History of the Bell Farm

It has been over 130 years since the Bell Farm was established just north of Indian Head, on the northern edge of the Great Plains of North America. This corporate farm was an experiment supported by the federal government of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, and was officially called the Qu'Appelle Valley Farming Company. Its shareholders were located in Ontario, but one of them, Major William R. Bell, came west to serve as general manager of the Company. It wasn't long before the farm achieved a more recognizable and memorable name: the Bell Farm.

A number of historic documents relate to the initial establishment of the Bell Farm in 1882, as well as proposals for its subsequent refinancing and revised operation in 1892 and 1896. A "Prospectus" is a legal document designed to portray a proposed business venture in its best light, and to encourage financial investors to join the enterprise. To review these documents, click on the items below. The originals can be seen at the Saskatchewan Archive Board, in Regina, Saskatchewan.

You may find more information on Major William Bell in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography at the University of Toronto.

Construction

Construction of the Bell Farm started in 1882, under the direction of A. J. Osment. Within a year over 100 buildings were constructed on this corporate farm, which included about 53,000 acres (or 332 quarter sections). Although the corporate farm itself didn't last out the decade, the mythology of this farm, which featured Saskatchewan's first round barn, has lived on in history books, magazine and in the lives of the people of the Indian Head district.

Documents

"Provincial Historic Marker:Bell Farm"
"A History of the Bell Farm, by E. C. Morgan, 1966"