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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

The Winter Of 1901-02

I decided that this week we were going to go way back in Vermilion’s history, before the community itself ever existed.

Let’s take a look and see what was going on in the area around what is now Vermilion, during the winter of 1901-02.

First, everyone was very happy that the thaw was coming because that meant mail was reaching the area again. There were various stretches when there was nearly no mail coming to the Vermilion area. Imagine that, no mail for weeks on end.

At the end of the growing season in 1901, heavy rains delayed the ripening of the wheat and then everything was caught in a heavy frost. Only about 11,000 bushels of grain were threshed at the end of the year before winter came. This was a far cry from what would be harvested in just a few years of time.

A lot of frozen what was fed to stock and that reduced the total yield quite a bit. Nonetheless, there was a great deal of land being broken already in March 1902, and it was expected that the amount of crop harvested in 1902 would be much higher than the previous year.

Overall, the autumn was warm and open but the snow hit on Nov. 1 and by March it was 2.5 feet deep.

The winter overall was mild and relatively open. The local Indigenous Peoples did their hunting and trapping during the winter and fur was quite plentiful for them. This meant a brisk trade in furs in the area.

A catholic church was built in the area and Reverend Father Joussard was working hard to boost the numbers of people attending the congregation.

A waterpower grist mill was also built and was about to begin its use. There was also a plan to add a saw mill, planer and shingle mill to the area.

One interesting bit of information was that two timber wolves were hanging around the area. The species is long gone from the area now but back then those two timber wolves had killed several hogs, calves and colts.

A beautiful Christmas concert was held on Dec. 24 in the area and was attended by 125 people. The school room was full of people and it was very tastefully decorated.

On New Year’s Day, a football match was played on the snow as the weather was nice. Another match was then held on Feb. 15 due to the nice weather.

Sharing Canadian history through social media, history columns and on my podcast is what I do for a living. Please consider supporting that by donating at

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