Family owned for 100 years and one of Saskatchewan’s oldest insurance brokerages, WW Smith Insurance will celebrate its centennial with a series of events, fundraisers and draws beginning with a Hawaiian themed ‘Fun in the Sun’ day on Jan. 18.
“We’re going to start our celebrations with some hors d'oeuvre, draws and drinks,” said Lorely Martens, coordinator for the ‘Fun in the Sun’ event.
“We thought it would be kind of fun, for a lot of us people who can’t afford to go down south for an extended period of time, they can enjoy a bit of the fun in the sun atmosphere,” added WW Smith partner Chuck Audette.
“Grass skirts not mandatory. Some of the staff will be wearing grass skirts. We’re going to have a number of giveaways and the usual bells and whistles. It starts at 11 a.m. and at 2 p.m. we have his worship the Mayor.”
WW Smith has partnered with the United Way for a year of concurrent fund-raising events.
“United Way has sort of piggybacked with us,” explained Audette. “We sort of picked them as a charity to work with through the year. They will be here on Jan 18. We partnered with them in their trip promotion, and the week of our celebration they’ll be picking those five winners of the five trips.”
The United Way will be selling United Way Trip Lottery tickets at the event. If they sell out, they could put $20,000 directly in the hands of their 14 locally-funded charitable organizations to assist members of the Swift Current region, noted Darla Lindbjerg, Executive Director.
Audette said the ‘Fun in the Sun’ event will launch a memorable year for the company and set the tone for their big Open House in June.
“We’re going to kick off a year-long contest for a $5000 travel voucher draw at the end of the year, so … for anybody who comes in and conducts business with us, they can enter the draw, and at the end of every week and every month we’ll make a draw for some prizes. Then at the end of the year we’ll make the draw for that travel voucher.
“We’ll be having our major open house on the 20th of June, that will be our major open house customer appreciation day. That will be happening right across the street [at Market Square]. We’ll have that as our one big day.”
That event will host a Beef on a Bun fundraiser and feature live entertainment with additional prize draws.
Other events planned for the year include the WW Smith Golf Tournament and the WW Smith Broncos Golf Classic, each with a centennial theme. WW Smith has also made major donations to the Lyric Theatre and the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation as part of their centennial celebration.
WW Smith’s history is woven into the fabric of the province, noted Audette, with founder William Wensley Smith partnering with Alexander Wallace in 1913 as official agents of the Confederation Life Insurance Company.
WW Smith became a city Alderman in 1917 for a two-year term, and held the position of Mayor of Swift Current from 1922-1923. By 1929, he had been elected a Conservative Member of the Legislative Assembly serving Swift Current. Other notable accomplishments included the improvement of Hwy #4 south to the US border, assisting in the proclamation of the Workmen’s Compensation Act of Saskatchewan, and his work to create the first cancer clinic in the Dominion of Canada.
In 1931, driven by his love for nature, WW Smith convinced the provincial government to develop the Cypress Hills Provincial Park region, creating employment for hundreds of idle men in Depression relief camps who found meaningful work by felling trees and building roads and infrastructure for Canada’s first interprovincial park.