The world came to­gether on Nov. 11, 1918, as news fil­tered out from Eu­rope that the First World War had ended. Fol­low­ing is a story pub­lished the next day in the Saska­toon Phoenix.

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY + REGION -

Cit­i­zens cel­e­brate the end of the war in an all-round the clock ses­sion — bon­fires and processions and end­less noise.

The apart­ment blocks sur­round­ing the Phoenix of­fice were the first to re­alise that some­thing un­usual had hap­pened when the first racket of peace cel­e­bra­tion started at 1 a.m. Mon­day morn­ing. The en­tire Phoenix staff turned out with any­thing and ev­ery­thing avail­able in the shape of a noise pro­ducer. Iron pipes ham­mered with steel bars ren­dered the night hideously joy­ful. Some of the news­room mu­si­cians im­pro­vised with old ket­tles and pots; there was gen­eral ju­bi­la­tion and a pa­rade made a tour of the block.


“Ex­tra!” “Ex­tra!” was the cry through the streets, and soon lights ap­peared in the win­dows and later hastily garbed cit­i­zens be­gan to pop­u­late the de­serted streets. Cars snorted and honked out of garages as the news cir­cu­lated and Sec­ond Av­enue buzzed with the thick­en­ing traf­fic. Im­promptu pa­rades started, flags and pedes­tri­ans. The gen­eral uproar in­creased, yelling and shout­ing be­came in­ter­min­gled with horns and bu­gles, as more and more peo­ple crawled into vaguely as­sorted rai­ment, some of it was all of that, and beat it for the cen­tre of af­fairs.

One gen­tle­man on whom his friends in­sisted on per­form­ing an un­veil­ing cer­e­mony was dis­cov­ered to be at­tired in py­ja­mas, boots, and over­coat and a hat. Some of the ladies in the sub­urbs did not even wait for the for­mal­ity of dress but rushed out to get an ex­tra and de­vour the news in the cool night air clad in noth­ing more weather-de­fy­ing than their “night­ies.” A May­fair nymph was so elated with the news that she ex­e­cuted as pas seul on the ve­ran­dah at­tired in her “ge­or­gette-crepes,” much to the as­ton­ish­ment and de­light of the pass­ing pa­trol­man.


The lid was off in ev­ery way and Chief Don­ald winked a meta­phoric wink at many ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties. There was no speed limit to the cars and many took ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion to the full. One ge­nius stripped the man­i­fold from his car and the en­su­ing rat­tle was like a trav­el­ling ma­chine gun.

For a “dry” town there was con­sid­er­able mois­ture. One auto as­sumed the pro­por­tions of a trav­el­ling bar, even glasses were to be had. The city lights were turned on (early) and at that time, many of the cit­i­zens were also il­lu­mi­nated.


Two big bon­fires were started on Sec­ond Av­enue. Plenty of ma­te­rial was found in the side al­leys, sev­eral pi­ano cases and other pack­ing cases came in very handy as fuel. One of th­ese fires was so suc­cess­ful that Chief Heath thought it ad­vis­able to pass out a cool­ing stream on its ar­dor.


Spo­radic processions formed and marched through the cheer­ing crowds, fol­lowed by the Ten­nyson­brook ef­fect in au­tos. There was no def­i­nite band but there were many in­def­i­nite or­ches­tras of drums and bu­gles and other things. Th­ese free­lance play­ers joined any caval­cade that hap­pened to be go­ing at the time and left them as ca­su­ally when some other ex­cite­ment promised. About 3 o’clock the last of the ma­jor processions formed with Mayor Young in the lead ac­com­pa­nied by sev­eral other lead­ing cit­i­zens. They were pre­ceded by a stan­dard-bearer with a flag­pole of ti­tan pro­por­tions bear­ing aloft the Union Jack.

Although the streets were moder­ately clear at 4:30 a.m. there was no end to the gen­eral hi­lar­ity which con­tin­ued prac­ti­cally with­out a break through the morn­ing.


The for­mal cel­e­bra­tion pro­ces­sion com­menced on Mon­day af­ter­noon at 2 p.m. It formed on Spad­ina Cres­cent with the re­turned men lin­ing up out­side the G.W.V.A. on 21st Street. Chief Heath led the way, fol­lowed by the hook and lad­der and the hose cart. Then came the re­turned sol­diers and the Sal­va­tion Army band with end­less cars and trucks filled with cheer­ing crowds bring­ing up the rear. All the af­ter­noon and evening there was no letup. As dusk fell their spir­its rose and by nine o’clock last night the sec­ond evening ’s re­joic­ing was in full swing. The an­cient and hon­or­able “See Saska­toon First” bus was pressed into ser­vice and ooz­ing cit­i­zens at ev­ery win­dow and door dashed up and down the street, a very im­pres­sive four-in-hand with Kaiser Bill sus­pended from a pole at the rear. Later on he went up in smoke.

It was prac­ti­cally a twenty-four hour ses­sion, not count­ing the “hang­overs,” which are as yet only ma­tur­ing.

As printed in The Saska­toon Phoenix, Tues­day, Novem­ber 12, 1918


A copy of the front pages of the Saska­toon Phoenix from Novem­ber 11, 1918, the day the world learned that the war to end all wars had ended.

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