Town of Hanley, Saskatchewan

Opera House Cairn

Opera House © September 2001 Samson Yee
Designer: Unknown

When Built: July 1, 2000


Construction Materials:

West side of Highway 11, just south of the main entrance to the village.

Reason for Building:

A local group felt that the community needed to establish an identity in rural Saskatchewan. As Hanley was the centre of cultural and economic activity for the area between Macrorie and Watrous in the early part of the century (1906 and on) it was felt the Opera House would be an appropriate symbol.

Additional Information:

That is me in the picture

The cost of the structure is in the neighborhood of $10,000 with approximately $7,000 raised through millennium celebrations.

Message engraved on the cairn:
"Completed in 1914, at a cost of $24,000, the Hanley Opera House became the focal point of commerce and cultural activity for the large area served by Hanley at the time.
In addition to the Town and Rural Municipal office, it housed the telephone office, doctor’s office, lab and operating room with a recovery room. A veterinarian, a dentist, and a shoemaker, who repaired shoes for a dime, were also tenants during its time. For many years, the Royal North West Mounted Police had a detachment, where, it is rumored, young John Diefenbaker spent a night for selling books without a license.
Famous people reported to have performed here were Mary Pickford, star of the silent movie screen, Harry Lauder, an excellent British singer, actor Boris Karloff, ‘Master of Horror’, and the popular Chatauqua performers.
A move from the Opera House to the new Centennial Hall occurred in 1967.
In 1980-82 a study was done to determine the possibility of restoring the Opera House. Close inspection revealed unsafe conditions, and the building was demolished.
This stone cairn is in commemoration of the historic building which once graced Hanley. July 1, 2000"

Information Source: Toni Chasmar

Picture Source: Samson Yee


Created By DMY on August 16, 2000
Last Updated: September 26, 2002