The Town of Arcola, is located approximately 18 kms west of Carlyle on the Red Coat Trail and approximately 60 km north and 40 km east of Estevan. The Town was named by the first postmaster, Peter McLellan (1889-93), after the village in northern Italy where Napoleon defeated the Austrians in 1800. Arcola is also known as Saskatchewan's "Heritage Town" due to its many historical brick and wood frame structures. Today, the oil industry is a significant part of the local economy, with pumpjacks dotting the district.
Settlers in the area originally built a community known as Clare, located two miles northeast of where Arcola exists today, but almost all the buildings of Clare were moved when the CPR announced in the early part of 1900 that the railroad would run south of town from Souris to Arcola. The railroad played a major part in the building of Arcola. For the next four years, Arcola remained at the end of the line, and thus became an important hub during this period of westward expansion. Businessmen began to arrive in town as soon as the location of the line was announced. Arcola had not even been laid out by the surveyors in 1900 when they first began to arrive. In the succeeding few years many of the businesses which would remain for a long time to come, quickly put down their roots.
As a result of large-scale immigration and rapid economic growth, the town flourished and city status was envisioned. Using materials supplied by its own brick plant, many lavish houses and public buildings were erected, resulting in an architectural legacy of undiminished grandeur.
The Arcola area became well known for its quality livestock quite early. One of the earliest homesteaders, Isabelle Rogers Bryce, became an internationally acclaimed breeder of heavy horses: Canada’s only woman exhibitor at the International Livestock Exposition at Chicago in 1924, she won a grand championship with her Clydesdale mare, “Doune Lodge White Heather,” the first time in the history of the show that the prize went to a woman. In 2003, Arcola proudly celebrated its 100th anniversary marking the fact that Arcola predates the creation of the Province by two years. Arcola is also proud to assert its contribution to the Canadian Cultural Landscape. The town consists of well-preserved early-20th-century buildings typifying the quintessential prairie town which led filmmakers to choose Arcola as the setting for the 1976 filming of W.O. MITCHELL’s Who Has Seen the Wind. Arcola also has the distinction of being the place where James Sinclair Ross authored his seminal 1941 novel As For Me and My House, considered a classic of Canadian literature.
- South Saskatchewan Photo Museum - contains approximately 4,000 historic photos of southern Saskatchewan. Over 500 photos in the collection were taken by Arcola photo artist D.M. Buchanan between 1905 and 1940.
- Prairie Place Hall, Skating & Curling Rink: multi-use community facility
- Annual Events: Fair and Rodeo, Robbie Burns' Night, a Skidoo Poker Derby and Canada Day Celebrations.
- Antique Shops
- Art Gallery