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King Wheat

Wheat was grown in Saskatchewan even before Canada was declared a country. Voyageurs  to Canada brought wheat with them on their first trips to Canada and tried to grow some at their forts.

An illustrated York boat is shown with four men on it.

Voyagers arrived in Canada and brought wheat to try to grow it here.

In 1867, Canada was declared a country. Soon after, the new government was looking for people to come and settle on the Canadian Prairies. The government was offering very cheap farmland, which drew people from Europe to a new life farming wheat in Western Canada.

An illustrated advertisement is shown with a farmwife holding her child while stooks of wheat and a farmhouse stand in the background.

The government advertised in other countries that Canada was the land of opportunities, calling it ‘The New Homeland’.

Bread Basket

Many people had been growing wheat in their home countries already. They brought their wheat seeds with them, but they found out those varieties didn’t always do well in this new land. The wheat they brought from Europe was adapted for a milder climate. In Canada, the wheat took too long to mature each year and was often damaged by frost. The wheat that was grown at this time also did not make very nice bread as it didn’t rise well.

A farmer wearing a hat and a tie is standing next to a stook of wheat in a field.

Photo Credit: Western Development Museum

This farmer is standing in a wheat field.

Scientists began experimenting to try and improve the wheat plants to grow better on the Prairies. They were successful and by 1915, Saskatchewan farmers produced the first great wheat crop. More than half of the wheat grown in Canada during 1915 came from Saskatchewan farms. Wheat was the primary crop grown in Saskatchewan for decades. It was regarded so highly that people even called it ‘King Wheat’. Canada became known as the ‘Bread basket of the world.’

An illustrated wheat sheaf has a crown on it.

Wheat was grown in Saskatchewan for decades and started being called ‘King Wheat.’