A couple of weeks ago I grabbed my camera and took a walk down to the Moose Jaw River. I found a serene area where Thunder Creek and the Moose Jaw River meet. It’s a beautiful area with an interesting history.
Two entities are particularly important in the history of Plaxton’s Lake: G.P. Plaxton, and the Moose Jaw Aquatic Club.
George Percy Plaxton, known to many as G.P., ran a boating business called Plazton’s Boat Livery in the area from 1902-1915. His most prized vessel was “Edith”. The family eventually moved the business to Regina Beach in 1915.
Moose Jaw Aquatic Club
Where a gazebo now stands is the former site of the club house of the Moose Jaw Aquatic Club. The primary purpose of this structure was to “beautify the river” (Moose Jaw Evening Times, May 24 1913), and provide members with a club room, baths and showers, lockers, and boathouses, but not in such a way as to oppose the business of G.P. Plaxton (Moose Jaw Evening Times, May 24 1913). The club house was designed by Moose Javian architect Sholto Smith, and enjoyed its grand opening on August 8, 1913. Among the attendees were M.P. W.E. Knowles, M.L.A. W.B. Willoughby, Mayor James Pascoe, and renowned Moose Jaw photographer Lewis Rice, who was at that time the Commodore of the club.
The Moose Jaw aquatic club would enjoy success over the decades, providing a training location for athletes, the club having won the provincial water polo championship for Moose Jaw in 1924 (Zimmer, 1984). Also successful was swimming champion Phyllis Dewar, who won four gold medals at the 1934 Commonwealth Games (Zimmer, 1984). The club also had a newsletter called “The Dipper”, which I found to be an amusing name.
As indicated by the commemorative plaque, the Moose Jaw Aquatic Club closed in 1950, and the club house fell into disrepair over time. In 1958, the South Saskatchewan Rifle Association purchased the building for $1 and moved it up the hill directly south of its former location. The club house was in 1991 again sold for $1, this time to Wakamow Valley Park, and after some additions and renovation acts as the headquarters for the park.
The vintage photographs I used are from the Moose Jaw Public Library Archives.
Moose Jaw Evening Times. “Moose Jaw’s Proposed Aquatic Club House will be beauty.” May 24, 1913.
Zimmer, James D. “Moose Jaw Aquatic Club (South Saskatchewan Wildlife Club)” The Moosoochapiskun Register of Heritage Properties (1984): 8.