The Eaton Internment Camp was one of twenty-four national internment facilities created under the first War Measures Act to accommodate prisoners of war and so-called ‘enemy aliens’ during the period 1914-1920. These enemy aliens were mostly men of Ukrainian and German ethnicity, and had been taken into government custody, stripped of their rights, and placed into forced labour simply due to their identity (having originated from countries then at war with Canada).
Eaton was the only internment camp in the province of Saskatchewan, and was hastily constructed in February 1919 to quarter 65 internees transferred from a similar facility in Alberta. On the site, an active railway siding, the internees laboured on rail lines, slept in drafty boxcars, and fomented dissent over their treatment. Several of the interned men were documented as having escaped and this, along with the harsh prairie conditions and the growing frustration of the camp guards, prompted authorities to abandon the Eaton site. The fates of the 65 internees are unknown, although it is likely they were deported from Canada shortly after leaving Eaton.
The Eaton Internment Camp and memorial garden are on the present-day site of the Saskatchewan Railway Museum. Interpretive displays, a hands-on exploratory rolling stock yard, and guided tours help visitors to gain a greater understanding of this relatively unknown and dark chapter of Canadian history within the wider social and industrial contexts of the period.
How to get there: The Eaton Internment Camp at the Saskatchewan Railway Museum is located four kilometres southwest of Saskatoon, off Highway 60/Pike Lake Road.