Saskatoon Public Library  
     
  Saskatoon Through the Ages:
selected photographs from Local History Gallery Shows
 
     
 

Photo 1 of 27 | | |

2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

In 1903 the first settlement was established west of the tracks. Incorporated as a village in 1905, Riversdale followed the progress of the nearby town of Saskatoon and villiage of Nutana, who were already well on their way. It wasn't until 1906 that Riversdale, along with Nutana, became a part of the larger community of Saskatoon. This new city had a population of 4,500 inhabitants. Today Riversdale is located directly west of downtown, centered on 20th Street.

Riversdale has been home to such historic buildings as the Roxy Theatre, first opened in 1930 and restored and re-opened in 2005 after a ten year closure. In 1914 the City cordoned off an area of the South Saskatchewan River near the present Riversdale pool in anticipation of the contstruction of a community pool facility. Saskatonians seeking relief from the summer heat would frolic in the cold, murky waters of the South Saskatchewan until 1924 when the Riversdale pool was officially opened. Adilman's Department store was the largest retail establishment in Riversdale during the early part of the century, however, its closure in 1974 marked then end of an era in the community. Other notable Riversdale structures are the Princess and Alexandra Schools as well as the Alexandra Hotel. Today considerable effort is being put into creating a "cultural corridor" linking Riversdale to the new River Landing development and the Broadway district.

Original gallery show prepared by: R.Jaremko.

With the assistance of: Local History Room staff.



2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

In 1929 John Akitt built a handsome one-storeybrick structure at 433 20th Street West. He operated his hardware business from this location until 1948 when the business was taken over by Harry E. Ford. Ford in turn sold the business in 1952 to the United Grain Growers (UGG). The retail store established as a branch of the United Grain Growers was the only one operated by the company. It supplied hardware and farm supplies to the farming community who lived west of the City. In 1959 UGG Hardware was sold to Hickson and Morgan Electric Company Limited.

Date: [195-]

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Photo 2 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

The Alexandra was the furthest west of the Riversdale hotels and had perhaps the shortest career as a hotel. It was built by Alexander C. Hosie on the corner of Avenue F and 20th Street to designs by the architect Neil G. MacKinnon. When it opened in December of 1912, the four storey structure was an elegant affair. The main entrance faced Avenue F and opened onto a large rotunda. The four years it operated as a hotel were 1913-1916. In 1917 the Alexandra Hotel passed into the hands of the Colonial Investment and Loan Company and was remodelled into an apartment block.

Date: [1913]

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Photo 3 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

The Dawson Block at 221 Avenue D South was advertised in the December 1929 year end review in the Star Phoenix as the new home of the Dawson Electric Company. It was built by pioneer electrician Cornelius Dawson. "Con" Dawson, as he was known, had earlier worked as the first electrical engineer at the City Power House in 1908. Dawson worked for various companies before starting his own business in 1918, operating out of his home at 223 Avenue D South. Dawson operated his electrical contracting business from the Dawson Block until his retirement in 1963.

Date: [193-?]

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Photo 4 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

For a brief period George Sackville and his sons operated a hardware and harness repair store in the Cahill Block at 302 Avenue A South near 20th Street. The business had been opened by Donald E. Ross before Sackville and his sons took over the hardware store. They carried a wide range of products advertising hardware, stoves and harness, window screens and screen doors as well as refigerators. Harness repair was a specialty. The business was short-lived. From is beginnings in late 1911 or early 1912 to 1915 when the firm no longer appears in the city directory.

Date: [between 1911 and 1914]

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Photo 5 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

The David W. Young Garage at 316 - 318 Avenue G South opened in 1912. David Young had come to Saskatoon in March of 1906 and worked as a machinist before opening his own repair service. He operated the garage until February 1918 when he died at age 35 following an operation for appendicitis. Mourning his death were his widow and four young children. In 1920 the garage was taken over by B. Heasman and F. G. Robertson. Frederick Robertson ran the garage until 1923. The address remained vacant until 1926 when it disappeared completely from the city directory.

Date: [ca. 1920]

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Photo 6 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

Winter at the corner of Avenue C and 20th Street shows piles of wood stacked at Percy Brecknell's coal and wood business. The business was short-lived. Percy, who came to Saskatoon in 1906, opened the business in 1912. With the outbreak of World War I, Percy, who had fought in the Boer War, enlisted and the business passed into the hands of Rodwell and Merkley. Down the block the longer-lived business of WIlliam Landa Carriage Works can be seen as well as a portion of the Northern Planing Mill.

Date: [ca. 1912]

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Photo 7 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

Charles Austin Needham sits in the doorway of his bachelor's shack on Avenue F. When C.A. Needham came west to Saskatoon in 1906 a shortage of accomodation forced him to room with J.C. Bell at the Western Hotel. Needham quickly proceeded to build a "car roof shack" on a lot he had purchased from Mr. Bell. After buying a bed, table, chairs, a stove and a cupboard as well as linen, bedding, cooking utensils and other sundries, Charles Austin Needham moved into his new living quarters on May 31st, 1906.

Date: 1906.

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Photo 8 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

The first SAAN store opened its doors in Saskatoon in 1948 at 535 20th Street West. The idea of a store selling war surplus had originated with brothers Sam and Albert Cohen in Winnipeg in 1947. They named it SAAN (Surplus, Army, Airforce, Navy). The Saskatoon store on 20th Street near Avenue F under the management of Meyer Gilfix did not last long at this location. The year following its opening the business moved to a small shop in the Canada Building. The SAAN did not return to 20th Street until 1956.

Date: 1948.

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Photo 9 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

The Bruce Block was the first permanent location of the West Side Library. Library service to the west side was started in 1928 in rented quarters in the Tucker and Bate Building at 242 20th Street West. A year later the library moved to new rented quarters in the Wylie Building at 415 20th Street West. In 1933 the library was once again on the move this time across the street to 406 20th Street West. In 1939 rather than move once again to other rented facilities the library board purchased the Bruce Block located further down the street at 604 20th Street West at the corner of Avenue F. The new branch opened to the public in May 1940. In 1954 the building was moved to a new location at Avenue J and 20th Street to make way for the construction of the OK Economy Store.

Date: [ca. 1948]

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Photo 10 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

In 1929 the Safeway chain entered the Saskatoon grocery market when they opened six stores in December of that year. Of the six stores, two were located on 20th Street West. This is Safeway store No. 303 located at 405 20th Street West at the corner of Avenue D. Designed by architect J. Melrose Morrison and built by Shannon Brothers Construction, the Safeway stores resembled one another in style of store front and in their brick and tile construction. In 1942 Safeway moved across the street into a new building. The old Safeway store remained empty until 1946 when it became Liquor Board Store No. 3.

Date: 1930.

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Photo 11 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

The Bell Block at 521 - 18th Street West first appears in the 1913 city directory. Designed by David Webster it was likely built and named after the local contractor and builder A.W. Bell. Bell had been the contractor for a large number of residences on the city's west side. In 1911 he had erected a planing mill nearby at 507 - 18th Street West. By the time the Bell Block appears the planing mill is no longer listed. The original apartment block contained ten suites. This number would vary over the years.

Date: [ca. 1920]

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Photo 12 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

Harry Ross's handsome City Grocery building at 500 Avenue G South did not survive long after its 1913 opening. Vacant during the years of the First World War it re-opened in 1918 under the ownership of Mrs. Caroline Henderson as Henderson's Grocery. A year later the building was empty again. Hugh Gibson ran the store for a year before relinquishing the property to J.A. and W.H.C. Brody who renamed it the Rosedale Grocery. Although the name remained the same, ownership changed. In 1923 the building had become an apartment block known as the Belleview Apartments with its address now on 18th Street. By the 1940s it was solely an apartment block.

Date: [1913?]

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Photo 13 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

The Albany began its life known as the Iroquois Hotel. Built in 1905, it was described as one of the "first real substantial buildings erected to the west of the CNR". By 1910 the hotel had changed its name to the Albany Hotel. Renovations in 1912 dramatically altered the appearance of the hotel. The plans for the renovations had been drawn up by the architectural firms of Storey and Van Egmond in Regina and John Turner in Saskatoon. The hotel's original double balcony was removed and the front wall was moved out to 20th Street and a new facade designed.

Date: 1912.

Note: Original is a tinted postcard.

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Photo 14 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

When architects Tompson, Daniel and Colthurst drew up the plans for Robert J. Barry's new hotel on the corner of Avenue B and 20th Street this was how they envisaged it. The building when it was officially opened on August 1, 1913 was somewhat different from the artist's rendering. The recession and tightening of the money market meant only three of the anticipated stories were built. Prior to construction the old Butler Hotel which had stood on the site was moved down the block to face Avenue B. It was connected to the new building and used as an auxiliary.

Date: August 1, 1913.

Note: Original is a tinted postcard.

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Photo 15 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

Fire Hall No. 2 located at the corner of Avenue B and 21st Street was built in 1911 at a cost of $43,587.64. Before it was built Riversdale was served by the original fire tower which had once stood on 3rd Avenue and had been moved to a location on the south side of 21st Street between Avenue D and Avenue E. The new fire hall was an imposing two-storey white brick structure surmounted by a tower. Almost twice the size of Fire Hall No. 1 it became the central fire hall with its dormitory, offices and recreation rooms. It was the headquarters of the fire chief. The chief's horse, the fire hose wagon, the steamer and the aerial truck shown were all kept there.

Date: [ca. 1920]

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Photo 16 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

Wesley Methodist Church traces its beginnings to November 1906 and a decision by Third Avenue Methodist Church to establish a mission in Riversdale. A building committee was struck and a wooden structure was erected on the corner of Avenue G and 19th Street. This original wood structure was incorporated into the large brick church constructed in 1911. A feature of the church was the gallery which extended on two sides of the building. When the accordian doors between the church and Wesley Hall were opened the Church and the hall became one large auditorium.

Date: [ca. 1914]

Note: Original is a tinted postcard.

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Photo 17 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

The chronic overcrowding at Alexandra School was addressed by the school board in 1911 with the construction of Princess School. The board arranged for purchase of the frontage on 20th Street from the Baptist Church. Architect David Webster drew up plans for a ten-roomed brick school in a neo-classical style topped by an iron-clad dome supported by free-standing pillars. The building contract was awarded to Bigelow Brothers who had completely finished the school by Easter of 1912. The final cost of the building was $49,300 with an additional $14,267 spent on heating, plumbing and ventilation.

Date: [after 1912]

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Photo 18 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

The Speers and Paul store at 201 22nd Street West on the corner of Avenue B was one of the largest commercial enterprises in Riversdale when it opened in 1908. The stock in the two-storey brick building included groceries, crockery, clothing boots and shoes and other dry goods. Although named Speers and Paul after owners Alex Speers and John Edward Paul in 1908 John E. Paul was the manager, Speers having died earlier. The Speers and Paul General Store did not survive the Saskatoon boom. Listed by Hendersons' in 1911, it did not appear the year following.

Date: [between 1904 and 1910]

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Photo 19 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

The first school on the west side was Alexandra School. As early as 1905 residents of Riversdale had petitioned for a school for the increasing number of children on the west side of the tracks. Architects H.S. Griffith designed a four-room school which was ready for occupancy in September of 1907. Originally to be known as Riversdale School the name was changed to Alexandra, in honour of Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII. The four classrooms of the newly constructed building were inadequate to accommodate the enrollment and in 1908 a four-room addition was built.

Date: [after 1913]

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Photo 20 of 27 | | |


2000 - A Walk on the West Side: Remembering Riversdale

William Landa's Carriage Works at 222 Avenue C South had become Landa Carriage and Body Works when the shop began servicing cars and trucks in the 1920s. From its early beginnings as a blacksmith shop making horseshoes, fixing wheels and repairing buggies, the business would expand to include bodywork and painting in the 1930s. Throughout the years the business would remain at its original Avenue C location and maintain its family connection.

Date: [193-]

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