The village of North Portal, population 123 (2006) is located on Highway 39, 37 km southeast of Estevan, astride the Canadian/United States border. It serves as an international port of entry which is open 24 hours.
In 1893 the CPR’s Soo Line connecting Moose Jaw and Minneapolis was built through North Portal and in the same year the customs house was established. North Portal became a village in 1903.
Several of the early residences, stores, etc. were built by Mr. E.R. McPhee who was elected the first overseer of the Village of North Portal in 1904. There were several businesses at one time, namely: two hotels, two lumber yards, Chinese laundry, butcher shop, Massey Harris machine shop, barber shop, four stores, photograph studio, Methodist church, Presbyterian church, Anglican church, Doctor, Immigration hall, CPR Depot, and elevator, Quarantine barns, Veterinarian, and Community Hall.
One of the early station agents was responsible for naming the streets. He was an Irishman and chose names like Belfast (city in Ireland), Clair, Ulster and Antrim (countries in Ireland).
- During prohibition, North Portal was a centre of the illegal trade in liquor, with rum-runners bottling booze in the basement of the Grandview Hotel.
- Golf Course: only golf club in North America located in two countries. The majority of the course is in Saskatchewan, with Hole 9 and the clubhouse in North Dakota.
- Modern visitor’s centre welcomes travelers to Saskatchewan and Canada.