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The Rural Municipality of Storthoaks No. 31, Saskatchewan was originally called Storkoaks and is now named Storthoaks as of March 15, 1912. The original founding date of Storthoaks was December 11, 1911. As of the census in 2001, there were 383 people living in the RM of Storthoaks No. 31 which is located in the southeast corner of the province, approximately 10 km from the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border, southeast of Redvers on Gainsborough Creek.

The major industry in the RM of Storthoaks is farming, mostly grain framing, but 38 per cent of its $34 million assessment is attributable to oil fields and pipeline. The RM contains six townships, with most of the land held privately and less than two sections of provincial Crown land.

Incorporated in 1911, the RM has its office in the Village of Storthoaks. It has a reeve and six councilors and a full-time administrator. The population is 383 including a substantial percentage of francophone. The K-12 school in the Hamlet of Bellegarde is one of Saskatchewan's few French school divisions.

History

In the late 1880s, a young Roman Catholic priest from France, Mgr. Jean-Isidore Gaire, founded a mission in Grande Clairière, in south-western Manitoba, and in 1891 he travelled west into the North-West Territories, to an area then known as the “Fourth Coulee,” the site of present-day Bellegarde. In 1892, Gaire led families from Belgium and France to the area, establishing the parish of St. Maurice. In a few years the community would come to be known as Bellegarde. (Mgr. Gaire was also responsible for founding a number of other French-speaking communities in what is today the province’s southeast.) Bellegarde’s first homesteaders would later be joined by other French settlers from Quebec. At the turn of the century, as the CPR was laying track westward five km to the north, there were more than 100 people established in the settlement, with the Catholic Church the foundation of the community. The first church and rectory were built around 1899, and in 1905-06 the first convent was built. By the 1960s, however, the small community began to decline. The once competitive hockey team folded in the early 1970s due to a lack of players, and by 1982 Bellegarde residents found themselves without a store. Today, the church, La Maison Culturelle de Bellegarde, and the school remain, and are the backbones of the community. L’École de Bellegarde, with approximately 70 students, provides K-12 Education, and is one of just 12 schools in Saskatchewan’s only Francophone school division. Bellegarde is situated within the RM of Storthoaks No. 31.

Attractions

  • Curling Rink
  • L’Ecole de Bellegarde
  • La Maison Culturelle de Bellegarde

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