Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Rama, Saskatchewan

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Country  Canada
Region  East Central
First Area Surveys  1890
Founded  18 December 1919
Area  67 ha
Province  Saskatchewan
Census division  9
Rural Municipality  RM 305
First Post Office  1908
Elevation  553 m
Local time  Thursday 8:26 PM
ISO 3166 code  Saskatchewan
Rama, Saskatchewan
Weather  -4°C, Wind N at 8 km/h, 82% Humidity

Rama is a village in the East-Central area of Saskatchewan. It is located 44 km west of Canora and 60 km east of Wadena at the intersection of Highway 5 and Secondary Hwy 754.


Map of Rama, SK, Canada

Rama is on the banks of Spirit Creek, a tributary of the Whitesand River. The Spirit Creek Dam and its reservoir are located just east of the Village.


Rama is located on the banks of Spirit Creek and is found at the junction of Highways 5 and 754 in Saskatchewan's aspen parkland region.

This area is part of the East Central economic improvement region of the province.

Canada Post provides Mail and Courier services through its local post outlet, S0A 3H0 is the postal code.

The RM of Invermay borders the village on all sides.

Shrine of our Lady of Lourdes

Prominently featured in Rama is the Shrine of our Lady of Lourdes, a homage of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, in Lourdes, France.

Many of these grottoes in Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta were created by Fr. Anthony Sylla and his parishioners.

Sylla had arrived in Saskatchewan in 1909 and by 1933 was in charge of the parish in Rama. By 1939 he began to establish the shrine and pilgrimage site. The shrine was largely completed during the next two years. Updates, landscaping changes and additions to the grounds have continued gradually until today. Every year on August 14 and 15 (since 1941) St. Anthony's parish holds a 'Pilgrimage'. Mass is held in several languages, and a candlelight procession occurs. The shrine in Rama is located west of St. Anthony's church.

Old fashioned farming

Heritage horse drawn seeding and farming demonstrations are held in the village annually in the spring and fall (seeding and harvest). Teamsters hitch their horses up to vintage farm equipment such as discs, seeders and plows as spectators watch horse powered farming.

The Outdoors

Nearby the farmland gives way to nearly endless lakes and rivers fed by uncountable streams, swamps and other wetlands. Ducks, geese and many other water-loving migratory birds congregate here and in the nearby Quill Lakes area during the spring and fall migrations. In the fall, hunters from the local area as well as visitors from other provinces, the United States and around the world come to this area for the birds and many other game animals.

Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park, Whitesand Regional Park, Camp Whitesand, Leslie Beach, Canora Beach and many other parks and recreational opportunities nearby.

Winter and sports

Winter recreational activities include snowmobiling with an extensive network of groomed trails located nearby. The surrounding area offers activities such as hockey, curling, Ukrainian Dance, figure skating, and softball to name a few. Rama is former home of the Rama Rams softball team and the Rama Rebels recreational hockey club.


Growing zones are geographical areas which are generally determined by the lowest sustained temperature in that area achieved during the year and other climate variables. Rama and the surrounding area finds itself in Growing Zone 1b.

Growing zone 1 is defined as having the lowest temperature achieved of below -45.6 °C or -50 °F with the first frost usually occurring by September 12 and the last frost of the spring on or about May 22.

Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture studies show the available Corn Heat Units in this area to be in the 1,401-1,800 range. While suitable for silage, these conditions are quite unfavorable to grow corn in.

The soils in the community and the nearby farmland are generally black with a heavy clay base. Growing seasons are short and high soil PH (alkalinity) are challenging growing conditions for many types crops, trees and plants. Despite these challenges, cereal crop production often exceeds other areas of the province. In the 1950s, the Canora area held nearly 500 country elevators within a 30 miles radius in order to handle all the grain produced from the region.

Industry in the community consists mainly of 'family' or corporate farming with several small and medium-sized farming support businesses. While self-employment in farming is the generally accepted occupation in the area, Olysky and the Rama Co-Operative Assoc., as well as area farms, also provide employment opportunities to area residents and newcomers looking for work.


Being located in the middle of North America has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, Saskatchewan is located so far away from any large bodies of water (Great Lakes, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean) that any moderating effect these bodies of water would have on the temperature here is negligible. Because of this, Saskatchewan as a whole is considered to have a temperate continental climate. In the summer the days are very long and hot, in the winter the days become shorter and very cold, making for a temperature range that can exceed 65 °C or more.

Hours of sunlight and frequently clear skies are an important feature of the climate here. Hours of sunlight typically exceeding 2,300 hours annually.

  • Please note: The climate data presented in the weather box is for the nearest airport with complete climate data available, in this instance the (Yorkton Municipal Airport (YQV)) was chosen as being representative of this area. There may be some variation from what is seen in the climate data infobox and the actual climactic conditions observed in the area.
  • Community demographics

    Historically the population in the community has varied little. Some 1940s population estimates show the village population at a high of nearly 200 residents.

    Many factors contribute to the ongoing population decline. Issues such as farm consolidation and urbanization continue to take their toll on Rama and all rural communities.

    Today the population of Rama remains at around 75 people.

    Civic services

    Emergency and extended health care is located in Canora and in Yorkton. Ambulance services as well as home care and other medical offices are also located in Canora, Wadena and Yorkton.

    Fire protection service is provided through the Invermay Volunteer Fire Department. Police services are provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment in Canora.

    The number 911 is used for communicating to dispatchers during emergencies on the telephone.

    Primary school children from Rama and surrounding area are transported via bus to the nearby community of Invermay. The Parkland regional college offers distance education classes for adults.

    Prehistoric times

    Early Clovis remains found at an archaeological dig site nearby indicate settlement of this area by the Clovis culture. These artifacts date back many thousands of years. Clovis remains may predate the last ice age.

    Very little sand or gravel is found in Rama or the nearby areas. Instead, the subsoil and topsoil contain clay and the lowlands are populated with semi-salty ponds and lakes. The salty wetlands result from spring runoff which dissolves minerals found subsurface, sometimes the runoff pools in low-lying areas and evaporates entirely. This evaporation deposits these minerals from the water on to the now exposed soil. The alkali clay soil is found across a large area of the province. Glaciers in this area during the last ice age are most likely are the reason for this as the glaciers scrape away the ground cover while they advance and retreat.

    North America remains largely undiscovered to the rest of the world before the 1600s and even less explored in this remote area of the Assiniboine River watershed. Any activity in Rama region is limited to that of the First Nations people and wildlife and supporting plants and forest until the 1800s.

    Community name

    The rail siding and passenger platform at what is now the village was named Rama in 1904 by Canadian Northern Railways. Saskatchewan Wheat Pool archives show the name was from the Rama area of Ontario. More commonly the name is thought to refer to the Norwegian Ram as the founder was from Norway. No reference material exists to back up this claim. The municipal corporation has been named Rama since its inception in 1919 the name was not declared official by other levels of government until years later, 1956.

    While other names such as Silver Hill (1907) were discussed for the village or school district they were ultimately passed over and for simplicity sake the decision was made to keep with the name already given to the train platform and siding there.

    Rama is assigned a UN/LOCODE of CA-RMA.


    Until 1899 a large area directly to the east of Rama, around the north end of good spirit lake, was reserved for the Doukhobors; this reserve was called the Good Spirit Lake Annex. It was part of the South Colony. The people settled eight communal villages in this area of almost 170,000 acres.

    Decisions of the Canadian government in the early 1900s (1907) caused almost all these communal farm villages to be deserted for individual homesteads by 1918. These families moved on to southern British Columbia or onto individual farmsteads.

    Homesteading and surveys

    Rama became an incorporated village on December 18, 1919. The first British-Canadian surveys in the Assiniboia district were completed in this area for the British crown by around 1879, by 1890 the provisional government began to encourage European immigration to the area.

    At about the same time the site for Rama was being surveyed a large wave of immigrant homesteaders were coming to the province from all over the world.

    The settlers that arrived to homestead in the area of Rama were largely of Eastern European origin. Some of the first area families lived south of the town site. They were documented as the Landstad's, Murray's, Dean's, and Lockhart's all on or near the former Pelly Trail to the south of Rama. John Berge (and family) are listed as homesteaders in the area near the rail siding.


  • 1600s to 1800s - European activity in what is then known as New France and later the Assiniboia district are summed up as fur trading with Natives.
  • 1690 - Henry Kelsey, a British explorer for the HBC, is guided by First Nations People on his journey deep into the Assiniboine River area. His mission was to meet with the area First Nations people in an effort to encourage them to bring furs east to be traded at York Factory (on the shores of Hudson Bay). Kelsey was the first British person to explore the plains of Canada and this area of Saskatchewan.
  • 1800 to 1904 - European settlement of the area was still quite limited due to uncertainty and instability. Most of Assiniboia was made part of the US in 1812 and was transferred back in 1869. In 1870 the Riel Rebellion would effectively mean the area was under Metis control from 1870. While claimed by the British, Assiniboia would not fully become a part of Canada until after 1882. Because of this instability only a few cattle ranchers were bravely tending herds in the no-mans land area of the Whitesand River and Devil's Lake (Good Spirit Lake). Bison still roamed the plains.
  • 1890 - The Dominion Land Survey of Canada is being made of the district Assiniboia for the purpose of settlement.
  • 1899 - The area immediately to the East of present-day Rama (Buchanan, Canora, Kamsack, Veregin area) is turned into the Doukhobor South Reserve and Devil's Lake annex totaling almost 384,000 acres of land. The Doukhobors establish 38 villages in this area, most of which will be abandoned by the early 20th century.
  • 1901 - Some of the first European settlers begin to arrive at the (then) end of the train line to the south in Sheho. It was then a sometimes weeks long oxen and cart ride North from Sheho across the Whitesand River and through the bush along the Pelly and other former cart and bison trails to Rama.
  • 1903 - The first documented European settlement activity was in this year by Joseph E. Howes and R.D. Whitman.
  • 1904 - The name Rama is selected by the CNR for this siding. The name Rama would not be declared official for the village until much later.
  • 1905 - Saskatchewan becomes a province of Canada in September 1905 and the District of Assiniboia is dissolved into the control of the new province.
  • 1907 - John Berge is the first resident. Travelers journals at the time describe Rama as little more than the Berge family residence and the rail line sporting an unheated shed and passenger platform to wait for the train.
  • 1908 - On April 9 Rama's Post Office opens its doors. John Berge is the Postmaster.
  • 1908 - The first bicycle is documented in the village.
  • 1909 - January 12 is the first meeting for Rama School District #2249. John Berge is appointed Chairman and J. B. Russell the Secretary of the new school district.
  • 1910 - 21 students are listed as being enrolled in the new Rama School.
  • 1910 - The first steam tractor is available for purchase.
  • 1912 - The first gasoline tractor becomes available for purchase.
  • 1912 - The first long distance telephone calls can be made on a phone that is shared.
  • 1916 - The Rama branch of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union donates to the Red Cross Society.
  • 1916 - Rama school discontinues nature studies.
  • 1919 - The community continues to grow and is officially incorporated.
  • 1919 - Telephones began being installed in private residences in Rama and the surrounding area by the Invermay Rural Telephone Company. To this day Rama shares telephone exchange 593 with the Invermay.
  • 1920 - The first Rama council meeting is held. S. Tritiak is head of the council (mayor).
  • 1921 - Population 127.
  • 1921 - The first radio is documented.
  • 1922 - Saint Anthony's R.C. parish is incorporated.
  • 1922 - Construction of a dam on nearby Spirit Creek is tendered by CNR to C.G. Anderson of Norwood, M.B.
  • 1924 - The Saskatchewan Wheat Pool farmer grain co-operative is formed and operates as a kind of farmer democracy until it becomes a public company in 1996. It is considered a different company after the 2007 merger with Agricore and also lost the pool name at that time, operating under as Viterra from 2007 onward.
  • 1926 - On September 17 the family of Ed Willis, including his wife and their two children, were killed by fire caused by a lightning strike to their Rama area farm home.
  • 1927 - In January the Rama local of the United Farmers of Canada is formed.
  • 1927 - Public passenger bus service becomes available as part of route from Tisdale to Yorkton.
  • 1928 - A diphtheria outbreak causes many deaths locally and provincially. Populations in many areas, Rama included, see dramatic year over year decreases due to outbreak deaths.
  • 1929 - Stock market instability and fiscal uncertainty cause the demand and price for area produced commodities such as grain and meat to fall hurting area farms.
  • 1931 - The Great Depression hit the prairies hard. Poor fiscal and environmental conditions (the Dust Bowl) in western Canada cause 250,000 people to leave between 1931 and 1941.
  • 1934 - In response to the depression prairie residents demanding a greater political voice form the CCF party.
  • 1935 - The Canadian Wheat Board is (re)created to help control grain prices.
  • 1936 - The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of St. Michael’s, now a designated historical landmark, is built at the southern edge of Rama.
  • 1937 - Two thirds (2/3) of the remaining farming population is considered totally destitute. Province wide relief costs are nearly $65,000,000. This amount exceeds provincial revenues for this year.
  • 1939 - Construction of Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto at St. Anthony's church begins.
  • 1939 - Canadian media publishes stories in the rest of Canada alerting others to hardships faced in the province. Photos of gigantic weeds, emaciated cattle and dust storms inspire Boy Scouts from Winnipeg to collect clothing and supplies to be sent as aid to Saskatchewan people. Organizations and individuals from all across Canada came together to donate and send rail car loads of supplies to the province.
  • 1941 - Our Lady of Lourdes grotto holds its first pilgrimage.
  • 1947 - February 1. Even snowmobiles find the roads impassible as the temperature dips to -50 °F before warming to a balmy -46 °F later in the day. The groundhog predicts six more weeks of winter the next day.
  • 1949 - May 17, land to construct a school at what became its final site was transferred from the village to the local school board. The building itself was not tendered for construction until 1955.
  • 1951–1952 - Present day highway 5, generally following the rail line instead of grid roads, is constructed from Buchanan to Invermay.
  • 1956 - The survey plan of the community as it is today is officially approved and the name Rama officially declared by the Federal Government.
  • 1959 - Renovations to the Grotto see stations of the cross added around the perimeter.
  • 1960 - The Rama Rams Senior B Softball team loses to Saskatoon 13 - 6 at the Rama Sports Grounds.
  • 1960 - In April the final passenger service steam train, CNR 6062, passes Eastbound on its way to Winnipeg. Rail passenger service is discontinued from this point on.
  • 1961 - 288 people now live in the village. 200 students from Rama and the surrounding area are enrolled in Rama School. This is the peak of the population for the village.
  • 1962 - The Rama Rams win the softball tournament held at the Invermay Fair.
  • 1965 - Many surrounding country schools held their final classes in the spring seeing students travel to Rama for education that fall. School enrollment declines steadily from this point on.
  • 1965 - A call for tenders is placed for the construction of a modern sewage collection system. Construction is completed and toilets in town can start flushing shortly after.
  • 1972 - Armed with a $9,000 grant from the federal government, the Recreation Board in Rama embarks on a project to build a skating rink.
  • 1975 - A large fire destroys both grain elevators in town.
  • 1976 - The Saskatchewan Wheat Pool moves an elevator from Tuffnell and an elevator annex from Buchanan to replace the buildings burned the previous year.
  • 1980 - Local resident Ed Yaworski is lucky to be alive after his home is completely destroyed during an explosion
  • 1984 - Fire consumes another business as the former CO-OP service station burns.
  • 1985 - An addition to the public school sees a school library and classroom as well as staff facilities added and updated.
  • 1988 - The Rama Rec. Board and Gov't of Sask. dedicates a monument to the original Rama School at the new Rama Park created on the original school site on Front Street.
  • 1994 - The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox church of St. Michael’s is declared a historical landmark.
  • 2000 - Big Sky wins environmental approval to construct a hog rearing operation nearby.
  • 2001 - The Palm Beach Post in Palm Beach, Florida announced on page 2A that Ringo Starr was holding his first concert on a North American tour in tiny Rama, Saskatchewan. This ran printed in its July 26 edition. No surprise concert would come to pass and the error is retracted.
  • 2002 - The village council decides to connect the village water system to the Canora Rural Utility Board's water pipeline and consequently sell the village's water reservoir on Spirit Creek to Big Sky pork farms. This decision eventually received government approval.
  • 2003 - Residents are asked to participate in a first of its kind scientific odour study. The study is commissioned because of a smell related to the hog manure slurry being injected into area land as fertilizer. This hog manure is sourced from large, open air, outdoor lagoons.
  • 2009 - Falling pork prices cause Big Sky to fall into receivership. This affects many area farmers who were feed suppliers to Big Sky's hog operation.
  • 2013 - With the help of new donors, renovations to the Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes sees the stonework rebuilt, landscaping repaired and new statues dedicated. Highway signage directing visitors to the grotto is added on the highway by the church and its parishioners.
  • 2013 - Big Sky Farms again finds difficulty in the international hog markets causing it to once again be forced into receivership. Olymel LP becomes Big Sky's partner as a result of the receivership. The resultant partnership; Olysky LP; now controls Big Sky's commercial hog rearing operations.
  • 2016 - March 13. Dave Kory and the rest of the village look on as the former skating arena and home of Dave Kory Performance Horses burns.
  • 2016 - October 28. Rama residents Phillip and Geraldine Shewchuck and Lorne and Dianne Matsalla receive the Medal of Bravery from Gov.-Gen. David Johnston.
  • References

    Rama, Saskatchewan Wikipedia