New sculpture honours pioneer women in Weyburn, Sask.

Community members in Weyburn, Sask., have a new statue designed to remind them of the hard work and dedication of pioneer women.

Community and business donations total $160K for project

A new statue to honour pioneer women was unveiled in Weyburn on Nov. 6, 2015. (Jon Gillies)

A new statue in Weyburn, Sask., is designed to pay homage to a group that history has often forgotten. 

The city unveiled a sculpture on Sunday, dedicated to the "courage and sacrifice" of pioneer women. 

Janet Linnell was part of a committee of six volunteers behind it. 

Women's work was often taken for granted.- Janet Linnell , Pioneer Woman Statue Committee

She said the project focused on women, as their sacrifices are under appreciated. 

"Women's work was often taken for granted," Linnell said.

"As women fought through the years for recognition and their contribution, back then it was even worse. They didn't have the vote, and their lives were devoted in service to others and often went unrecognized."

The sculpture depicts a farm mother with a boy and girl on either side of her. The boy is giving feed to a few chickens, and the girl is holding a milk jug. A commemorative plaque proclaims that settler women "left a legacy of hope rooted in the prairie soil."

The statue honouring pioneer women was created by Shirley and Don Begg. (Jon Gillies)

The city's Pioneer Woman Statue Committee collected donations from individuals, organizations and businesses. The total cost of the project was around $160,000.

Shirley and Don Begg of Cochrane, Alta., were the artists behind the design, which is now located at 5th Street North and 1st Avenue in Weyburn. 

Pioneer women's stories to be compiled into e-book

Although the statue is now complete, the Pioneer Woman Statue Committee is continuing to find ways of honouring pioneer women.

The committee is working on an e-book consisting of settler stories from community members. Linnell says members have already gathered 50 stories for the book, and are looking for more that focus on women's contributions. 

Linnell, who is in her 70s, said the stories of her generation's grandparents need to be documented soon.

"We have got intimate knowledge of their lives and that kind of thing, that is going to be lost if we don't make an effort to bring their presence forth into the new millennium," she said. 

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