A fun trolley bus tour of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada with interesting bits of history, city information, and trivia
The one-hour Daytime Trolley Tour in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada is a fun way to see a bit of the city, learn some of its history, and hear interesting stories about its famous and infamous characters. Before taking the trolley tour, I had already visited a number of Moose Jaw attractions, read about the city, and created a blog post about things to do in Moose Jaw (see Ten Things To Do In Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan). I was pleasantly surprised to hear new-to-me stories, all told in an entertaining way. The tour offered the opportunity to discover city information a visitor may not otherwise learn.
Moose Jaw is located along the Trans-Canada Highway in south-central Saskatchewan. It was founded in 1882 when the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) chose the site for the town. Up until about a decade ago, the CPR was the top industry in the city. It still plays a significant role, but our tour guide told us it is now the third-ranked industry. Potash is now number one with a mine located outside of town. The second-biggest industry is tourism. The growth of the tourism industry began in the mid-1990s, first with the opening of Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa and followed by tunnel tours.
Here are a few tidbits I learned on the tour.
Beautiful century-old homes make up the Central area of Moose Jaw, within five to six blocks of downtown. The area was a prime filming location for the 2015 movie Just Friends featuring Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, and Anna Faris. Clifton Hall, one of the homes in the area, was owned by Lt. Col. Walter E. Seaborn, a lawyer and businessman who owned the second motor vehicle to be licensed in Saskatchewan. It bore the license plate number 2. Today, descendants of Col. Seaborn own and run Seaborn Insurance.
Built in the early 1900s, St. Joseph’s church has only one steeple in a design that was clearly intended for two steeples. There was an accident during construction in which a worker fell and was killed. Out of respect, the second steeple was never completed.
Fifth Avenue Collection, an international fine fashion jewellery company, grew from a Moose Jaw family’s hobby. They began cutting and polishing gemstones in their basement. The owners of the company still live in Moose Jaw in the Central area. The headquarters of the company is located in the historic house in the above photo, which had gold doorknobs on all of its 22 rooms when it was built.
I knew a little about the Capitol Theatre, the sole survivor of approximately 15 theatres that operated in Moose Jaw between 1910 and 1955. Our tour guide told us a more recent story. Burton Cummings, a Canadian musician known for his time with the Guess Who from 1965 to 1975 and for his solo career, sometimes practices singing there in the mornings because the acoustics are phenomenal. Originally from my home city of Winnipeg, Cummings now lives in Moose Jaw.
The first statue of Winston Churchill was unveiled in 1943 at Albert E. Peacock Collegiate in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
The tour takes you past other places, such as the wedding cake house, and includes many stories about famous residents and historical details like that of Moose Jaw once being known as the red light district of the prairies.
The trolley tour runs Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during May and June and three times daily in July and August. The tours operate from the Moose Jaw Visitor Centre at 450 Deifenbaker Drive. Walk-ups are accepted, but note that tours can fill up during busy times. It may be wise to book ahead.
The tour is wheel chair accessible. The wheel chair lift is used on the 3:30 pm tour. You should specify ahead of time that you need it. My husband has limited strength, feeling, and mobility in his legs. He uses a walker/rollator. He was able to make it up and down the steps of the trolley with a bit of effort. We were able to store his travel walker, which folds up nicely, by laying it flat on a space at the front beside the driver. If that wouldn’t have worked, I would have had to return the walker to the car and retrieve it at the end of the tour. The tour was fully booked. There was no extra room to keep the walker.
Note also that the seats are a bit low. Getting out of the seat at the end of the tour turned out to be the most difficult part for my husband. We waited until others had disembarked. The driver and tour guide were very patient and helpful. With a bit of help from me, my husband did manage to get up, but it took several minutes.
Two other trolley tours are available: a Ghost Tour on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings; a True Crime Tour on Saturdays and Sundays. We weren’t in Moose Jaw on those days so I haven’t taken either of those tours. I certainly would consider doing so at a future time. See Moose Jaw Trolley Tours for more information.
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