Arts, culture and heritage

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. 

Godfrey Dean Art Gallery

Godfrey Dean Art Gallery

Godfrey Dean Art Gallery

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Located on the second floor of the Godfrey Dean Cultural Centre, 49 Smith Street East.
Telephone 306-786-2992


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

Yorkton Film Festival

Godfrey Dean Art Gallery

Godfrey Dean Art Gallery

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Annually in May
Telephone 306-782-7077
Email info@yorktonfilm.com


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.

Sunflower

Godfrey Dean Art Gallery

Yorkton Arts Council

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Held at the Gallagher Centre on Broadway Street West every year in  September
Telephone 306-783-8722


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. ​

Yorkton Arts Council

Western Development Museum

Yorkton Arts Council

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Located in the Godfrey Dean Cultural Centre, 49 Smith Street East.
Telephone 306-783-8722


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.

Threshermen's Show

Western Development Museum

Western Development Museum

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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. 

Western Development Museum

Western Development Museum

Western Development Museum

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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. 

St. Mary's Church

Historical walking tours

Painted Hand PowWow

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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.

Painted Hand PowWow

Historical walking tours

Painted Hand PowWow

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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.

Historical walking tours

Historical walking tours

Historical walking tours

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Information about walking tours where you can view Yorkton's heritage can be found here.

Sports Hall of Fame

Sports Hall of Fame

Historical walking tours

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.

Orkney Stones

Sports Hall of Fame

Orkney Stones

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.