with the travelers.
On Saturday nights in most towns, the hotels were the main gathering place. Meals in hotel dining rooms cost 25 cents, and of course, every hotel had a tavern. Only men were allowed inside, where beer was supplied by the keg. On a Saturday night at the hotel bar in Pleasantdale, "the place was so full that if one person came in one door, they would push someone out the other door.” These were the glory days of small-town Saskatchewan hotels - the days before Prohibition.
© Joan Champ, 2011