History of Biggar

Beginnings of Biggar

In 1907, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) steel passed through the district, and 1908 marked the arrival of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad. The settlement of Biggar, which took its name from W. H. Biggar, general counsel for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTPR), was incorporated as a village in 1909. In 1910, the GTPR decided to establish a divisional point, sparking a construction boom that shot the population over the 600 mark. Biggar became one of the home terminals where train crews changed. The station was one of the largest in the west, boasting an all-night restaurant. Biggar was incorporated as a town in 1911.

Development continued and the population exceeded the 2,000 mark by the early 1920s. During the 30 years that followed, the population remained fairly stable. It wasn't until the 1950s that Biggar experienced renewed growth.

Present Day

Today, Biggar is a divisional point for the Canadian National Railway (CNR), and the railway employs about 190 people. CNR brings about $12.3 million per annum in payroll into the community. Biggar's present population is 2,161. It is a growing and prosperous community with much to offer to any potential visitors or residents.

Town Symbols

  • Hanson Buck - Famous symbols of Biggar are Milo Hanson and The Hanson Buck. This buck is the world-record-typical white-tailed deer. It was shot Nov. 23, 1993 and the official Boone and Crockett score is 213 1/8.
  • Sandra Schmirler - Sandra is a three time world curling champion. She is also the 1998 Olympic Gold medalist for the sport of curling. Sandra grew up and went to school in Biggar. She was active in curling in Biggar, acting as the third on the 1981 provincial girls curling high school championship team. Sandra won the world women's curling championships in 1993, 1994 and 1997. Her gold medal topped it off in Nagano. The Sandra Schmirler Olympic Gold Park was officially opened on August 6, 2000. The park, which surrounds Biggar Central School 2000, has a gazebo, soccer field, playground equipment, a Memorial Wall, and a Wall of Fame.
  • Slogan - The "New York Is Big But This Is Biggar" slogan came about in 1909 according to local legend. A survey crew had a bit too much to drink one night and wrote the phrase on a sign as a prank. As it turned out, the townspeople liked the phrase and adopted it. The sign and the slogan remain as two of the most recognizable symbols of Biggar, famous the world around.