Opportunities to experience the performing and visual arts while in Yorkton are extensive. The city is fortunate to have an excellent theatre facility, the Anne Portnuff Theatre at the Yorkton Regional High School, in which live performances are presented.
The Godfrey Dean Art Gallery presents local, regional and national art exhibits. Exhibits change regularly, and there is no fee to visit the gallery.
And Yorkton boasts the longest-running film festival in North America, held every spring and featuring Canadian short films and videos.
The vibrant multi-cultural community that is Yorkton today has its roots in the York Farmers' Colonization Company. In 1882 this Ontario company sent an advance party west to develop a townsite. The following spring the first settlers arrived to homestead in the area, and called the settlement York Colony.
This original site was two miles north of the city's present location. The arrival of the railway in 1889 dictated that the settlement should move to the rail line. Today a monument on Highway 9 North marks the original site. The railway brought settlers from around the world and their skills, determination and culture. Modern day Yorkton is a unique mix of all those attributes. Hospitality, a hallmark of the early days, is a prized heritage.
Located on the second floor of the Godfrey Dean Cultural Centre, 49 Smith Street East.
The Godfrey Dean Art Gallery is the only professionally-operated public art gallery within a 200 km radius of Yorkton. It curates, exhibits and promotes the work of local, provincial and national contemporary artists who address issues affecting the Yorkton region.
The Dean opens exhibits in its two galleries about every six weeks. It also opens its doors to the cultural and artistic programming of local organizations and schools. For more information, visit the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery web site at www.deangallery.ca.
Annually in May
The Yorkton Film Festival started in 1947. Film makers from across Canada make their way to Yorkton for workshops and showings. For the public, this is an opportunity to view the very best of Canadian short films and videos (under 60 minutes) free of charge.
The event-filled four days also include lots of down-to-earth social events, including a barbecue and lobster boil, street dances, ethnic food, entertainment, and skeet shooting. The awards dinner is a gala affair and a fitting conclusion to the longest running film festival in North America.
For more information visit the festival web site at www.yorktonfilm.com.
Held at the Gallagher Centre on Broadway Street West every year in September
Sunflower is the largest unjuried show and sale in Saskatchewan. Artists and crafts people vie for space at this annual event, which attracts thousands of visitors. The quality and variety of arts and crafts offered here is excellent, and with 190 artists and crafters showing their work, it has become a favourite place to do early Christmas shopping.
For more information, visit Sunflower at the Yorkton Arts Council web site at www.yorktonarts.ca.
Located in the Godfrey Dean Cultural Centre, 49 Smith Street East.
The Yorkton Arts Council, a volunteer organization, is responsible for a highly successful, diverse and entertaining concert series, Stars for Saskatchewan, as well as additional events. Tickets are reasonably priced for all performing arts events.
Concert tickets may be obtained in advance through the Art Council office located in the Godfrey Dean Cultural Centre. Tickets may also be sold at the door the evening of the performance, depending on availability. Most performances are at the Anne Portnuff Theatre.
For more information, visit the Yorkton Arts Council web site at www.yorktonarts.ca.
Held annually in August at the Western Development Museum, Highway 16A West. Telephone 306-783-8361.
Horse-drawn wagons, stooking and threshing crews, and steam tractors spring to life each summer at the annual Threshermen's Show and Seniors' Festival. It takes the dedicated, year-round efforts of the Threshermen's Club to keep these antique pieces of farm equipment in sound working order.
This is history at its best... history alive and working. Visitors can try their hand at stooking, visit the sawmill, watch the Story of Harvest as methods from single horse plows to giant steam engines are demonstrated. Nowhere on the grounds can you escape the tantalizing aroma of bread fresh from the outdoor clay oven. Savor a slice... there's nothing else like it.
Take home some freshly rolled oats and don't forget to visit the blacksmith's shop. Here you can watch smiths fashion a variety of items over a coal burning forge, and perhaps take home a memento. Antique buffs will love the antique car and tractor competition.
Inside the museum special events are scheduled, and the permanent displays are open for viewing. Among the special events is a demonstration by The York Colony Quilter's Guild, a group of ladies who keep alive this very practical pioneer art form. The Festival is a celebration of bygone times and incorporates all the fun of an old-fashioned picnic, including games for young and old, and a Sunday morning hymn sing.
The story of the early pioneers is told at the Western Development Museum in Yorkton. Highway 16A, west of Gladstone Ave. For museum and gift shop hours, go to www.wdm.ca.
Discover The Story of People. As you step through the doors of the museum and onto the railway platform you will be transported back to Yorkton's earliest days. Displays recreate rooms from settlers' homes, vividly demonstrating life as it was, and the different cultural backgrounds of the homesteaders.
Numerous exhibits demonstrate the many articles and tools used in building a new life; the treasured items brought thousands of miles to a new home. Loneliness, the separation from loved ones, is poignantly demonstrated in the two carvings by Ukrainian settler Victor Humeniuk. The figures mutely testify to the sacrifices made by individuals in order to settle this area.
The museum also displays a wealth of agricultural equipment and implements. Through these displays you can trace the development of agriculture from that of personal survival to the backbone of a modern economy.
Built in 1914, the exterior of this striking church features an impressive silver dome. Inside you can view the inspiring beauty of the painted cathedral dome which depicts the heavenly coronation of the Virgin Mary. Artists Stephen Meush completed the work of art between 1939 and 1941.
Please inquire at the Rectory, 155 Catherine Street, about suitable times to view the interior. Telephone 306-783-4594.
Held annually in June at the Gallagher Centre on Broadway Street West.
With hundreds of dancers from western Canada and north-west United States, it is a dazzling experience for all.
Information about walking tours where you can view Yorkton's heritage can be found here.
Located on the second floor of the Gallagher Centre on Broadway Street West.
Sports buffs are in for a treat. Displays of sports memorabilia and equipment reveal Yorkton's rich sporting heritage. The hall commemorates the achievements of local heroes, many who have achieved national recognition. The hall of fame boasts a wealth of photographs capturing bygone days and events.
Among the first settlers in 1882 were a group originally from the Orkney Islands of Scotland. These homesteaders settled approximately six miles northwest of present-day Yorkton. Not surprisingly they named the district Orkney.
These hard-working settlers erected two stone buildings that stand to this day. In 1980 the Orkney Historical Society was formed in order to restore and preserve the properties. The Orkney School and the Orkney Church can be found six miles west on Highway 16, and 1/4 mile east on Orkney Road. The graveyard next to the church provides an interesting historical record of those first settlers and their descendants.