He Lived All Winter in a Tent – Moose Jaw Times-Herald Story (No. 144)
His uncanny knowledge of horses – Owen Sound horses in particular – resulted in one of Moose Jaw’s better known citizens making this city his home when he was on his way to Lethbridge in May, 1910.
It was those horses that brought Frank McRitchie from the train on which he was travelling westwards. It was the horses that decided the youth of 23 years to stop off here for a few days; days which stretched into years and on to most of his lifetime. He worked here in a variety of jobs before settling down as a partner in the Ottawa Real Estate and Brokerage Co., a business in which he is still engaged.
Born at Bothwell, Ontario, Frank McRitchie attended public and high schools there before entering the service of the merchants’ Bank at Thamesville, Ontario, in 1907.
He also served with the bank at Hanover and Owen Sound, Ontario, until, with a group of four other boys, he decided to go on a home-seeker’s excursion to Lethbridge, Alberta, there to join with another former Merchants’ Bank employee who had written “to come to the land of opportunity.”
Those were the boom days and this former bank employee wrote to his pals that he had made a profit of $50 inside of two weeks, on a real estate deal.
Frank and his friends decided that the Lethbridge youth was dreaming a bit but decided to go out and see for themselves.
Moose Jaw Times-Hearld History Request
Prior to the time the late Frank McRitchie founded the present Co., he had served as the accountant for the law firm of Grayson & Armstrong in Moose Jaw. As a mater of fact, he had worked in a number of branches of the Merchants Bank in Ontario before coming to Moose Jaw. The first winter he spent in Moose Jaw, he lived in a tent all winter, his campsite being the present location of the Bank of Nova Scotia, which as at that time pretty well on the outskirts of town. He was always very fond of animals and had a number of drivers and racehorses. His love of animals become more apparent in the late twenties when he conceived the idea of having a Wild Animal Park here, which he promoted as a hobby with the help of many of the animal and birds lovers of this area. The present generation still own farms that are not only grain land investment, but also kept as sanctuaries for native birds and animals, such as deer, beaver, ducks, pheasants, blue herons, songbirds etc. and no hunting is allowed – partly in memory for the true conservation spirit he had.