November 30, 2018

New Archives Exhibit Commemorates 100th Anniversary of the Spanish Flu

The Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan is pleased to announce an archival web exhibit documenting the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-19.

Arriving on the heels of the First World War that had already resulted in the death of thousands of Saskatchewan servicemen and women, the Spanish Flu had a devastating impact on Saskatchewan.  More than 5,000 people died from the illness province-wide.

Rural Saskatchewan was particularly hard hit because of poor access to medical care.  The influenza spread as soldiers returned from Europe and impacted people from all walks of life across the province.

When Magnus Ramsland, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Pelly died of the flu in 1918, his wife Sarah Ramsland ran for his seat in 1919 and won, becoming Saskatchewan’s first female Member of the Legislative Assembly.

“It says something about the perseverance of the people of this province that such a notable historic event could come from tragedy,” Minister Responsible for the Provincial Archives Ken Cheveldayoff said.

Quarantines occurred throughout the province and many public gatherings were cancelled to prevent the virus from spreading.  The province changed certain laws in an attempt to cope with the epidemic, including relaxing recently-passed prohibition legislation.  The online exhibit tells stories about the effect of the epidemic on the province and its people through a variety of sources from the Provincial Archives’ Permanent Collection.

“This exhibit is a typical example of archival research and the important job the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan does to preserve our history for future generations,” Provincial Archivist Linda McIntyre said.  “The exhibit draws from many collections and records to illuminate events and piece together the historical narrative.”

To view the exhibit or to learn more about the Provincial Archives, please visit