it seemed like it took forever to get here, but yet all of a sudden here it was. I think its been a great evening.”
The evening was attended by a series of community dignitaries included former mayors along with past and current city council members, with the audience reminded that we are indebted as a community to each individual who has served on council and has contributed in making Swift Current a community we are all proud of.
Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer talked about the importance of people in the community making the difference in how successful Swift Current is.
“Pitching in for the common good is part of the fabric of who we are as a people and as a community,” he said during his address at the Centennial. “Honouring the past and remembering those who made our present possible demonstrates the respect and the admiration that we have for each and every resident who has ever called our City home, and has had a hand in weaving the tapestry that we enjoy today.”
“Swift Current was born a railway town, but it quickly grew from there with deep roots in agriculture, oil and gas, culture and performing arts, sports and recreation, and most of all in a people who believed in their community and in their communities future.”
Schafer felt the spirit of volunteerism which has driven the community over the years is a major factor in Swift Current’s success.
“Every event, every sort of memory I’ve got is tied to the people in the community pitching in and all pulling in the same direction. I know that’s the theme of this community, and it’s evident in everything that’s happened here the last 100 years, and it culminated in a fantastic performance tonight with lots of great performers and fantastic volunteers and the effort they put in.”
Schafer also was impressed with the evening’s live show and the obvious talent in the community that was featured on stage.
“It was a real great walk down memory lane. We had various types of music, everything to be proud of with our High School groups, and I loved the aspect of the Newcomers having an opportunity to share where our community is going and where we’ve come the last number of years. Even some of the sketches, some of the topics are very similar to what we talk about today, so as much as things change there’s lots that stays the same.”
“Everything was just done first class today. I’m so proud of Swift Current, and I think everybody that was here tonight is and should be too,” Schafer said.
It was pointed out that in 1914, Saskatchewan’s premier was Thomas Walter Scott, and the Swift Current MLA served as Saskatchewan’s first premier from 1905 to 1916. Now, 100 years later the MLA for Swift Current is again premier of the province. Premier Brad Wall recalled that Southwest Saskatchewan has come a long way since John Palliser’s expedition in the mid 1800s determined the region was not suitable for agriculture or settlement. Despite this bleak outlook, Wall highlighted that those individuals who helped build Swift Current had a different view of what could be achieved here and understanding of what was possible.
“Our fore bearers, lead by those who had vision, why they just defied the experts. They defied Palliser and they built a community. They built a way of life, and we benefit from that heritage today. In fact, they didn’t just build a community, but they named buildings here after the guy that said we shouldn’t live here. It’s quite remarkable.”
Wall also shared excerpts from a poem written as part of Swift Current’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1964, which shared a vision of hope for the future and gratitude for the past.
“Tonight, I think the very best 100th birthday present we can give this community is that same vision. Is that same gratitude for what’s come before, and hope for what we can build together to continue to make Swift Current the best place to live and work and raise a family,” Wall said.
Former Swift Current Mayor Paul Elder was one of the dignitaries returning for the Centennial Day Extravaganza. Having served as mayor from 1994 to 2003 before leaving the city to pursue opportunities in British Columbia, Elder was impressed with Swift Current after not being around the city for a decade.
“It has been a wonderful, wonderful homecoming, but it had a little twist to it, because I’ve been gone for 10 years and there was this little peak of awe. The things that we put in place 15 years ago, 10 years ago, 12 years ago, are built now. And the place is thriving. I remember 20 years ago when I came on as mayor and we were thinking ‘we’ve got to do something with this place’. I mean the whole province was suffering to some degree. And certainly the city it was difficult enough to attract somebody to Saskatchewan, much less to a small place like Swift Current.”
Elder said it took some energetic, forward thinking from a group of people thinking the community can be better.