|Hafford is located on Highway 40 northwest of Saskatoon and 66 kilometres (kms) east of North Battleford in central Saskatchewan. The town is situated near the southern edge of the Aspen Parkland Region.|
|Hafford is one of the larger block settlements of Ukrainians in Saskatchewan. Attracted by its fertile farmland, many Ukrainian families immigrated to Saskatchewan in early 1900. Hafford continues to be rich in Ukrainian cultural heritage and traditions.|
The village was built on the Henry Hudek homestead. Mr. Hudek believes the name of the village stemmed from an incident he experienced with a CNR representative who approached him about the sale of land for the proposed townsite. The CNR agent offered twenty dollars per acre for his land, but Hudek refused the offer. After lengthy negotiations, Hudek agreed to sell the land at thirty dollars per acre. Later, the CNR agent was asked how the new village would be named and he stated that in the bargaining process Hudek repeatedly used the word 'afford'. The agent decided to take the word afford and add an 'H', the first letter of Hudek's name. The village name was confirmed as Hafford.
As business and activity increased, it became evident there was a need for local government and in 1913, Hafford was incorporated as a village.
The first meeting of the council was held January 19, 1914. Officially opening the meeting was Returning Officer, T.G. Bavin. J.B. Thompson was elected as the first overseer, with Alfred Lafreniere and E.W. Bavin as councillors. T.G. Bavin was appointed secretary-treasurer.
The new council had a difficult task developing and passing many bylaws. In March 1914, bylaws were passed concerning tethering of stock, dog control, penalties for tax arrears, licenses, control of peddlers, sanitary problems, fire protection, impounding of stock, obstruction on streets and lanes, discharge of firearms, store hours, poll tax, curfews, establishing a police force and prescribing duties. One such policy duty was to convince town residents to move their buildings onto their own land.
In February 1914 council faced the challenges of planning for a village school, dealing with social aid and inaugurated 'Clean Up Week'.
The tax levy was six mills. Penalties on tax arrears were 8% per annum and interest rates on borrowed money ranged from 10%-12% per annum.
The town purchased land 1/2 mile west of town and built a village cemetery. The Village Treasury funded football and baseball associations, musical bands and Education Day. Fifteen acres were purchased for a sports ground and, to facilitate transportation, the town granted a livery license to Ms. Pauline Goldstein to employ her vehicle as a taxi. In 1920, the town donated land to the Methodist Church and in 1922 a hospital was constructed on the site.
The final chapter in the history of the village was written November 1980 when the Honorable Walter E. Smichek, Minister of Urban Affairs, issued a declaration to transcend Hafford from a village to a town.
Senator Paul Yuzyk, renowned for his contribution to heightening awareness of multiculturalism throughout Canada, came to Hafford in 1934 as a school educator. In addition to core programs, he facilitated Ukrainian language lessons after school and actively participated in the cultural life of the community.
|The population of 476 earns a living in agriculture, small business, education, health and administration. Some residents commute to work in Saskatoon and are employed in urban business and high-technology research.|
Many residents from outlying farms and as far away as Vancouver and Toronto have chosen to retire in Hafford.
|The Crooked Trees of Alticane are a local tourist attraction. The twisted trees are located 15 km north east of Hafford and draw people from far and near. Why the trees maintain their unique stance continues to be a mystery even though much laboratory testing has been conducted on the soil and the trees.|
Hafford has a number of historical churches located on the townsite. Construction of Holy Ghost Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church began in 1936 and services were held before construction was completed. The present day Ukrainian Catholic Church was built in 1917 and has been renovated many times since.
Redberry Lake Regional Park is located a short drive from Hafford. Within the park is Redberry Lake International Biosphere Reserve, a designation bestowed in January 2000 by the United Nations. The Stuart Houston Ecology Centre, a research station and interpretive centre, is also located in the park.
The lake's saline water attracts more than 180 bird species annually, making it a great spot for bird watchers. The greatest attractions are the White American Pelican and the Whooping Crane.
Redberry Lake is home to the Saskatoon Sailing Club and Shearwater Tours offers birding tour cruises in the summer months. Camping, fishing, and water sports are other popular activities.
The Redberry Lake Golf Course, located on Highway 40 just outside of Hafford, is a well-treed 9-hole course situated on a hill overlooking the lake. The challenging course meanders about creeks, natural ponds and hills.
Blue Mountain Ski Resort, offering some of Saskatchewan's best cross-country ski trails, is a short drive from Hafford.
|Malanka is Hafford's Ukrainian New Years celebration. The Ukrainian Dancing Club hosts the event and it is a town favorite. The night consists of a Ukrainian supper, a Ukrainian dancing program, and a dance. The event is held the closest Friday to the New Year on the Julian calendar.|
Hafford's Winter Festival, Winterama, is a weekend of events including hockey, arm wrestling, dogsledding, sleigh rides and much more. The event is held the last weekend of January.
The Ukrainian Dance Festival, hosted by Cheremka Dance Group, attracts dancers from across Western Canada. Performers are adjudicated for awards of medals, scholarships and trophies.
For over 30 years, Hafford has hosted an annual Music Festival where many talented musicians compete for scholarships and other awards.
The Canada Day Celebration is one of Hafford's largest community events. The event includes a slow pitch tournament, fastball tournament and beach volleyball tournament followed by a Flag Raising Ceremony and birthday cake for everyone. The event takes place July 1st.
Hafford hosts an annual Polka Fest where polka enthusiasts dance the night away with live bands. The event is held the 2nd weekend in July.
When the crops are off the field, the farming community of Hafford celebrates with Harvest Fest. The night includes supper and a dance. The Johner Brothers are familiar faces on stage for the event held the first weekend of November.
Hafford Hospital and Special Care Centre is a recently renovated primary care facility that meets the community's medical needs. The facility offers primary care, long-term, homecare, a physician's clinic and a nursing home.
Hafford Library, Hafford Central School and the Stuart Houston Ecology Centre are CAP Internet access sites in the Hafford area.
Hafford Central School is a K to 12 school with approximately 150 registered students. It offers regular credit courses and extra curricular activities including: football, volleyball, badminton, track, drama, yearbook, and choir. The school is a cornerstone in the community.
Amenities include: grocery store, drug store, bed and breakfast and hotel accommodations, service station, mechanic, restaurants, two banks, post office, RCMP detachment, fire hall, lumber yard, grain elevator, sports ground, curling rink, and the Hafford and District Communiplex. The Communiplex has an ice rink, ballroom and convention area. The Malanka and Winterama events are held in the facility.