The Government of Saskatchewan and the Wakamow Valley Authority recently announced that there will be a renaming of part of Wakamow Valley after Lorne Calvert. The River Park Campground will be renamed the Lorne Calvert Campground, as well as part of the River Park Walking Trail being renamed the Lorne Calvert Loop.
The province revealed its Building/Landmark Dedication Policy in 2017. The policy provides guidelines for renaming buildings and landmarks after former premiers, provided they do not already bear another person’s name.
Premier Scott Moe made the announcement and said that it was his responsibility to name something after Saskatchewan’s 13th Premier and that it was a responsibility he took very seriously. Moe complimented Calvert’s leadership style and thanked him for his service to the people of Saskatchewan. He also said that he “wanted to ensure that whatever we chose to name was appropriate and that it was meaningful to former premier Calvert and his family…”
Betty Calvert told Moose Jaw Express over the phone that she was absolutely thrilled. “Through all the years we’ve lived in Moose Jaw, we’ve spent many hours down there with our children – hiking, picnicking, camping, canoeing, tobogganing on the little hills there, swimming… The kids would swim in the river even when they weren’t supposed to.”
Mrs. Calvert also said that their family is very pleased with the renaming choice and that they are very proud of their father.
Wakamow Valley Authority General Manager Todd Johnson said, “The Wakamow Valley Authority Board is very pleased to pay homage to one of Moose Jaw’s most influential public figures. It’s a small gesture, but one we hope will carry on Premier Calvert’s legacy for generations to come.”
The new park signage reflecting the name changes is expected to be erected in the spring of 2022.
Former premier Lorne Calvert was happy to say that [he and his family] are simply delighted. “From our point of view, the choice could not have been better. The Wakamow Valley has been part of our family for four generations. My father grew up in there, and I grew up in there, and my children and their children. It’s been part of our lifestyle all through their lives.”
Calvert was the minister of Zion United Church in Moose Jaw from 1979-1986. In 1986 he became the MLA for what was then Moose Jaw South, and in 1991 was re-elected as the MLA for what had become Moose Jaw Wakamow. He maintained that position until 1999.
One of Calvert’s responsibilities during his tenure as an MLA was as the minister responsible for the Wakamow Valley Authority. As minister, he was able to increase funding for Wakamow Valley.
Former premier Calvert reiterated his “deepest and sincerest thanks” to the Board of the Wakamow Valley Authority, and to the Saskatchewan Legislature.
However, he also expressed that he was “very disappointed when the current provincial government reduced entirely” the provincial funding for the Valley, saying that it is one of “the treasures of Saskatchewan” and that it deserved to have its funding restored.
The Sask Party removed that funding in 2016. Both of Moose Jaw’s MLAs at the time (Greg Lawrence and Warren Michelson) voted with their party to cut Wakamow Valley’s funding.
Calvert said that he was “confident our local MLAs are currently working diligently toward having that funding restored to the Valley.
”Wakamow Valley Campground will be lit with thousands of LED Christmas lights this season, and Calvert expressed his hope that as many Moose Javians as possible will visit it.
“It will be exceptionally beautiful.”