When Don Dickinson created the Moose Jaw Dayz Facebook page in April of 2012, he wanted to make it a place where people could share the history of Moose Jaw and make it fun and educational.
Over 10 years later, the page now has over 9,600 members sharing photos and stories from Moose Jaw’s past.
“Moose Jaw is an amazing little town. I think the more people realize its history and how quickly it was growing they'd learn it was supposed to be one of the Crown jewels in 1910-1911,” Dickinson said.
Dickinson, who now resides in Victoria, B.C., began coming up with the concept when he was working with Central Collegiate’s 100th anniversary committee to make a website from 2007-2010. He recalled over 2,000 people attended the 75th anniversary in 1985, but the committee was having a hard time convincing the younger generation to come to the 100th anniversary.
What Dickinson found was that the majority that had no interest in coming to the reunion already kept in touch with former schoolmates through social media.
After the reunion, Dickinson decided to start up the Facebook page so that people could share Moose Jaw’s history. The name of the page paid homage to the Moose Jaw Days gatherings that were held every two or three years in Victoria that attracted hundreds of former Moose Javians in the 1970s and 1980s. He added the ‘z’ to the title for the Z-Generation that has grown up using the internet to share information.
The page started off with just a few friends joining, but the page really jumped in memberships when a Moose Jaw historian joined the page.
“Eventually we got Bruce Fairman interested and then it really took off because Bruce just added a depth to the whole thing,” Dickinson said.
He said since starting the page, it has sparked many conversations about the people and buildings.
The page has also become a gathering ground for those looking for more information about people and buildings from the past in Moose Jaw.
“We’ve actually had the museum turn to us and it’s because we’ve got several people on there with a real depth of knowledge of Moose Jaw and its historical beginnings,” Dickinson said.
In 2018, after six years of running the page, he handed over the administrative duties to another former Moose Javian Billy Shiers.
However, Dickinson is still looking for ways to share Moose Jaw’s past. His next venture is to make a website with an interactive map of Moose Jaw. The map would allow you to click on different locations around the city and it would share old photographs of those locations and the stories behind the buildings that used to be there.