WDM celebrating Saskatchewan innovation week
Saskatchewanians need more than a week to celebrate the province’s history of technological achievements.
© Courtesy of WDM archives
Allan Jacobs rode Blowtorch — one of the province's innovations — in the Swift Current parade in 1968.
“I think it’s important for us to know and recognize all the things that people in this province have done,” said Kathy Fitton, manager of the Moose Jaw Western Development Museum (WDM).
“It’s just one more reason to be proud of who we are and where we come from.”
There are lots of impressive contributions from this province.
Fitton said the public might not be aware of the high-level of innovation Saskatchewan had produced.
Saskatchewan innovation week is running this week until Saturday. All four WDMs in the province recognize and celebrate Saskatchewan innovation.
This week is an opportunity for the WDM to highlight some notable achievements.
“A lot of innovations in this province have been agricultural in design. And that makes perfect sense. Agriculture is so important here and farmers have been very, very resourceful and have come up with new and better ways to do things,” Fitton said. “But it does go way beyond that.”
The Saskatchewan innovations do go beyond the agricultural: the ATM and debit card introduced by Sherwood Credit Union in Regina and the Cobalt-60 Unit that has saved lives of cancer patients around the world.
Though there isn’t a specific Saskatchewan innovation week exhibit at the Moose Jaw WDM, the list of innovations available online at the museum’s website feature some examples it has on display.
“One is the Lorch Snowplane,” Fitton said. “Actually, we have three snowplanes in our collection here in Moose Jaw and the one that is Saskatchewan-built is the Lorch.”
Saskatchewan is also responsible for an airplane, the CF-SAM, that served two functions.
“That plane actually had two purposes in its life: one was as an air ambulance, but it was also used for smoke jumping. Saskatchewan had the first smoke jumpers,” Fitton said.
The plane belonged to the fledgling Saskatchewan Air Ambulance Service, the first non-military and government-operated air ambulance service in the world.
With 17 innovations on the list (at www.wdm.ca/saskinnovations.htm), it was tough for Fitton to pick one that interests her most.
“Blowtorch has always been one of my favourite artifacts and I can’t honestly tell you why,” Fitton said of the mechanical horse made by a Swift Current inventor around 1952.
“Blowtorch is just fun. He’s just fun, and yet so inventive. It’s just so eccentric and original and all those great things. I was really pleased to see him being highlighted.”
Austin M. Davis can be reached at 306-691-1258 or follow him on Twitter @theAustinX