ECI Memory Lane

Estevan Collegiate Institute
Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada

During Reunion 2000 I had many Trivia Web Pages, and all were on Geocities and Tripod's Free Servers. When they decreased my web space, and bandwidth, I removed many of the web pages I had during the reunion, to keep the sites main pages active. These deleted pages were then in moth balls collecting dust for years. Then when we moved the site to a new paid server, I thought it was time to add some of these memories back again. Now the site is being moved again, and totally redone, to keep up with the times. Hope You enjoy the new additions, and they bring back a few good memories!

Click on the Thumbnails to View full size Note- These were taken with one of the first digital camera's, it was a Sony either 1 or 2 megapixel so quality is less than great. If you own the originals and can scan them, please send me a better copy. I have received some over time, and Thank You!

At ECI we had a Student Newspaper the name of the Newspaper was COLLEGIATE ECHOES


  • First editor: Ed Elford Dickson- 1914-1917
  • Beverly Oster- 1949
  • Margaret Mathieson 1955
  • Donna Sandie-1959
  • David Bannatyne- 1960
  • Riola Turnbull, 1964
  • Darlene Spivy, 1965
  • Collen Slater-Smith, 1966
  • Helen CLayton, 1967
  • Doug Will 1968
  • The Last Editor of Collegiate Echoes was: Lois Henneberg- 1969

In the Saskatchewan Archives I stumbled upon the Original Architectural Drawings of ECI drawn by Storey and VanEgmond in 1914. After many letters and emails I had these 6 drawings copied for viewing at the Reunion in 2000. This was the first time they had been in Estevan since 1912-1914 when the School was being built.

Display at the Reunion.

After the Reunion they were donated to the Estevan Museum on Highway 37, in Memory of the Gus Gesell Family. I received permission from Mrs Helen Mather in Regina to make special copies for the Reunion, as well as special permission to include these on my History CD Unfortunately they didn't arrive in time to put them on the CD I hope they have them displayed now since the School is now gone. They will be the only documents showing the exact details used in the construction.

I was going through the old yearbooks to scan pictures for the Reunion 2000 CD, and noticed a whole page of pictures, devoted to Bobby Curtola in the 1965 Yearbook, so I decided to scan these in and send them to Bobby Curtola, and get his permission to use a small record clip of his, on my History CD. I not only got his permission, he phoned me on June 28th, 2000 and apologized for not being able to make it to the Reunion! Then he read a letter, he wrote to the Alumni, which he then Faxed me.

This Fax was on display at the Reunion. He sounded like a great guy! A true Canadian Talent! I used his hit “Fortune Teller” on the CD. He loved the old Yearbook pictures by the way! I believe he was in Estevan to do a Xmas dance down at the River Pavilion. This might bring back good memories for those that attended that Dance. I've included the photos in my Yearbook Memories slide show

In 1999 this appeared In our online “Echoes” web page, The beginning of a great party Reunion 2000

News Release Regina, Mar 24/99 - - Former Estevan City Clerk receives first ECI invitation

Norah Mather of Regina was presented Friday with the first ECI Reunion 2000 invitation to roll off the press.

A 1927 graduate of the Estevan Collegiate Institute, Mather was Estevan's City Clerk for many years.

She joined the City of Estevan staff in 1927 immediately after high school and retired in 1970.

Mather also served overseas during the Second World War attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant with the Canadian Women's Army Corps. She has been a strong supporter of the Royal Canadian Legion Estevan Branch #60 and has held executive positions.(*1. see below)

Another 500 ECI Reunion and homecoming invitations are in the mail. The Regina Communications Committee met Thursday evening to address by hand and stamp the cards to former ECI students across Canada and around the world.

“It's a start,” said Don Pho, committee member. “But, the master list has 3,000 names. The cards we've addressed are targeted primarily at the people who live far away and whose addresses we could find - so they will have early notification and can plan to attend.” Regina committee members who participated in the addressing bee were: Ron Hitchcock, Paul Fraser, Judy Weber-Fraser, Joyce Hargest Allen, Don Olson,Lois Bye Andrew, Jim Mojelski, and Colleen Slater-Smith.

“Ron and Joyce personally applied each stamp to the cards - Jim brought some damp sponges to help with that task. Paul and Judy brought the Canada Postal Code Book. We were pleased to have Judy on hand - a genuine Canada Post official - to supervise our work!” Pho said.

The 500 addresses have been gathered by telephone calls to former ECI students in Regina and across Canada, from Christmas card lists, the 1944-48 reunion list from 1997, and various telephone books. Some addresses are also beginning to appear as a result of the ECI Internet website.

“This invitation card is designed to increase use of the website - the card simply gives the date of the event and the ECI website address,” Pho said.

“We have also targeted former ECI family groups with this mailout - so we have included a large number of Estevan people in this first mailout. It's our hope that the Estevan residents will contact their family members because we do not have everyone's address.

Please don't be offended if you don't receive an ECI card in the mail this week - it was a targeted mailout specifically with the hope these folks will contact their relatives or the Estevan address committee.

Pho encouraged Estevan residents with addresses of former ECI students to forward them to Carol Toth or Ted Mather who are collecting the addresses and compiling a database for a large mailout of registration forms and detailed reunion information this spring. “We have printed a large number of the invitation cards and they will be available in various locations around Estevan and from other committee members.”

That first Gold Mailer started it all. After that group in Regina got the ball rolling, the committees in Estevan led by Larry Preddy finished the job

As time goes on we are loosing more and more ECI Alumni, and I am afraid Norah is one of them.

*1. Her Obituary:


  • Published: 09/03/2004
  • Estevan, SK

MATHER, NORAH_Norah passed away peacefully on September 2, 2004 in her 95th year. Predeceased by her parents John and Alice Mather, brothers Harry, Frank and David Mather; sisters Kathleen Johnson and Emily Dougall, she is survived by brothers Jack Mather (Regina), Ted Mather (Winnipeg); sister Alice Donnely (Crofton, BC); and numerous nieces and nephews. Norah worked for the City of Estevan for 43 years, was a Life Member of the Estevan Legion, served overseas in London during WWII. She was an avid gardener, reader, family historian and a very special person to those that knew her. We are grateful for the wonderful care she received on Unit 3-5 at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre in Regina. A private family service will be held in Estevan. Arrangements in care of Speers Funeral Chapel and Crematorium Services.

Rest in Peace Norah!

In 1999, I started to collect little trivia items for my Reunion 2000 Trivia page

This is what I found below, with up to date corrections:

  1. During the early years up until the 50's or so, the 2 big front doors of the school, were reserved for the teachers only. Students had to use the lower rear entrance at all times. They were not allowed to enter or exit the front doors!
  2. First yearbook was called “The Trumpeter” and was produced for only 1 year. 1939. No yearbook was printed from 1940-1950 due to the War. After 1951 the yearbook became “Re-Echoes” and was printed up to 1969.
  3. The top floor of the original part of the school was used as auditorium during the years before the present gym was added in 1947. This area was used as the Science Lab after 1948, and when the west wing was added it was used as a Guidance Room by Mr. Strange in the mid 60's. Also the Glee Club would practice up there in mid 60's.
  4. Sign on front of ECI says 1912, but it never opened until JAN 22, 1914
  5. Originally ECI was to be built on CPR property, near the tracks, not the present site.
  6. The term “Commencement” was NOT used for the first three years in ECI. This announcement corresponds to the present Commencement Programmes.
  7. ECI opened for classes Jan 22, 1914
  8. There was no official opening of the Collegiate, no ribbon cutting etc. (This was the rumour, now this one has turned out to be a bit false, after opening the old 1912 Cornerstone in 2007, it was discovered there was a celebration and placing of the items in the Cornerstone)CORNERSTONE LAID BY HON W.R.MOTHERWELL THEN PROVINCIAL MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE ON SEPT 20TH, 1912
  9. Young street in Estevan was named after “caretaker” Jimmy Young, who was at the school for 36 years, 1922-1958.
  10. MR. J.R. McMonagle, Principal of ECI from 1924-35 ran into a little trouble with the School Board one year and was to be removed as Principal. The students of the school marched to the School Board offices in support of their beloved Principal and he was reinstated with no further problems. (hard to believe this happened back in the 30's, sounds like the 90's!)
  11. . 1910 - First High School Board
  12. 1916- earliest Collegiate newspaper found, hand written by the Editor and ready every other Friday at Literary Periods. Ed Elford Dickson was the first Editor.
  13. Oct 1916- First Commencement Exercises
  14. 1916- First Awards- Henneberg Shield for Proficiency and Patterson Cup for Athletics
  15. 1917- Collegiate Girls & Boys Basketball teams formed
  16. 1919- July 1- Estevan High School became Estevan Collegiate Institute
  17. 1931-School Monogram designed by Creighton (Sandy) Bannatyne
  18. 1934- first Collegiate Capers organized under teacher Lefty White's direction
  19. 1936- First Initiation Parade
  20. 1936- Mr. George Newfeld instituted S.R.C. (Student Representative Council) to replace Literary Society (from days of Central School)
  21. 1938- Commerce Department started
  22. 1939- Jan 22nd, 25th Silver Anniversary of the school
  23. 1945- June -First Formal Graduation Exercises held in Stone Church
  24. 1946- Home Economics and Shop Departments started
  25. 1947- First Home Economics Dinner Party-since then usually a fashion show (up to 1964 at least)
  26. 1948- December- new Fire Alarm in ECI
  27. 1949- Opening of the Gym and Vocational (East) Wing
  28. 1950 - Cement sidewalks built in front of Collegiate, replaced a cinder path
  29. 1958- New Academic (West) Wing and Science Labs opened- 12 rooms
  30. 1963- School Coat of Arms designed by Paul Fraser
  31. Intramural House System was used for the Athletic Program. E - C - I - A which stood for E=Eyra, C=Compello, I= Invictus , & A= Aquilla
  32. Name of the ECI Football team?- The Rebels the first 8 man tackle football team. Formed by Mr. Krueger and assistant coach Allan Blevins. The JR. Boys had 3 teams the Revs , the Skiliters and the Royal Rods
  33. Name of the Girls Basketball Team? - The Deuces & the JR. Deuces
  34. Name of the Boys Basketball Team? - The Royals & the JR. Royals
  35. Name of the Collegiate Public Speaking Contest?- The Bryant Oratory (named after Judge Bryant)
  36. In 1908 there was only 3 classes of High School- Grades 9 & 10 taken in one year, called Third Class, Grade 11 was Second Class, and Grade Twelve was First Class.17 subjects in Third Class with no subs.
  37. Before water came to the school, drinking water, pumped from the school well, was in tanks on high wooden stands and each student made their own drinking cup by folding paper. waterworks came to ECI in 1925.
  38. Original building had 5 classrooms, plus Science Laboratory, on floors one and two., with auditorium on floor three and so-called gymnasium in the basement. (note item 3 above) 5 teachers taught in the school.
  39. Collegiate Capers was formed by Athletic Teams to raise funds for their various projects.
  40. .A Governor-General visited the School- Lord Tweeds Muir (day off of school proclaimed the next day!)
  41. An airplane was named Estevan-Oxbow after students in the area rated highest in purchasing War Savings Stamps. Miss Anne McGregor christened the plane
  42. During WWII patriotic morning ceremonies were held in each classroom carried out by a flag bearer of the week presenting the flag while a thought suitable to the times was recited by the class
  43. A tree was planted to celebrate the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth ( it died during the drought of the 30's)
  44. A week long art exhibit was held to purchase the first of the pictures on the walls of the Collegiate
  45. 1934- School song written by Harriet Holmgren
  46. 1961- School hymn written by Ron Jevons
  47. Classrooms were decorated at Commencement up to late 40's then stopped, due to the extra work required by the Janitor to clean it all up.
  48. Mr Forgay was NOT the Principal of ECI during his years of service (1956-1969) for one year, which year was it? (answer on the Teacher page) Mr. Grimson was Principal for this one year.
  49. What was unique about Miss Elizabeth Rogers teaching career (1914-1922) at ECI? (Answer on the Teacher page )
  50. The Collegiate cost $47,000 to build from Aug 1912- Jan 1914
  51. Mr. D.L. Irvine donated the first School Clock in 1913
  52. Opening hour of the school changed during winter months in the years around 1916-1917, from 9:00AM to 9:30AM.
  53. School was closed in 1918 due to Flu epidemic in the Town
  54. Classes were called Forms in the early years
  55. The Collegiate Band was first formed in 1951, Mr. Hordern as instructor. Then Mr. Strange, then Mr. Hugh Williams in 1956 Will add more when I get them, if you know of one please let me know.
  56. School song is the tune Washington and Lee Swing, info from Bill Harris

Next thing I dreamed up was a Guessing game with clues

Try your luck today


The following is a test of your memory bank - -

Guess what Estevan Business, the following clues describe?
(Please page down for all the clues and the answer- no skipping ahead!)

This business was in a building which was built in 1912?

It was located in what was called the Johnson building?

It was built and operated by Thomas Green (Deceased 1918) and his wife Wanda Green (nee Kraft) (deceased 1944) and Thomas's brother, Jim Green, from 1912-1923? Mrs. Green's descendants are members of the ECI Alumni

It was called “The Palace Cafe” until 1923 ?

The building was sold in 1923 to Lee Hing?

It was located on 4th street

Getting warmer?

It was operated as this new ??? name until the 90's but unfortunately all good things must come to an end?

Do you remember playing a few Rock and Roll tunes on one of those counter top jukebox's? 3 songs for two-bits, what a deal! Love to have one on my table at home I guarantee there would be no Rap on it!!! If you have 45 rpm records, flip through them like I did last week talk about bringing back the memories!!

If that clue didn't work how about this one?

How many hours did you sit on a Red Vinyl bench seat discussing, or doing homework?
How many times did you forget your books in this place?
How many hours did you sit on a bench seat like this checking out the opposite sex? AHH, thought so!

CLUE #10
Or this?

How time did fly when you sipped on a coke! 2 straws! The hours we spent here,……instead we could have built the 8th wonder of the world!

CLUE #11
Or maybe this?

Where did we all go for 1 order of chips and gravy split 3 ways? I still like chips and gravy, and my kids order it still today!

CLUE #12
Where did the Band members go after practice on Wed. night?

CLUE #13
Where did the ECI Re-Echoes group have their Annual Advertising Blitz Breakfast? (this establishment sponsored many ECI yearbooks)

CLUE #14
Last proprietor was Mr. HAMM CHOW (He sent me a picture of the inside, see below)

CLUE #15
IHH and ECI Students both went to this establishment

CLUE #16
On Saturday afternoon all the South Sask. Regiment would go to this place in their army gear after drills at the airport, (with Sergeant Major Slater, Colleen's dad)

CLUE #17
Where did 99.9% of the Alumni go after school, or after movies, or after anything…….?

What is the name of this business which put up with the Alumni of ECI for many decades? - -

- -

- -

- -

- -

- -

- -

- -


You knew that from Clue #1, right?

Old photo of the Canada Cafe
Canada Cafe building in 1999
Inside the Canada Cafe, ca1960's

After the Green family sold the Palace Cafe, later to become the Canada Cafe, Mrs. Green and Joe Kraft (deceased 1948) went on to build and operate the “Princess Cafe” in 1925. It was located in the Creighton Block. (NOW THE WICKLOW CENTRE, ACROSS AVE FROM BANK OF MONTREAL) The Princess Cafe was another ECI Alumni Hangout.

 Princess Cafe 1951
Princess Cafe

They operated the cafe until 1946 and then sold it to the Jack Ing family. The Jung family were also involved in this Cafe. There are members of these families on the alumni. The Princess Cafe is also gone now.

And can we not forget, On the East End of Town, the A&W DRIVE-IN owned by Spike & Estelle Moody and Jim Penny, and depending on the decade you were from, On the West End of Town: -late 50's, “Charlies Place” owned and operated by Charlie & Rose Nicholson, or -in the mid 60's - it became Dee Jay's , KFC, owned by the Johnson family.

The Estevan Police are still looking for those missing A&W mugs that seemed to disappear, like magic! Remember- Lights on for Service! Roll your window up an inch or 2, the tray is coming! Sad to say, but the KFC is the only one to survive.

Like Colleen Slater-Smith told me: ” These places are jam packed with positive and happy memories – more so even than the school – cause not everyone had a swell time at school“ Very true!

How many miles were put on parents cars, (or our own if we were the lucky few) making loops from the West to the East end of town? Trip to the moon would have been shorter! Around and around we would go, cruising, the fancier and newer the car, the more trips. How many speeding tickets on 4th street impressing the crew? Tickets for loud mufflers? Laying rubber? (I still love the old cars!)

Another hot spot, or should I say Cold spot, The Dairy Queen was on 4th Street. Owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs Moody (see A&W above) They made banana milkshakes to die for! Now I know where the weight came from! Either after eating, or before, we would of course go to the Star-Lite Drive-In, (Owned by ECI Alumni, Dale Abbott,) or the Orpheum Theatre,( Owned by ECI Alumni, Duane McKenzie and the Muss family after him), for a movie, with coke and A BIG popcorn.

The Orpheum still exists, under new owners now, but the Drive-in, like most others in the world, is gone. I think there is still one just north of Carlyle, but maybe that is the Casino now? Nothing like a crackling speaker, (Stereo, what was that?), mosquitoes, fogged up windows, (don't ask!), popcorn and coke all over the seats of the car, to make a real fun night. Vinyl Seats were the norm! Why cup holders in cars now, not then??? Where do the ECS students cruise now? the Mall? Only flashy car in there is the one some club is raffling off! You know the one I buy tickets on, and then never win!!!!! Hardly the same atmosphere! They don't know what they missed!

Other memories from the early 60's, B&B Drive-In, (owned by the O'Laneys, ECI alumni) and the River Park Pavilion, down by the river. (owned by the ECI Alumni -Green brothers), The corner on the highway where you turned into these places is not even the highway anymore! The Pavilion, Hotel and Beer Parlour are still standing today! My Dad loved the B&B's Fish and Chips, and the trees to park under to have our take-out supper. In those days it was a real treat to eat-out, now it is done almost every day, by all of us. I am sure many dances, weddings etc. can be remembered at the River Park Pavillion. Nathan and Brenda Lamb had their reception there for one.

River Park Resort

When I was a teenager we would go to our cabin called “Pooooped Out”- at Kenosee Lake, on weekends in the summer, and that was the Dance Hall that I remember the best. I only danced twice in my life, so it easy to remember them!!! I remember Colleen Slater and Karen McNichol tried their best one day, to teach the guy with 2 left feet to jive, The lesson was doomed for failure! My dad and brothers loved to dance, what happened to me?

Larry Preddy reminded me of the “ole swimmin' hole” Woodlawn Park, and the Souris River, where myself and thousands others learned to swim. Diving off the old bridge for those that dared!

Wood-ticks ,ah now everyone is itchy and scratching, right? It is a shame today, as thanks to foolish campers, carrying firewood with them, all the old Elm trees have had to be removed from this area, due to Dutch Elm disease. My mom and her family learned to swim at Vaughn's crossing, just past the “old swimming pool”. This pool was the replacement for the river site, and what a “clean” treat it was. I remember riding my bike from hillside just to go for a swim. Now it is the location of a great outdoor theatre every summer. Today the City has a great water and entertainment centre with a water slide and everything, all indoors. Have been there a few times to check it out and enjoyed every minute of it!

While the teens were out with their friends on friday night, the parents and younger siblings were sitting in their cars, on 4th street, eating a DQ ice cream, They would participate in the great Estevan pastime, watching the whole town go by. Now I am doing it in the malls! Lets see, I've lost my hair like my dad, sitting in the mall watching people, (just like 4th st.!) WHAT IS NEXT?


Postcard of ECI, from Grant Walker, CA

Original Pages Created Apr 23, 1999
Revised and added Feb 28, 2007
Moved to new site Apr 2017


  • Last modified: 2018/07/01 22:23
  • by dlgent