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Codette's History

The area around Codette has been inhabited for centuries. Originally, the local Cree tribes used the area north of Codette, the now flooded Bushfield Flats, as a seasonal camp for hunting and trade. The first trading post was opened in 1768 by Francois LeBlanc and James Finlay near Bushfield Flats. The Francois-Finlay Hydro Electric Station is named for these traders, and flooded the original site. This area was used as a trading post by a number of different groups into the mid 1800s when the trading posts at Cumberland House and Fort a la Corne became the primary trading posts in the area.

The first steps towards settlement of began in 1904 when a detailed survey of the area was begun. Settlers came from eastern Canada, the United States, and Europe, drawn by the opportunity to own valuable, high-quality land on the frontier. The first settlers came by rail, which at the time ran as far north as Star City, then set out to claim their stake and begin breaking the land. While many pioneers settled in the area, it was the coming of the railway that began the town as we know it today.

In 1924 the C.P.R. extended the rail line to the area, and purchased the town-site for what is today Codette. The first intended name for the community was “Nipawin Flats,” to match the name of the homestead the railway had purchased from Dave Jacobs to establish the town. However, in a classic case of “you snooze you lose,” another village just northeast had incorporated with the name “Nipawin” first, which left local residents looking for a new name when the railway moved in.

In a public meeting it was decided that the townsite would be named after Jean Baptiste Cadotte, a fur trader that had traveled the Saskatchewan River with Peter Pond and Alexander Henry in the 1770s. At the time it was believed that Cadotte had drowned in the rapids on the river near the townsite. In honour of the early traveller, the name “Cadotte Station” was chosen. Unfortunately for Cadotte, the official name of the town was misspelled on the incorporation paperwork, giving the town the name of Codette instead of Cadotte, and it has remained so ever since. Fortunately for Cadotte, however, recent research shows that while it is probable that Cadotte did in fact travel through the area, he did not drown in the rapids near Codette, but lived to a ripe old age and passed on his fur trading business to his sons. He died in Sault Ste. Marie in 1803, years after retiring from the fur trade.

Construction in Codette kicked off quickly, first with Lunniss' General Store and Post Office, which was followed by a number of other merchants, most notably the Co-op store which opened in 1929, and has carried on business to this day as the Pineland Co-op. In 1924 Mrs. Cockriell's opened the Cecil Hotel on the corner of Centre Street and Railway Avenue, originally as a rooming house and restaurant for the construction workers building the nearby grain elevators. The Cecil expanded twice, received the license to operate as a “Men Only” beer parlour in 1935, and in the 1980s received an exterior renovation and a new name: the Codette Hotel. The Codette Hotel has the distinction of being the only original Codette business that is operating in the same location in the same business to this day. Another hotel, the Royal Hotel, was opened in 1929, and was moved to Aylsham in 1937 where it remains in business.

The grain elevators began servicing the community in 1925. Four elevators were constructed: the Western Elevator, the Co-op Elevator, the A.F. Partridge Elevator, and the Gold Elevator. That fall the price for No. 1 wheat was $1 per bushel and oats were 34 cents a bushel.

With Codette growing quickly, there was need for a fire department. A fire truck was purchased in 1927 and housed in a local citizen's garage until a fire hall could be constructed. Ironically, this garage caught on fire the next winter and burned down, but the fire truck was able to be saved. This created an added incentive to build the first fire hall the next year. The second fire hall was built in 1954 and stands there to this day.

Codette is proud of the industries and contributions that Codette has made to the development of the area. We believe in honouring our past and keeping our history alive in the community.


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