Esterhazy is the kind of town where the living is easy with lots of
fresh air, blue sky and beautiful sunsets. Touring around the nearby countryside
you will not only find a lot of wildlife but you will also find several
tourist sites to view. One of these sites is the world's largest potash
mine others include the historic country churches, old Indian, fur trader
and pioneer landmarks.
An Aristocratic Legacy
Esterhazy is named after a Hungarian aristocrat turned Canadian immigration agent, Count Paul Oscar Esterhazy. He settled 35 Hungarian families south of present-day Esterhazy in 1886. The Kaposvar colony flourished and Esterhazy's effort helped publicize the agricultural viability of the region.
But controversy surrounds Count Esterhazy. Records reveal that the Count was christened Johannes Packh. He adopted the Esterhazy name when he was 35, saying it was "my rightful name, by in controversial proof of the legality of my claim and of birth right." This claim was never recognized by the Esterhazy family, one of the wealthiest and most prominent in Hungary. And a year after he began using the name, Esterhazy immigrated to North America.
You can still tour the site where Esterhazy first settled Hungarian families. At its heart is the Kaposvar Historic Site Museum, with the ruggedly beautiful stone church built in 1906. the Our Lady of Assumption pilgrimage is held here every year on the third Sunday in August.
The Mystery of the Light
One night in the 1930's, a local resident reported seeing a mysterious light, about 14 to 16 inches across , bobbing along the road next to the town cemetery. More sightings soon followed. Curious townspeople began making midnight excursions along the lonely road, hoping to see the phenomenon.
Those who did see it said that when they drove towards the light, it disappeared and reappeared behind them, without ever seeming to have moved. Everyone had an explanation for it. But the source of Esterhazy's mysterious light has never been identified.
Salt of the Earth
Potash mined at Esterhazy is used in fertilizer around the world, from South America to Europe and China. Potash is rich in potassium: one of the 14 elements necessary to plant life.
The term 'potash' goes back to the 1700's, when early pioneers leached wood ashes and evaporated the solution in large iron pots. The result: pot...ash.
After reserves of potash ore were discovered in Saskatchewan, International Minerals and Chemicals Corp. (IMC) began construction of a mine near Esterhazy. The mine shaft reached a depth of 1,030 meters when it was completed in 1962. Today, IMC operates two mines (K-1 and K-2) in the area. They have a combined production capacity of 4.2 million tons of potash a year - still the largest potash mine in the world.
Between Kaposvar and Qu'Appelle
Esterhazy sits on a green plain between two scenic valleys: Kaposvar and Qu'Appelle. Go exploring - on foot or by car. You'll find a little history, a little culture, and a lot of fun.
Kaposvar Valley Skirts the town's north end, then winds southeast. A creek trickles along the valley floor. The Kaposvar Valley is also host to a plush 9 hole golf coarse with grass greens; natural hiking trails; cross country ski trails; and more.
Qu'Appelle Valley is south of town on Grid 637. The Kaposvar Historic Site is on the way.
Stop and see the stone church, rectory, grotto, log buildings and one room school. Follow 637 until you join the Qu'Appelle Valley scenic route road, which follows the river valley for miles.
There's golfing at Last Oak Golf Course, a 6636 yard, tree-lined 18 hole course. For winter fun, nearby Ochapowace Mountain Ski Resort offers downhill and cross-country skiing.
Round Lake Regional Park has camping, boating, fishing, swimming, and resort amenities. One of the resorts was originally the home of the Bird brothers. They were famous for their parties. One New year's Eve, the brothers hosted a dance out on the ice of Round Lake. When the ice began to crack, party-goers fled to shore, but the piano crashed through the ice and sunk to the bottom of the lake.
Faith & Cultural Mosaic
When homesteaders first settled this area, faith and culture were closely entwined. Churches sprang up in almost every settlement. Today, a tour of the historic churches reflects the cultural diversity of out early pioneers.
The Esterhazy area was first settled in 1882 by English immigrants who established Sumner Parish north of town. Today, a cairn marks the spot where a vicarage and parish hall once stood.
To the west, a large Swedish colony was founded. Several churches were built over the years, including the evangelical Swedish Mission Church in 1895, the New Stockholm Lutheran Church in 1917-21, and the Stockholm United Church completed in 1905.
Czech settlers took up homesteads southwest of town. Kolin United Church, established in 1894, was part of the largest Czech settlement on the prairies.
To the northeast was a German settlement; northwest, Welsh settlers established St Davidís Church. Further west was a Scandinavian settlement, and at its heart: Kristiania Lutheran Church.
Today, the Potashville Multicultural Society helps promote and preserve the ethnic flavour of this interesting and diverse community.
A Jewish settlement was established southeast near Wapella. Canada's famous Bronfman family homesteaded here when they first arrived in the west.
After a day touring the countryside, enjoy easy living in town. Esterhazy has a variety of restaurants, shops and stores, comfortable hotel, motel & campground accommodations, and lots of outdoor summer recreation spots (swimming pool, tennis court, ball diamonds, 9 hole golf course).